Friday, May 12, 2017
The Limits of Forgiveness?
This week disgraced Senator Don Meredith resigned from the senate. This was only after a lengthy inquiry costing Canadian taxpayers more than half a million dollars and the conclusion from the investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee that he should be removed, should he choose not to leave voluntarily.
Meredith admitted to a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who came to Canada alone to further her education. He was clearly a sexual predator, yet he claimed that his vilification by the media was racism, as he is a person of colour. It would appear that Meredith refused to quit until he saw that he might lose a $24,000 a year pension after only six years of work.
The whole situation is sordid, and made worse by the fact that Meredith is or was a Pentecostal pastor. I can only imagine what he had preached about moral behaviour through the years before engaging in a relationship which was wrong in every imaginable way. Earlier this year Meredith publicly apologized and sought forgiveness: “This is a moral failing on my part. As a human being, I made a grave error in judgment, in my interactions. For that I am deeply sorry.” He did this with his wife at his side, an unfairness to a spouse we have witnessed all too often through the years
While Meredith's family may have genuinely forgiven him, and I trust that God will as well. Everyone makes mistakes and God's grace is expansive. Still, seeking forgiveness in this way is not a free pass to avoid the consequences of one's actions. We have no idea what efforts have been made to make amends with the vulnerable young woman whose trust he betrayed. Her life has been changed forever. It's good that he's gone, but a travesty that he resisted for so long.