I recently watched The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Reunion. I have to admit that I was a fan of this show because it was clean and funny; something rare in our present time. It was also cutting edge as it spoke to the black experience in our culture three decades before BLM.
If you know your Fresh Prince, then you will remember that his Aunt Viv did a Darren Stevens after the third season (if you don’t know who Darren Steven, look it up). The original Aunt Viv was played by a very talented Julliard trained actress, dancer, and performer named Janet Hubert. At the time, the press reported that the execs fired her, and Smith had commented that she was difficult to work with. As a result, Hubert and Smith had not spoken to one another for nearly 27 years.
During the reunion show, Will Smith had invited Janet Hubert to sit and have a one-on-one conversation with him. During their discussion, she offered more context surrounding the situation and her exit, issues in her personal life, including spousal abuse, and that she had not been fired from the show. Hubert refused to sign a contract for the fourth season because it was very restrictive; she believed it to be a “bad deal” and exited.
Then it happened…
Will Smith confessed how he was immature (only 21 at the time) and that he was neither “sensitive” nor “perceptive” to Janet’s situation. Now that he is older, on his second marriage, and has three kids, he has learned a great deal about what she must have been going through. He went on to say he wished he had acted differently back then and apologized. Hubert also apologized because she had not told him back then or for not talking to him for 27 years. Janet and Will reconciled with hugs and tears from both. Then she met with the rest of the cast, and hugs and tears abound!
But this bLOG is not about The Fresh Prince of Bel-air but is instead illustrates a powerful example of the act of reconciliation. Two people who loved each other were hurt, but they sat down and talked it through, sought forgiveness from one another, and reconciled. This is incredibly rare in our culture of division fostered by politicians, special interests, and media.
Jesus taught about reconciliation. He tells us that if we are coming to the place of worship, and we have something that is in the way of your loving relationship with another, step away and reconcile with that person. Then come and worship. (Matthew 5:23-24)
You see, Jesus teaches us that one of the greatest gifts you can give “42” is to fix that which separates you from your neighbor. Whether it is your fault, their fault, or both of your faults, make yourselves vulnerable and loving toward each other.
Finally, follow Jesus’ lead. Throughout the scriptures, humanity finds all kinds of creative ways to separate themselves from one another and “42.” Jesus sat down and discussed it, opted to go forth in a vulnerable and loving way even though it was not his fault, apologized on behalf of all humanity as he hung on a cross, and cried out that reconciliation “is finished” before bowing his head and giving up his spirit. (John 19:30)