We're a divided nation right now but Ubuntu can show the way forward
'Without forgiveness, there is no future' - Desmond Tutu
How true that statement is. More importantly, at this time when our social history is beset by political division and the mindless cruelty of social media trolls, it has never been a more vital lesson to take on board.
After bitter years of Brexit battles and three bruising general elections, a still divided UK is now dealing with the Coronavirus epidemic and a threatened collapse of the economy. Things are not good.
But the arguments and answers aren’t as simple as Leave v Remain or Left v Right anymore though from the vicious tribalism that is constantly on display you would never guess it.
Forgiveness has to be at least part of the way forward. There will be those who believe that forgiving an enemy is an act of weakness. They are wrong. It is an integral part of the journey to peace and reconciliation.
When Archbishop Tutu said: ‘Without forgiveness, there's no future’ he was speaking from his heart and the experience of his own post-Apartheid Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, which did so much to help heal the damage done by that terrible regime.
Forgiveness is an integral part of the philosophy of Ubuntu which advocates a mutual love, respect and understanding that enables people - whether black, white, male, female, Tory or Labour, Brexiteer or Remainer - to find common ground in their shared humanity.
For regardless of politics, ethnic origin, sexual orientation or religious beliefs, we are all equally important as human beings. Whatever we may have said or done to each other in the past, is never made better by bearing a grudge.
Forgiveness for past sleights is difficult but once you can see the other persons point of view it gets easier to let go of prejudices, entrenched bigotry or just stupid moments of spite
The practice of Ubuntu, long practised and preached by Desmond Tutu, has shown time and again that seemingly insurmountable problems can be overcome merely by listening.
It is a philosophy actively promoted by the Tutu Foundation UK. In its work with Youth Futures and the Metropolitan Police, Ubuntu has been central to the TFUK’s remarkably successful attempts to find a way of reducing inner city crime, gang violence and drug dealing.
There were those who were understandably skeptical about the the chances of success when the Foundation set up a series of ‘roundtable’ talks bringing together police officers and gang members for one to one meetings. The skeptics were wrong. The two sides soon realised that they weren’t talking to the enemy but fellow human beings trying to survive in an unforgiving environment under challenging circumstances. It gave them pause for thought and room to develop a more healing relationship and all because they gradually came to realise that without forgiveness, there can be no future, just an ongoing war. Try to bring Ubuntu into your life. You wont regret it.