The Day I Forgave Magic Johnson

Recently, I was asked to facilitate a group of CEOs and Senior Executives at the Linkage Women in Leadership Institute. Like a lot of these experiences, there were plenty of wonderful keynote speakers, but one in particular, I was not excited about. Magic Johnson. I kept thinking to myself, “Why, of all the potential keynote speakers, would you invite Magic Johnson, of all people, to keynote a woman’s institute?”

As a facilitator, I’m responsible for helping the participants debrief their experiences and then to find a way to make a connection to their personal and professional goals. So, I had to sit through Magic’s speech.

I listened carefully in judgment, and then, point after point, he slowly began to disarm me. It wasn’t just the fact that he’d done so much for young people, people of color, and women. The moment of release came when he said, “November 7 of this year, it will be 30 years since I came out that I was HIV positive.”

Why that moment? Because I realized I had held a grudge against a man I didn’t really know for 30 years! Geesh, Pam. Really? In that 30 years’ time, he’s generously put money in places that need the type of support only he can give. He’s done so much for young people and women that it puts even my church tithe to shame. Then I began to think of things I’d done in my 50+ years on earth and pray to God no one is holding a grudge against me.

He’s proven himself over and over and over. He’s not perfect, just proven. At some point, we have to drop our weapons and just forgive. In this season of joy and peace, who do you need to forgive?