“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you;”
– Matthew [6:14]
WHERE HAS AMERICA GONE?
In 1776, recoiled by oppressive oversight the great experiment of a true democracy began in Lexington Massachusetts. Man, and women gathered to carve out a democracy under God. Later in 1789 the constitution was written that the firmed up the democratic principles of this great experiment. It has survived to become the longest and oldest pure democracy of modern times. It has survived a terrible civil war, internal charlatans who sought to steal freedom and the threats of evil from other places. It was created at a time when rancorous crowds in other countries could not see that rancor and unforgiving heart kills a democracy and their attempts failed.
This wonderful experiment has created a people that responds first to all calamities and its people will lend a hand to any country in need. Sure, we have had our moments caused by ill-intentioned politicians and scam artists. But at our core are the everyday people that make this grand experiment work.
Our country has endured much, but protected by those who serve on the frontlines of our freedom. Whether at Lexington or Gettysburg or the shore of Normandy, those that protect this democracy have sacrificed their lives to maintain this gift of freedom.
We are country whose constitution provides the right of free speech and the practice of religion. We are a country where the right to vote is gift, that not all share. We are a country, where due process is the civil and orderly way disputes are solved. All those who come forward are thought to be innocent until proven guilty. Not only the accused but the accuser.
I think about the men and women who were on the beaches of Normandy and bravely got out of boats into a fusillade of bullets to protect this right and way of life. Their efforts of sacrifice saved us and the world from the evil of Nazi tyranny. I think about the men and women of the Army corp of engineers who help reconstruct those places damaged by typhoons and other natural disasters. I think about the lonely nights of terror they had to survive for our freedom. It is not the generals or politicians, but the foot soldiers, nurses, pilots and seaman who protect us.
Our country was founded on freedom and one of those freedoms is a life of second chances. Most of the immigrants who came to our country were seeking a different life. To America they came for a second chance. A country not founded on negativity and rancor, but founded on forgiveness and second chances. A place where any person could rise up and excel, not bound in by elitism or aristocracy.
But as I watch today, I am dismayed by listening to our politicians’ bicker and name call each other. Gone are the days when patriots served in our legislature. Gone are days when those who served set an example of politeness and devotion. Gone are men like John McCain and Hubert Humphrey who stood up for us.
We need to return to our core values in Washington, state senates, our academic world and our churches. It starts with forgiving our brothers and sisters first. Listening, before we hit the prerecorded opinions of those we are aligned with. We must return to seeing each other as what we are, people made in the image of God. No longer should the accuser be vilified. No longer should the accused be tried outside of due process. No longer is right to demean other races. Both from white’s harboring ill will towards blacks. But also, not to systematically call white people oppressors. We are all God’s people and we all deserve respect, even when we disagree.
We are better than this, a potential supreme court justice should not yell at congress regardless of how he feels he was wronged. We are better than trying people in the court of public opinion and not in the courts set up by men and women who valiantly established our wonderful experiment. Selfish motives should become replaced by those seeking the truth. Our party affiliation should not dictate our conscience, but replaced by a conscience the is enamored with truth. But mostly, we should remember that God forgave us for our moments of cringeful behavior.
Forgiveness isn’t about remembering the slights. It isn’t about anger. It isn’t about talking without listening. Forgiveness is part of love. If Love is the top side of the coin in Jesus’ eyes than forgiveness is the other side. Without a forgiving nature we will fail in this experiment of freedom.
Blessings, until next time,
Bruce L. Hartman