Fr Christopher Jamison – We’re all “flawsome”

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Fr Christopher Jamison joins the BBC Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast Show to give his ‘Pause for Thought’ – Wednesday, 17 August 2016.

His reflection focuses on the Olympics and the need for Mercy.

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The Olympics continues to be as exciting as ever with so many wonderful achievements. But sometimes the Games give rise to sadness as well as joy. The 1984 Games in Los Angeles saw two of the world’s great long distance runners competing in the women’s 3,000 metres final. The American Mary Decker was a world champion but recently a younger South African had come to prominence, the barefoot runner Zola Budd. To get round the Olympic ban on apartheid South Africa, she was running for Team GB. Mary Decker led from the start but round the halfway mark, Zola edged ahead. Refusing to concede the lead, Mary kept literally on Zola’s heels, clipping her rival’s bare foot. This meant Zola lost her balance and Zola’s foot then hit the side of Mary’s leg, causing Mary to fall. Mary fell so badly that she couldn’t even stand. Zola continued in the lead but some of the crowd started to boo. On the last lap, she fell back and finished well outside the medals. Zola later revealed that she dropped back on purpose as she couldn’t face standing on the podium and being booed. Mary blamed Zola, although in later years she withdrew that accusation. The two runners still competed against each other but never met personally until last year. They came together to make a film about the race and found they could be friends. They come across as wonderful people and superb athletes. Yet that incident in 1984 showed that neither of them was perfect. They are “flawesome”, both awesome and flawed. We’re all “flawsome” and need to treat each other with mercy when our flaws begin to show. How often must I forgive somebody who wrongs me Jesus was asked. Seven times maybe? Encouragingly for us “flawsome” people, his answer was not seven but seventy times seven. Even Olympians need mercy occasionally and the rest of us certainly do.