MANY were stunned this week to observe the close of the trial for the murder of Botham Jean in Dallas, Texas. The killer was convicted and sentenced, but in an extraordinary display of humanity, love and mercy, his younger brother Brandt embraced the path of forgiveness, and admitted that he wished no ill-will towards his brother’s killer, a former police officer. Even the most hard-hearted among us would have been moved by this exemplary action of this fine young Saint Lucian, who divinely demonstrated the meaning of the often recited words from the Lord’s Prayer ‘…as we forgive those who trespass against us.’
This remarkable display was a source of consternation and anger for others, and strained the bounds of credibility, judging by some commentators on social media. Balance is needed among those who admired and commended this astonishing act of forgiveness, but many of those same voices need to speak out for reform, justice, and reparations.
At different levels, we have examples of forgiveness in everyday computing, where our own mistakes are undone, and rolled back to allow us to continue with our work. In the design of application software, this effort to save users from the effects of unwitting mistakes is most evident. Some programs periodically make backups copies of your documents, just in case your file is damaged. More commonly, the ‘undo’ feature allows us to backtrack from changes made, effectively reversing a sequence of changes. Very useful, and very powerful. In general, software programmers should be forgiving to the user, actively shielding them from mistakes made.
In our everyday lives, we may have many opportunities to be courteous and gracious to others in simple ways, for example:
* Holding the door open for the next person;
* Allowing other motorists to go past without incident;
* Designing processes to use what is already known, to reduce clutter and annoyance.
While the actions of Botham’s murderer were neither unwitting nor reasonable, the sentencing of 10 years could never match the brilliance or impact of his life. As eloquently put by Portia in William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, the quality of mercy is not strained, and is an attribute to God himself! Whether in a Venetian or a Texan court, the same applies. To the grieving and obviously Christian Family, we appreciate the stellar examples of mercy, which we may recall from the Beatitudes shared during the Sermon on the Mount. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are those who show mercy, for they will be shown mercy.
Editor’s note: Dr Lyndell St Ville is an ICT Consultant with a background in environmental science. His expertise includes systems analysis, planning, and capacity building. To share your views, contact the author at: www.datashore.net or via The VOICE.