19 January 2009

The economy of forgiveness

Forgiveness between humans is unequal to any other human act. It is not forgetting, because forgetting is accidental. It is not to say something doesn't matter, because if it didn't matter, nothing would need to be said. It cannot be ignoring, because sins have side effects which remain and sometimes cannot be ignored themselves. Forgiveness is only forgiveness.

Forgiveness requires us to love a person more than the heinous pleasure we derive from holding that person's sin against him. If we do not love that person more, we must yet forgive, for God demands it of the forgiven. So to forgive is to learn to love, and to love is--among us, for now--to forgive.


Gauntlets said...

Timely. I've been reading through old sections of the Cost of Discipleship to keep the angry at bay. Just before opening the Internets, I read this:

"How then does love conquer? By asking not how the enemy treats her but only how Jesus treated her. The love for our enemies takes us along the way of the cross and into fellowship with the Crucified."

Someone, cue the Twilight Zone music.

Joy said...

Yep. No matter how badly I can't stand some of our parishioners, and no matter how cruel some of the back-stabbing and name-calling has been, I have to look at them as one whom Jesus thought was worth suffering crucifixion.

I will also say that there's a huge difference between forgiveness and trust. Forgiveness can be immediate, but trust often takes months and years.

Reb. Mary said...

The two petition phrases most likely to keep me up at night: "Thy will be done," and "As we forgive those who trespass against us."

Pam said...

I am continually amazed and humbled at how much easier this becomes with practice... and to learn to forgive much (as we have been forgiven much) makes it soooo much easier to forgive little.

Yet one more thing I appreciate about getting older.