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Rescued From Ourselves

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We are at our best when we are connected to each other.

If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together. Aboriginal Activists Group, Queensland, 1970s

This quote is a very deep reminder of our shared humanity with the rest of the world. Bishop Tutu talks a lot about this in his book ‘No Future Without Forgiveness’ -  it’s the concept of UBUNTU:

In a real sense we might add that even the supporters of apartheid were victims of the vicious system which they implemented and which they supported so enthusiastically. This is not an example for the morally earnest of ethical indifferentism. No, it flows from our fundamental concept of ubuntu. Our humanity was intertwined. The humanity of the perpetrator of apartheid’s atrocities was caught up and bound up in that of his victim whether he liked it or not. In the process of dehumanizing another, in inflicting untold harm and suffering, inexorably the perpetrator was being dehumanized as well.

This idea rescues us from our best attempts at paternalistic goodwill. Jesus says, ‘Give and it will be given to you’ – even linking our forgiveness with the need to forgive others… we are connected, and that connectedness is an amazingly powerful thing. When I’m at my worst – humanity suffers. When I’m at my best – humanity is better. Perhaps that gives even more weight to Gandhi’s suggestion, ‘Be the change you want to see’.

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