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Harrison Ford Teaches Us a Lesson

Harrison Ford has acted in a lot of roles. But recently, he played a part in a real-life morality play. And thereby he can teach us all a lesson.

When North American public figures get into trouble these days, many of them resort to what must be called a cynical exploitation of our countries’ Christian heritage. They ask for forgiveness, even demand it.

As a teacher of world religions, I recognize that forgiveness is a generically human good, not a specifically Christian one. But no religion places forgiveness front and centre like Christianity does, and with a majority of North Americans still claiming Christian identity, appealing to Christian values can still be turned to one’s political advantage.

But here’s the thing: Asking for forgiveness is step two. Step one is repentance.

Alcoholics Anonymous’s famous Twelve Steps makes repentance a key part of almost every step, in fact: naming what you did, naming what that makes you, taking responsibility for it, and seeking to make amends to everyone affected.

Forgiveness isn’t even mentioned: What you have to do is what you have to do. Other parties may forgive you, but you cannot demand that they do. You have to demand of yourself, however, responsibility.

Harrison Ford recently landed his small plane on a taxiway, instead of a runway, at John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California. If you don’t know southern California, this might sound like a small, out-of-the way airfield, but it isn’t. This is Los Angeles’s second airport, and making a mistake here is a big deal.

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