Fresh in our Canadian collective consciousness are the Vancouver riots, which have triggered outrage, disgust and disbelief throughout the entire nation, as well as across the world. The new G20 of the west coast, as people have dubbed the events, resulted in injuries, arrests and damages far beyond what we can imagine. Amidst of all the chaos was a 17-year-old named Nathan Kotylak who was just caught up in the rapture of the moment. But it was what he did a week later that astonished me the most.
As a believer in the Judeo-Christian faith, there are three key themes that are also considered the 3 R’s to a better life: repentance, restitution, and redemption. Repentance for acknowledging the wrong done and truly making an effort to turn things around. Restitution for making provisions toward those affected by one’s bad actions or deeds. Redemption is the factor that, after one admits and turns from their wrongs and makes them right, is restored to one’s self and lives life anew.
I don’t know if Nathan goes to church or believes in Judeo-Christian principles and ethics, but at a young age he did what few people can truly do: he took ownership of the wrongs he did. He was willing to bear the cost of his wrongdoing by turning himself over to authorities and paying restitution in terms of losing privileges (scholarships, Olympic hopes). Feeling that he brought shame to his family, his city and his nation, his step towards redemption began when his parents loved him and encouraged him to take a big step.
We have a natural tendency to crucify the criminal. Yet I feel that the most powerful display of values is for us to refrain from seeking payback or making threats against the person who did wrong to us. Nathan took a big step by admitting he was wrong and being willing to do what it takes to make it right. Now let us extend grace, peace and love to him for doing what few ever do. Nathan will become a greater man than he is already if we do show that love, grace and peace to him in his life.
Conrad Gayle is a 30 year old up-and-coming jazz pianist, composer and emerging author from Toronto, Ontario. His latest EP, Genesis, is up for sale on iTunes Canada. Conrad Gayle also graduated from York University with a degree in Sociology and currently hosts his own blog site.