Under what circumstances should we forgive, or not?
The situation regarding Shamima Begum is a great one for ethical consideration and debate.
There’s a number of factors at play. Firstly, individual forgiveness. Do you, as an individual, forgive this woman for her actions four years ago, where she renounced the UK and went to play her part in a ‘Jihadist’ war?
Secondly. Do we, as citizens of the UK, collectively forgive her for this same action?
Thirdly. Do we, as citizens of the UK, collectively permit her to return to the UK?
Let’s look at these individually. I’m speaking for myself here. Personally, do I forgive her, for running off to fight for the ISIS Jihad? Personally, yes I do. I’m detached from the situation, and have made mistakes in my own life that required substantial forgiveness, so it would make me somewhat of a hypocrite if I were to then deny that forgiveness to another.
Secondly; do we as a collective of the UK offer this forgiveness? Currently we don’t, and doubtless the tabloid and ‘right thinking’ media will stoke the hate, so collective forgiveness is unlikely, and individuals forgiveness will be equally inhibited.
Thirdly. And this is interesting to me. I would suggest that even though I personally forgive her, and even if everyone else also forgave her, unless she herself is repentant in a convincing way, she should not be allowed to return to the UK.
If she genuinely renounced ISIS and the barbaric and frankly evil ideology it seems to hold, if she could see the error she made, not in terms of her own comfort, but in terms of her own soul, in terms of what is right and good, then I would suggest she should be welcomed home.
In that instance, she would have turned around, in her thinking, her mindset, he ideas and ideology and understanding of right and wrong, good and evil, life and death. She would in that instance be willing and possibly morally inspired to speak out against ISIS and all it stands for. She would be an active person in the community and society, helping others turn away from such ideas and away from radicalisation.
IF she comes to that point, then she can be counted as a citizen of the UK.
If she doesn’t, then she is still effectively a citizen of ISIS, and we do her no kindness and the citizens of the UK no kindness by returning her home.
She’s forgiven, but until she accepts that forgiveness and understands the change she herself must make, she is the cause of her own exile.
I think that’s what Jesus would say.