Where does forgiveness sit?

In the struggle to understand what makes for peace, we often confront the demand for justice, and the struggle for forgiveness.

The 19th Annual Hawke Lecture at the University of South Australia was given this year by The Reverend Canon Mpho Tutu van Furth on Wednesday 15 June 2016 at the Adelaide Town Hall. The Reverend Canon Mpho A. Tutu is an ordained Episcopal Priest and the founding Director of the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation.

This page has both a podcast and a YouTube video available of this speech, in which this refrain is repeated:

Forgiveness is not forgetting.
Forgiveness is not weakness.
Forgiveness does not subvert justice.
Forgiveness is not forgetting
Forgiveness is not quick.

Naming her experience of South Africa, says the Rev Cannnon Mpho A Tutu, is that “Making peace is infinitely harder than making war”.

The speech ends with these words:

“We cannot begin again
We cannot make a start as though the past has not passed
But we can plant something new
In the burnt ground
In time we will harvest a new story of who we are
We will
Build a relationship that is tempered by the fire of our history
You are a person who has hurt me
I am a person who could hurt you
And knowing those truths we choose to make something new
Forgiveness is my back bent to clear away the dead tangle of hurt and recrimination
And make a space, a field fit for planting
When I stand to survey this place I can choose to invite you in to sow seeds for a different harvest
Or I can choose to let you go
And let that field lie fallow”

Take some time to listen to the podcast or to watch the YouTube clip, and think of the way in which peacemaking is harder than war.

peace dove
Diversity dove of peace

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