In each of these places the horrific actions of one person devastated an entire community, shocked an entire nation, and effected to the entire world.
As we gather this Sunday and focus on forgiveness, I offer three questions (with answers):
Should the individuals who committed these crimes be forgiven?
Yes, Jesus commands it.
Should the individuals who committed these crimes be held accountable?
Yes, Jesus teaches it.
Would the history of these communities be different had the individuals who committed these crimes chosen forgiveness?
Yes, Jesus promises it.
Jesus knew deeply and personally the viscous cycle of violence; that it feeds on itself. He taught radical forgiveness not to replace accountability for horrific acts; he preached forgiveness so that such acts would be prevented.
As well as Jesus knew the cycle of violence, he knew even better the cycle of forgiveness, that it too feeds on itself. In a world full of forgiveness, there would soon be no need for it.