I Can’t Defend Myself

When there have been changes of administration in Korea, people from previous administrations have often stood trial for corruption. When I read about these trials or watch them on TV, I have mixed emotions. On one hand, I feel that they should be punished for the wrongs they did. On the other hand, I feel sorry for them because while they did engage in illegal activity, it was something that every official was doing, so they’re being unfairly singled out.

The people who have been on trial have usually responded to prosecutors’ questions by saying, “I don’t remember.” The press accuses them of stonewalling or lying. I’m sure that some of them have lied, but I feel that in many cases they actually do not remember. It’s hard to remember all the details of a conversation you had with someone long ago or remember the exact amount of money you gave to or received from someone. I’d be more suspicious if someone claimed to remember every minute detail of things that happened far in the past. I’d think they’re fabricating their stories.

If I had to stand trial on similar charges, I’d almost certainly be convicted. I’m known for not remembering the details of things that have happened to me. It’s especially hard for me to remember numbers and dates. I would give up immediately and plead guilty to any charge because I’d be powerless if opposing attorneys and prosecutors asked questions concerning specific details of events long past.

For this reason, I’m afraid of people who might accuse me of things I allegedly did or said a long time ago, because I wouldn’t be able to affirm or deny these accusations. I would simply not remember. I’m also afraid of people who might misquote me because I feel that I wouldn’t be able to defend myself adequately, not being able to remember my own exact words. This is why I avoid interviews with reporters, because they tend to take quotations out of context.

Church should be a place where people who don’t have a photographic or detailed memory should feel comfortable. Church should be a place where people are believed to have fuzzy memories instead of being accused of lying when they make statements that seem to contradict what they said before. Church should be a place where grace, rather that laws, rule.

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