Forgiveness or and Odd form of Revenge?
Discussion/Devotional thought of the day – and a hard one at that….
“You were very sorry to hear that most un-Christian comment, “Forgive your enemies: you can’t imagine how it angers them!” You could not keep quiet, and you replied calmly, “I don’t want to cheapen love by humiliating my neighbour. I forgive, because I love, and I am hungry to imitate the Master.” (Escriva, Josemaria )
I too have heard this line, more than a few times, and I hate to say. While I didn’t mean it crassly, reading it hear, makes it sound cold, harsh, and wrong. And it was,
While our intent in saying words is to encourage people to free themselves from the bondage that resentment and the pain of being sinned against brings…. what we actually do is simply give them a way of getting revenge. Instead of reconciling and seeing a relationship healed – we seek frustration and pain – that’s revenge – an odd twisted form of revenge, but still revenge.
Think about the cross – where Christ endured pain to bring forgiveness – pure forgiveness. Did He do it to cause us frustration, anger, pain? No, he did it to restore us to the Father – to heal the relationship. Did he fear being hurt again? For that is often a fear that forestalls forgiveness. A rational one at that – those who hurt us the most – having the opportunity to do so again – if we let them. (and we often suggest that forgiveness includes a sense of self preservation – that we will love enough not to let them sin against us again.) If we forgive to cause them grief – simply put – we haven’t. We simply have found a way to convince ourselves we have gotten our revenge. We haven’t worked to heal… which is what forgiveness is about.
Can we trust in the Father, in the Son, in the Holy Spirit, to love as they love (see yesterday’s blog) to endure the fear, to risk the hurt, to go through what it takes to see a relationship healed? If we were the one that sinned, can we love as we love the Father, Son and Spirit to receive the forgiveness.
We can’t – not by our human strength or forgiveness.
We can – as we look to God – and see His will, His desire. His love – His healing….His peace and realize we are in that will.
Lord, have mercy…for we seriously need that mercy… and help us to heal, and work through us to heal others..