...offered by Dn. fdj, a sinner at 7:34 AM [+]
I appreciate this article for the fact that it is brave enough to mention Jesus Christ as the source of the Amish people's inclination toward forgiveness.
I admit, I do not think I could contain my anger as well as they have apparently done so. They cite their martyrs and surely we Orthodox have an even longer list that we could cite as examples as well. I am glad to see that they admit that forgiveness is not easy.
Some people today, I think, mistakenly believe that forgiveness means you must find some way of rationalizing the acts in a context that makes you feel sorry for the offender - finding someway of understanding WHY the person behaved in the way they did. I'm not sure that is the way we ought to pursue forgiveness because too often it leads to a denial of free will and ultimate culpability for one's actions.
If someone hurt my children I do not think forgiveness would come easily...in fact, anyone who hurts any children does not easily receive my forgiveness. But the key to forgiveness, it seems to me, is not to understand the actions of the offender but to recognize our own failings. How often do I hurt my kids? How often have I failed them as a father? How often have I let selfishness get in the way of their emotional needs? How many times have I let anger be my guide? No, of course it does not compare to physically hurting or killing a child, but recognizing our own sins is surely the way to start down the road of forgiveness.
That being said, I am decidedly NOT one of those people who believe all sins are equal, they are certainly not equal.
Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
The other complexity of this issue revolves around prevention and intervention. What if the massacre at that school could have been prevented by killing the offender? How would the Amish deal with that? I personally would not hesitate and I frankly would not lament much afterwards. Recognizing my own sins would not change this. Fact is, it would be better to have killed this man than to have let him go on killing others.
We have our saints who prayed for those who were martyring them, and we also have our saints who defended the weak and the innocent.
What a powerful post. I need to read the article, thank you for the link.