By Mohan Karulkar:
Quick note: This post isn’t about politics or morality, but one man’s way of dealing with his past.
Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark NJ, did an interesting thing when he was a student at Stanford. He wrote an opinion piece for the Stanford Daily in which he admitted that he once hated gay people, but then had a change of heart. He wrote:
“While hate is a four-letter word I never would have admitted to, the sentiment clandestinely pervaded my every interaction with homosexuals.”
He wrote that in 1992, and the Stanford Daily recently republished it as part of an introspective series — which is why it came up in the news this week. In the article, he openly and honestly described an ugly part of himself, and essentially asked for forgiveness. He didn’t need to write the article; after all, he’d already had a change of heart, and it was a time when people weren’t as concerned about things like that anyway. But he did write it, because it revealed something important about who he was after his change of heart.
20 years later, we’re living in a time when everything we utter online is saved forever in the digital ether. Every angry Facebook rant and thoughtless Twitter update is sitting on a server somewhere, just waiting to be found. Basically, we all stand to be busted at any time, for anything we’ve ever put out there.
But when we say something we later regret, do we apologize? No, we usually delete the message and hope no one saw it. But someone always sees. And I think as our digital society continues to evolve, we better start getting a lot more comfortable with owning up to our mistakes, and asking for forgiveness.
Yes, grace isn’t all about the world forgiving you. Sometimes it’s about you asking to be forgiven, regardless of the outcome. Sometimes it’s about you confronting your past self so that you can embrace your current self. Sometimes, you have to seize your second chance. We’re here to help.
Cory Booker asked to be forgiven, and judging by the reaction to his story’s re-publication, it sounds like society is more than able to forgive an honest man.
What will you do in the future? Own up to your mistakes and ask for forgiveness? Or hit delete, sweep things under the rug, and hope no one saw?
You have some time to decide, but maybe not as much as you think.
Share your thoughts below; I’m really interested to hear your take.