Do We Forgive?
In religious terms, forgiveness is not always simple. Jesus seems to say
that forgiveness is, to some degree, dependent on an accompanying change
in behavior. Similarly, The Book of Common Prayer says that "true
precede forgiveness, along with "amendment of life." Forgiveness
is not automatic. We don't
dispense it smiling and unthinkingly; we don't chant the familiar litany: "Oh,
that's okay. No problem. I'll get over it." People
who abuse and mistreat children, alcoholics who refuse to confront the
havoc their behavior wreaks in their families, those who engage in sexual
misconduct that destroys trust and love are not helped by too-easy forgiveness
with no accountability for their actions, especially when these destructive
actions are repeated and intentional. Forgiving others is not sentimental
niceness; it is serious business.
course, forgiveness is most difficult when an individual’s
actions are reprehensible by any existing moral code. How do we even
begin to think in any clear way about people who seem beyond redemption
and who have the capacity and the will to hurt us? How do we get by our
fear and our wounds and see the child of God that lurks beneath?
Do We Give and Accept Forgiveness?”
an excerpt from "Finding Faith at the Movies"
by Barbara Mraz