We’d witnessed chaos and conflict. People lost sleep and found anxiety. There were accusations with no evidence. No one willing to say they got it wrong. No one willing to accept defeat. It was a sad sight.
Then last Saturday, at around 10am Pacific Standard Time (6pm GMT), a rainbow appeared in the skies above Venice, Los Angeles, California.
It was as if the world had breathed a sigh of relief.
As history looks back on the Trump presidency, only time will tell whether it’s President-Elect Biden who makes America great again.
Back in 2003, when I was interviewed for what became my final job, I was asked about what strengths I brought to the role. ‘I will always admit to my mistakes,’ I remember saying. And it’s a tenet I stuck with through the intervening years both at and away from work. And continue to do so.
That said, I can be forthright in presenting evidence if the accusation is incomplete of the facts.
The problem is when accusations are made and the ‘accuser’, for want a better word, neither offers explanation nor substantiates their claim. When one is left in a state of limbo: left feeling ‘I honestly don’t know what I did wrong. Will someone please tell me!’
Those who have wronged us are sometimes, deep down inside, never truly forgiven. Anger, hurt and bitterness can be carried for years. Ruminating about what happened over and over again. Blaming other people. Blaming ourselves. Blaming God.
Having reminded his readers of Jesus’ words, ‘You shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ Paul’s letter to the Galatians highlights the cost of living in the desert of unresolved dispute: ‘If… you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another’. (Galatians 5:13-15)
When, in his victory speech that Saturday evening, Joe Biden quoted the words from the Bible that for America it was ‘A time for healing’ (Ecclesiastes 3) it was to strengthen another tenet that perhaps all of us can benefit from, whether Republican or Democrat, Tory or Socialist, church or, even, another church: “It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric, lower the temperature, see each other again, listen to each other again…. to make progress, we have to stop treating our opponents as enemies,” he said.
The desert of unresolved dispute is a harsh and barren place. Let us always be ones who bring water to such a land.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us.
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