I wonder who decided Australia should have a ‘Reconciliation Week’ with our First Nations peoples? ‘Justice Week’ might have been an easier option? We could list out the issues, sort out how to recompense, and then move on. If you think about it, given Australia’s shared history, ‘Justice’ already is a difficult journey.
But someone decided we needed more than just justice. Our nation needs Reconciliation. Australians need to find a way not to just co-exist, but to be together, as one nation. Ponder how challenging it is to be reconciled. Especially for victims. 300 years ago, Puritan preacher Thomas Watson reflecting on the Lord’s prayer wrote this regarding what it means to forgive others.
“When we strive against all thoughts of revenge; when we will not do our enemies mischief but wish well to them, grieve at their calamities, pray for them, seek reconciliation with them, and show ourselves ready on all occasions to relieve them.”Thomas Watson, Body of Divinity, p. 581
Justice alone is not enough, reconciliation requires forgiveness. Serious forgiveness. What strikes me, is our First Nation’s people are willing to take this journey. That is quite incredible. Yes, to move forward requires truth-telling, yes the truth is difficult to bear, yes those who gain advantage through First Nation’s loss probably will feel uncomfortable and struggle with compensation. But all this is nothing in comparison to what it takes to forgive. As we enter Reconciliation Week keep this in mind. Hold our First Nations in mind and heart, thankful they are prepared to travel the journey of reconciliation with us.