My last blog went viral. It just goes to show the power of words and indeed the power of social media. I was angry. I was outraged. A valued member of my community was racially bashed and we all felt it like a punch to the guts. It winded me with sorrow. Outrage is like a fire and it certainly fanned up a lot of angry responses.
But today’s blog is about something that probably won’t go viral because it isn’t about rage, it’s about forgiveness. The word itself viral suggests sickness. Certainly my blog was about a sickness, the disease of racism. Subjects that expose the ugly, the sick, the evil, they tend to spread like wildfire. Golly gosh, human beings love outrage. But the subject of forgiveness is about healing. And that’s the lesson I’ve learned through this awful local attack on good people.
Paul Shin has forgiven the boy who attacked him. That right there is the story. That right there is the diamond in this coal mine. A middle-aged Korean man was bashed, racially abused and had to cradle and comfort his wife who was also injured in the attack. Paul Shin has forgiven the boy who did this to them. I am tearing up and emotional just writing that.
They say forgiveness is like setting a prisoner free and the prisoner is the person doing the forgiving. After months of being targeted by unknown local arseholes, Paul Shin has set himself free by forgiving his seventeen year old attacker. He has said that the boy is at a crossroads in life and can take a good way or the dark way and he has encouraged the boy to take the good path in life.
Until you understand remorse you can’t really grasp true forgiveness. To have done the wrong thing and to have been forgiven is truly humbling. Remorse does not equal saying the word sorry. It must involve amends. Forgiveness is way harder to master than saying sorry.
I hope the boy involved in this crime (yes crime….not silly childish behaviour) understands the incredible gift Paul has given him. It is quite possibly the greatest gift he will ever receive. I hope with all my heart he doesn’t squander it. I hope his mother reinforces this with her son.
The local police officer quoted in my blog has now acknowledged there was a racial element to the assault which he finds disturbing and he sees Paul Shin’s acceptance of the boy’s apology as an incredible gesture of forgiveness. It is an incredible gesture and one we can all learn from – the community, the police, the media and the youths involved.
A racial assault on an innocent couple is more than just a mistake; it is a gaping cavern of awfulness. Paul’s forgiveness for that act is above all else showing that boy how to be a real and good and awe-inspiring man. Please, please, please young man, take heed, learn, be humbled, embrace your victim’s generosity of spirit and take it into the rest of your life.
The ball’s in your court kiddo. Grow up. Be a good man. Be like Paul.
Photo credit Brooke Rushton