Saturday, December 02, 2006

Extreme forgiveness

I was just reading something - and it's interesting how this is happening at this time - only a day after Dream Writer's post on human evil. She wrote that she did not think there was such a thing as human evil. I didn't know what to think, but Lewis Smedes agrees with you, Dream Writer.

This book I'm reading discusses Nelson Mandela and Jesus as individuals who forgave people who mistreated, tortured, humiliated, mocked, and rejected them. Smedes, in his book, Forgive and Forget argues that we should forgive even those monstrous people who commit atrocities.

"The truth of the matter is: very ordinary people do extraordinary evil. We need to judge them, surely, and forgive them, if we can, because they are responsible. And because we need to be healed."

In this book that quotes Smedes, In the Company of Jesus, Bill Donahue writes, "To equate even the most despicable person with evil embodied - with Satan - is to dehumanize that person. Only Satan, argues Smedes, is unforgivable because he is pure, nonhuman evil. If we treat humans in this way, it removes responsibility from their actions, for now they are nonhuman and thus not accountable. To for give is to acknowledge their humanity."

Forgiving a person is allowing him or her to be human.

Hope this topic doesn't weigh too heavy on everyone. But it IS interesting stuff, don't ya think?


shebee said...

Wow Marja,
I was just lying in my bed, thinking about how much I despise a certain someone who has hurt my family beyond bounds, when I read your exerpt...I am humbled. Still mad at this individual (who I may have to face soon (see my blog), but hunbled, nonetheless. Is it harder for us with bipolar to forgive? I wonder? As I have had extreme struggle in the area of forgiveness...maybe it's just me :(

Bleeding Heart said...

Yes! I do forgive my ex husband for his abuse towards me even though there is a part of me that never forgot. I have closure and I have moved on.

I don't think that their is Human Evil because we are All of God's Children and God is Good...However...I believe that the Act of a person's actions can be evil - God is not responsible for a person's actions. We are responsible for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

hi marja,

i am so behind on reading, trying to catch up..

i think that this is a great post.

i have found, in life, forgiveness is such a key in moving forward. you know that i was in an abusive marriage. from the beginning (of the end) i told God that I forgave him for everything, in Christ's name.

i told God that I forgave by an act of faith, and i trusted that the "feelings' of forgiveness would come.

and, they did. they always do. i always forgive by faith, and continue to profess forgiveness.
in any situation where i have been hurt.

because, i don't want bitterness to eat me.....and it will, if you don't forgive.

does that make sense?

and, everytime, God has helped me, as i have let go in faith, he has granted me the gift to forgive the most painful things done to me.

Anonymous said...

ohhh forgiveness... i could write a book about that.

have i truly forgiven an abusive boyfriend

have i truly forgiven my sexual abuser

have i truly forgiven my father and mother??

what i think is, we cannot forgive anyone, we can place the cross of Jesus between us and the one who have hurt us. Jesus can grant us the power of forgiveness and only He can. Forgiveness is too great a feeling which is why Jesus even came to Earth, it's all ABOUT forgiveness..

my pastors wife says, if you think you cant forgive, say a prayer of thanksgiving because nothing absolutely NOTHING is all bad since God has a plan in every situation.

powerful eh?

far from it.

bipolar_girl said...

I think forgiving is some sort of self therapy, too. If you continue to carry a grudge against somebody for the longest time, it is you who will suffer and not the person to whom the grudge is directed against. I belive in forgiveness. Life is too short to waste on emotional baggage. Take care

Anonymous said...

I think that the most difficult part for me, is to find the strength to forgive- it almost seems easier just to be upset- and "block" them out of your thoughts and your mind. Perhaps I'm too young, to naive...I would rather just not think about it all then try to deal and process it.

chalexa said...

There is a great book that talks about forgiveness... "What's So Amazing About Grace."- i think it's written by Phillip Yancey. Highly recommend it!!!!!!