Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Problems in forgiveness

Some things are harder to forgive than others. This year for Lent I worked on "keeping no record of wrong". The little accidental daily wrongs that don't leave much track on our lives, those are easy to forget. Here are the kinds of things I struggled with:
  • They knew it was wrong, and what effect it would have, and did it anyway.
  • They knew I was having to shoulder extra burdens that should rightfully have been theirs, and they kept on shirking.
  • They know they are making a mess that they intend for someone else to clean up, and it doesn't trouble them.
  • (In one case) They knew full well they were managing things so badly that the law was already involved, and show no inclination to change.
  • (On older wrongs that still come to mind) When an old injury still sometimes causes trouble, it's hard to forget how I got that injury.

The things that are harder to forgive are the things where we don't have to keep a record of wrong -- our lives are marked by that wrong, or our lives are still being shaped by an ongoing wrong. Every day that wrong -- or its after-effect -- is part of our daily routine. The injuries that keep on hurting, or keep being renewed by the wrongdoer, these are the ones that really challenge our love. It's only love that can keep no records of wrong, so I have to think it does not challenge my memory or my determination to forget so much as it challenges my love.

Christ is risen. I have a long, long way to go. But it comforts me that Jesus -- risen indeed! -- still bore nail marks and the mark of a spear wound after his victory over death. Some of the ancient mystics are said to have had the stigmata -- that their union with Christ was so close that the scars of his wounds imprinted on their flesh. I'm not quite sure that I believe that. But it comforts me that Christ himself may bear eternal wounds and yet still loves, and still forgives. He still forgives me.


Anastasia Theodoridis said...

..and because He triumphed over the devil - meaning, in prat because He forgave - those wounds are transfigured into badges of honor.

For me, it helps to remember not to think of myself so much as somebody's victim, but to remember he and I BOTH are victims of satan. Both, but esp. the one inflicting the harm. That one needs prayers even more than I do.

Martin LaBar said...

Amen. He forgives!

Weekend Fisher said...

I've wondered sometimes if our own injuries will ever become "badges of honor" (I usually think of it in terms of "monuments to God's power", which works out about the same).

Like he said about the blind man, that it was not a punishment for anyone, but so that God's glory would show in his life.

Though I have trouble figuring out how that could be, with some things.

Take care & God bless
Anne / WF