Ginni Thomas and Reconciliation

Posted: Oct 21, 2010 1:36 PM

Despite what the secular Left would have you believe, America is a nation of faith. The country was founded on the first principle that we are God's creation, and as such, have both rights and responsibilities.

Amazingly enough, that simple point is controversial today, at least among those in the mainstream media. Acts of faith that can only be understood as such are portrayed as psychological hangups, or political maneuverings, or are assigned dark and scurrilous motives.

And yet by any measure, the vast majority of Americans are people of faith themselves. They're the majority. The Left hates this, because when it comes down to it, they just don't understand religious commitment, or the motivations it provides.

We see a perfect example of this in the near-universal media condemnation of Ginni Thomas.

Christianity is a religion of forgiveness, and as Christians, we're not only forgiven for our own wrongs, but we're called to forgive others for theirs. That's not easy, and we don't always get the reaction we want, but it's an important part of our faith.

And it's essential for our own interior health, as well. Forgiveness is about letting go and moving on. It's the law of release. Whose offense you fail to forgive, you carry the burden of for the rest of your life. Remember: Not all prisons are made of concrete and steel. There are the prisons of the mind, such as bitterness and unforgiveness.

Obviously, from her recent outreach to Ms. Anita Hill, Ginni Thomas has thought often about the offense between Hill and her husband, Justice Clarence Thomas. With an unwavering loyalty to both her husband and the Christian faith, she followed the admonition of her Creator to engage in a dialogue of reconciliation, with the hope of releasing everyone from this burden. Her now well-reported answering machine message was a first, brave step.

Now I'm not going to get into the specifics of what did or did not happen between Thomas and Hill decades ago. And I'm not saying this is how I would have handled the situation. But that isn't my point here. Rather, I want to focus on the courage of Ginni Thomas in reaching out to a woman who she believes hurt her family, and what her example should teach us.

Try to see things as she did. When she picked up the phone and called Ms. Hill, she had no idea what kind of response she'd get. She stepped out in faith, surely with the prayer to her own Forgiver in her mind ("Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us"). Ginni Thomas wanted an apology -- yes -- but she did because she wanted to forgive.

She tried sincerely to elevate the issue to a place of healing. Contrary to what many think, forgiveness isn't about right and wrong -- it's about reconciliation. When you forgive someone, you eliminate forever a wall that stands between you.

That was what Ginni Thomas tried to do, and she has been ridiculed for it.

Note what she told ABC News about the incident:

"I did place a call to Ms. Hill at her office extending an olive branch to her after all these years, in hopes that we could ultimately get past what happened so long ago. That offer still stands, I would be very happy to meet and talk with her if she would be willing to do the same. Certainly no offense was ever intended."

Imagine what might have happened if that olive branch had been accepted. What kind of example would it set for the rest of us if Anita Hill and Mrs. Clarence Thomas could reconcile in charity and mutual respect?

Look at where we are today: The political tone on both sides of the aisle these days has gotten so vicious, that we're no longer even talking to one another. We shout; we don't listen; we don't reach out. We do the opposite of what Ginni Thomas did. God gives us the teaching moments we need, when we need them. And we needed this one.

Whatever you think of the Thomas/Hill dispute, Ginni Thomas followed the mandates of her faith, regardless of the risk of rejection. She didn't hide her phone call -- she left a message on Hill's voicemail, knowing full well it could be played for others. She made herself vulnerable, so that she could help heal an old wound.

Would you have the courage to do that? Would I? Instead of scorning her, we should be looking to her example.

Of course, those who feel called to forgive some past wrong find another lesson in Ginni Thomas's recent treatment: When you reach out to your offender, there's a price to pay. Every good action has its own cost. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. There are times in life when you have to act regardless of the consequences. Others may not like it, and we might have our names dragged through the media mud because of it, but at the end of the day, we need to live with ourselves. When you forgive, you find peace, and there's nothing greater than that.

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