The Common Good

Applauding Humility (and a Good Decision by Terry Jones)

Humility is not easy. After all it shares the same root word as "humiliation." But the humility that allows us to say we are sorry and to change our minds, or our actions, is central to the Christian faith. The word "repentance" -- which has been abused and distorted -- means to "rethink" how we think and act, (even in Spanish "pensar" means "to think"). It is about rethinking what we know or what we do. Something healing happens when we say "sorry" or acknowledge wrongs and ask for forgiveness.

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But none of us ever want to be wrong or say we are sorry. And certainly, pastors and politicians never admit their mistakes unless they get caught on tape. For this reason, just as the world was outraged when we heard of the decision of Terry Jones to burn the Quran, it is also worth celebrating his decision to not burn it.

I have no idea what went into the decision or what pressures are upon Mr. Jones, but I am certain that this story could have ended differently. He could have stubbornly pushed forward with the decision. He could have refused to listen to people or God and rethink things, but he did not. And frankly, I think the world is a little better off. I'm certainly not ready to lift him up as a hero (nor am I refusing to allow him to become one), but I am all about applauding his humility to rethink this action. In fact, I just called to let him know that I am thankful for his decision not to burn the Quran

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