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The Best Superpower: ReBoot demonstrates Reconciliation} ?> Forget flight, invisibility, or super speed—the best superpower is the ability to adapt to any situation. It would be awesome to know that whatever came my way, I could just activate my power and be ready to handle it.
Sort of like what happens in the TV series ReBoot.
In case you missed it, ReBoot was a Canadian TV show set inside a computer called Mainframe. Rendered in glorious low-poly CG, the show followed the adventures of a guardian sprite named Bob along with his friends Dot, Enzo, and Phong. Together they battled various evils, including Megabyte and his vicious sister Hexadecimal.
In pretty much every episode, the “user” loaded a game in Mainframe and the characters found themselves compelled to win or be nullified. When a game launched, they double-tapped the icons on their chests, shouted “Reboot!” and turned into game sprites. If it was a fantasy game, they were equipped with chainmail. If it was a space adventure, they were in spacesuits. If it was racing, they sported helmets and fire suits.
Double-click and instant change!
I kind of wish forgiveness worked like that. As a Catholic, I partake in the sacrament of reconciliation, where I tell God what I’ve done wrong, express my remorse and resolve to avoid sin in the future. Theologically, the sacrament removes the sin from my soul.
What it doesn’t do is take away the real-world consequences. If I have wronged a friend, that hurt doesn’t go away. I might have spiritually rebooted with the intent to be a better person, but I still have to figure out how to deal with the damage I’ve done. Maybe rebooting isn’t quite the superpower I thought it was.
Bob and Dot had to learn this early in the first season of ReBoot. In the midst of a falling out, they find themselves trapped in the dangerous “Starship Alcatraz” game. Rebooting to a new form didn’t end their argument. In the best traditions of episodic television, they still had to figure out how to work together and learn an important lesson on friendship. They rebooted, literally, when they double-clicked, but metaphorically when they resolved their differences and decided to work together.
From the perspective of someone watching the show, it all seems so obvious. Why can’t people just forgive, forget, and move on? Why can’t I?
The theory of forgiveness is not complicated. It’s making the decision to let go of your right to “be right.” It’s saying that even though someone did you wrong, you aren’t going to keep holding that against them. You are granting them the freedom to reboot your relationship. It’s less of a feeling and more of a conscious, positive action on behalf of the other person. Forgiveness is an expression of love for the other person’s humanity.
Which means that forgiving someone doesn’t always feel great. The hurt may still be there and so will the distrust. Deciding to forgive is less of a moment-in-time decision, and more of a long-term commitment. Even if you plan to cut off contact with that person after you forgive them, you still have to be ready to set aside your anger and your desire for vengeance. It’s not really forgiveness if every time they come to mind, you picture them being roasted on a spit.
So, what to do? If you know that forgiveness isn’t going to make you feel better, why bother?
ReBoot’s wisdom applies here—the only way out is through. When a game landed on a sector of Mainframe, the sprites in that sector had to play the game. Not playing meant they risked nullification when the user won. Playing the game gave them a fighting chance for a positive outcome.
Forgiveness is similar. You can’t control when someone is going to hurt you. But you can control how you react. If you withdraw and refuse to forgive, you’ve already lost. You’ll be trapped in your own anger. Just like ReBoot’s games, the only way to complete the journey of forgiveness is to move forward.
He has been married to an extraordinarily patient woman for more than three decades and they have two adult sons. Kevin also has entirely too many DVD boxes with the words "Complete Series" on the cover. He enjoys exploring themes of faith through his fandoms.
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