Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Rage

My favorite Seinfeld character has always been Michael Richards. A couple of months ago he hurled racial epithets at some hecklers at a comedy act in LA.

When I watched his apology on Letterman I was struck by the pain he had discovered in his own soul. Richards called it 'the rage within.'
I have to admit I was shocked by what he said in the nightclub- the sheer force of anger and cruelty. I had just bought a couple of seasons worth of old episodes of Seinfeld, and felt uneasy watching them. Certainly I forgave his actions but struggled about how to view him and contemplate laughing at his humor.
His apology struck me as genuine. I appreciated that his friend Jerry Seinfeld helped make the bit happen on the Letterman show as sign of friendship and support. I saw a man truly repulsed by what hatred he was capable of, and in that momemt discovered the key to my own heart and deep forgiveness for Richards himself.

Lew Smedes writes this about forgiving cruelties: "Forgiveness happens only when we first admit our hurt and scream our hate.

In the creative violence of love, you reach into the unchangeable past and cut away the wrong from the person who wronged you; you erase the hurt in the archives of your heart.

It is the beginning of a new journey together. We must begin where we are, not at an ideal place for reunion. … Nasty questions are unanswered. The future is uncertain; we have more hurts and more forgiving ahead of us."

Who of us would want our worst moment caught on video and posted to the entire world to see? Thanks for the grace of God to wipe the tape and the slate clean.
Romans 3:23
All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Hebrews 4:16
Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.


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