On Both Sides of Forgiveness

In a country where Jesus’ words "the truth will set you free" are the mandate of a national commission, where forgiveness and reconciliation are not some vague religious ideals but national policy, it’s difficult to look into the lives of ordinary people and not find faith at work.

David Goodman, who traveled to South Africa in the dark days of apartheid in 1984 and then lived with his family for a year in the newly democratic republic in 1996-97, examines the dramatic changes in South Africa in Fault Lines: Journeys into the New South Africa. He doesn’t set out to write about religion, but the church has left such indelible marks upon the South African landscape that he can’t help but touch on deep questions of faith.

The church played a key role in both the construction and the dismantling of apartheid, with Christians on opposing sides during the struggle. Now, in the process of national healing, Christians stand on either side of forgiveness, as victims asked to forgive their oppressors and as oppressors asked to repent of the crimes.

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Sojourners Magazine May-June 2000
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