Remorse = deep regret or guilt for a wrong committed.
I turned on the TV yesterday afternoon and was very disappointed to find the OJ parole hearing. I honestly didn’t know the full story of why he went to prison. I honestly didn’t care either. I never followed the first trial even though the media saturated us with every detail of it all of those years ago. I, like most others, assumed he was guilty of murder. It was very sad. I was so very sad for his kids, for the families of Nicole and Ron, and even for OJ if he was, indeed, guilty. How do you get so possessed that you commit murder of someone you supposedly love so much? Anyway, I digress.
I found myself getting sucked into the parole hearing…which was so strange for me. It was stressed that OJ needed to show remorse…that would be the most important deciding factor. Did I see remorse in him – not really…then again it was made clear that he and the victim of that crime in Las Vegas had made peace with each other and forgiven each other years ago. Truly some time ago OJ must have shown him that he was remorseful. The love this man showed for OJ at the hearing was deep and genuine. How can you show so much love for someone that hurt you so deeply if they aren’t truly sorry?
I found myself hoping that OJ would be paroled. I found myself praying for this man – praying for God’s will to be done. I felt kind of guilty hoping for parole knowing how much pain this man allegedly caused so many. While I didn’t see remorse, I did see humility and vulnerability. That is what pulled at my heart strings. Here is this 70 year old man that was larger than life while in his prime…a man that was loved by so many. I love someone that can be vulnerable in front of others…someone that is humbled by knowing his fate lies in the hands of others and he has no control over what they decide and must live with their decision – right or wrong. I loved the happiness – the deep happiness I saw in his eyes when the decision was made for parole. OJ mentioned that he was doing bible study while in prison and wanted to be a better Christian. I truly pray that he will give his entire life to God…that Jesus will truly be his Lord and Savior. I know that very often my heart is bigger than my head – as it was in this case. I often want to believe that people will choose to be who God calls them to be…that they will be good and noble.
Over the last 24 hours I have been reflecting on this case…still feeling strange about how this parole hearing made me feel – how it opened my heart to someone that in my head had done so much that was wrong, yet I so wanted him to have a chance at life – a chance to be with his family and friends – a chance to show that he is reformed – a chance to be a huge witness for Jesus. I still pray for all of those chances for him…I hope in my heart of hearts that yesterday wasn’t an act…I hope in my heart of hearts that I wasn’t fooled by him.
On to what the real heart of this matter is – as it truly isn’t OJ or his parole. The real heart of the matter is remorse. I’ve been struggling for years with particular relationships…relationships that caused very deep wounds. I chose to do the Godly thing and forgive…I didn’t always forgive right away. Sometimes it took a good couple of years and a lot of prayer. Sometimes I opened my heart back up to these people that hurt me – other times I knew it was time to walk away. What I found the times I chose not to walk away is that nothing really changed – people continued to hurt me over and over again. I’ve prayed through the years for Jesus to teach me how to have a relationship with these people. I finally realized this morning that it’s not possible. What this case has taught me is that without remorse, the attacker will never be a safe place. Convicts aren’t safe for society and will commit the same crimes again and again. People that attack will continue to attack and hurt others over and over again – they will never be a safe place. They are their own idols – they are more important to themselves than anyone else. As sad as it is, you will either have to walk away or continuously guard your heart. It feels like death when there is no remorse – like a funeral. It hurts. It’s important to forgive, but without remorse we can’t move forward in the same way. You have to remove people from the places in your heart that you have let them reside.