Many of us have been asking that question lately. I asked it yesterday to Suzanne, my friend and colleague here at Raven. I was exasperated once again with Trump after watching segments of his interview on Tuesday by Megyn Kelly of Fox News.
Kelly asked Trump if he thought he made any mistakes during his campaign. She listed some possible options: disparaging comments he said about Heidi Cruz, John McCain being captured, and Carly Fiorina’s face. And Trump has said some pretty nasty things about Kelly, which she declined to mention in the interview. After suggesting those mistakes, Kelly asked, “Do you regret any of those comments?”
Trump’s response was typically equivocal when it comes to his self-reflections. “Yeah. I guess so,” he replied. “But you have to go forward. You make a mistake and you go forward. You know, you can correct a mistake, but to look back and say, ‘Gee whiz, I wish I didn’t do this or that, I don’t think that’s good. I don’t even think in a certain way, I don’t even think that’s healthy.”
Well, I just about blew up while describing the interview to Suzanne. I started to explain how it’s part of Trump’s own arrogant sickness to claim that it isn’t healthy to apologize or have regrets!
At this point, Suzanne gently came in to show me how I was scapegoating Trump.
“Yes, but there’s a hint of truth in what Trump is saying.”
(Damn it, Suzanne! Why do you have to do that?)
“It’s true that sometimes we can get stuck in our past. We can beat ourselves up for things we’ve done in a way that isn’t healthy. Forgiveness involves being able to acknowledge the ways we’ve hurt others, but also being able to move forward.”
Suzanne is right, of course. It reminds me of a story about Jesus. He was teaching at his house and so many came that there was no more room for anyone else. Standing room only, you might say. Well, some people brought a paralyzed man to see Jesus, but they couldn’t get through the crowd. So they climbed the outside wall up to the roof and dug a hole thought it. (Hopefully Jesus had All State.) Using some rope, they sent the paralyzed man down towards Jesus on a mat. Jesus looked up and said, “How dare you dig a hole in my roof! Do you have any idea how much that’s going to cost me!”
No, actually he looked at the paralyzed man and said, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
According to the story, the man was paralyzed by the sins he had committed. He couldn’t move forward because he was stuck, trapped by the harm he had cause others. It was (…it pains me to say this…) as Donald Trump says unhealthy.
After forgiving him of his sins, Jesus said, “Stand up, take your mat, and go to your home.” The story says that the man, “immediately took the mat and went out before all of them.”
So, Suzanne was right. She caught me in a moment of scapegoating public enemy number 1. His comments about Latinos, women, a handicapped reporter, and Muslims concern me a great deal. It became personal a few weeks ago when my son came home from school and asked if Adrian, his best friend, would be sent back to Mexico if Trump were elected president. His rhetoric is causing great harm to many people.
So, while I wish he’d be more specific about his regrets, there is some wisdom in Trump’s statement about moving on. It’s not healthy for us to beat ourselves up over past regrets. Doing that can paralyze us. But it is healthy to acknowledge the ways we’ve hurt others, repent, and then, to paraphrase Jesus, “Stand up, take your mat, and move forward.”
Image: Screenshot from YouTube – Megyn Kelly Donald Trump Full Interview – Fox Network Megyn Kelly Presents.