Have you have heard about the mac and cheese kid at UConn? I don’t want to drop the name of the student to give him anymore unnecessary attention so I’m just going to refer to him as Mac. Long story short: Mac was drunk and wanted some mac and cheese. The food court denied to serve him because he was publicly intoxicated. Mac did not take this too well, and started to verbally abuse the manager and all the other Student Union workers. When Mac tried to attack the manager, one of the chefs came out and restrained him on the ground until the university police arrived.
Unfortunately for Mac, one of the students in the food court happened to record the entire incident and upload it to YouTube, gathering hundreds of thousands of views in just a few hours. The incident blew up. It was a trending topic on Facebook for 2 to 3 days and covered on multiple news channels throughout the United States.
After regretting what he had done and being attacked over the internet, Mac uploaded an apology video hoping to obtain forgiveness. A vast majority of the viewers were still unable to forgive him, leaving comments suggesting he was insincere and was just hoping to reduce his punishment.
A few days later, the chef that restrained him, Bill, wrote a letter to the campus paper, forgiving Mac. Initially I was a bit surprised. After all, Mac was extremely vulgar and undoubtedly offended all the Student Union workers. It hurt me just to watch someone from my generation degrade an elder for doing their job correctly. I can’t even fathom how it’d feel to be mentally and physically attacked like this. But Bill, who had experienced all this, was able to forgive Mac, just like that.
His explanation was he’s a Christian, and it’s what Jesus would have done.
I really appreciated this, and love that this role model works on my campus. Although I believe what Mac did was terrible, I do agree that we must be able to forgive him just like Bill did. Bill asks the right questions in his letter, “How would you like to have your dumbest mistake you’ve ever made broadcast to the world? How would you like to be turned into a pariah?” Bill says he doesn’t know if Mac’s apology is sincere or not, but he gave him the benefit of the doubt and we should too. It’s a matter of the thought that counts. Bill also says just because he has forgiven Mac doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be held accountable for his actions. He should be and he will. From what I’ve heard the university has taken the appropriate steps to handle this situation and he is no longer a student here.
We’re living in a time where apologies and forgiveness are becoming a thing of the past. This incident really showed me how hard it is for us to forgive and forget. Pop culture teaches us it’s ok to be wrong, and be unapologetic when we are. Celebrities and politicians rarely apologize for their mistakes. Modern Christianity has begun to accept this culture also by teaching that reconciliation to God means that one only has to worry about how they look in the eyes of God and forgetting about how they stand with those around them.
Apostle Paul says in Ephesians 4:32, “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” While being crucified in Golgotha, Jesus prays, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:24).
If Jesus is able to forgive those who beat, tortured, and nailed him to the cross, then why is it so hard for us to forgive someone else for the smallest and stupidest of reasons? There are many people who still believe the only way to be just is to follow the “an eye for an eye” saying in Exodus 21:24. We would rather hurt or punish those who have hurt us because it makes us feel equal, stronger, or better than them.
Or, there are some people who will harbor all of their feelings and bottle it all in. They feel miserable and whenever they see the person who might’ve wronged them, they will either pretend to be on okay terms with them or ignore them all together. For both of these types of people they will never feel peace inside until they are able to forgive.
In His Sermon on the Mount, the Lord says,
“So if you are offering your gift at the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
The word “reconciliation” comes from the Latin word reconiliatio, meaning “a re-establishing of a former state.” The Lord doesn’t want us to be on okay terms with others, but rather to re-establish a state of brotherhood and sisterhood. The way to reconcile is to forgive. We must let bygones be bygones. We must try to put our egos away and be the bigger person.
Jesus tells us in Mark 11:25, “And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive your sins.” So forgiving someone is like taking care of two birds in one stone. First off, not only you, but the person you forgive will probably have a state of peace in their mind. Secondly, God will forgive you because you too are willing to forgive.
My challenge to you is to forgive others if you never forgive, or forgive even more if you already do. Is there someone in your life that you still hold some resentment against? Someone that has mistreated you? Someone you’re not on good terms with? If so go talk to them and reconcile. Regain that fellowship you once had with those around you, whether they be believers or non-believers.