I’ve had these thoughts for some time, and couldn’t decide what to do with them. I’ll put them here for those who care to read them.
Fr. George made a very true statement over the summer. In the prayer Jesus taught us –hence, the Lord’s Prayer– he says this “…and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”
There is a clause in this prayer that so many recite without thinking of it. A condition. We are asking God to forgive us in the same way and to the capacity that we have forgiven others. The logical end to this is if we do not forgive even one person their direct or indirect slights toward us, God will not forgive us our direct offenses toward him. And why should he? Because he is good? He is good. And holy. Why should his goodness overshadow his holiness when he has not called us to be good but to be holy and perfect?
Fr. George, after expounding on that, said this: forgiveness is not limited our personal sphere of people we come in contact with. It extends to those we’ve never met or have only heard in sound bites on television. It extends to any and every person created by God –which, last I checked, was every single human being. It extends to presidents, congressmen, gangsters, thugs, someone who was rude to you once in a store, someone who didn’t know they hurt you. Everyone. It includes everyone.
Dr. Zubin took it a step further and stated things plainly. He’s a straight shooter, and that is why I respect him. He said “if you need to forgive president Obama, then forgive president Obama.” Why? Because to not do so means I do not want to be forgiven –I do not want the blessing from God. He followed that up with “do you want to be right, or do you want the blessing?” Something I remind myself of often.
Since I’ve heard it, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I know most people praise president Obama, but honestly, I saw flaws in his political policy, and I am guilty of mistaking the policy for the man. I have been guilty of grudge-holding and less-than-love. So I worked on that. Because, do I want to be right or do I want the blessing? It’s really a no-brainer.
Forgiveness does not mean you make excuses for a person and that you accept their behavior. It means you see that person for what they’ve done and choose to sincerely treat them as if they’ve done nothing at all. Love. Forgiveness is Love.
Our nation is going through some hard times right now. The root of it is a spirit of destruction and a lack of forgiveness. We have lost the practice of humbling ourselves below our fellow man, as well. Or maybe we never had that skill. We can blame it all we want on ideology, on racism, on hate. But these are only words, after all. The problem is with ourselves –the problem is with our very hearts. How can sick, imperfect hearts expect to create a healthy and perfect world? Spoiler alert: They can’t.
And our broken hearts cannot forgive on their own. I think recent events prove that they just don’t know how. The heart needs someone to teach it. Who better than our Christ, who did no wrong and was tortured anyways? Who better than he who looked at his murderers –who looks at us– and says “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”?
We need a savior, not to save us from hell and death (though he does that, too). We need a savior to save us from he most pervasive and enduring of destructive forces –ourselves.
I’m not Dr. Zubin, but I will say it plainly for you. If you need to forgive president Trump, then forgive president Trump. Do you want to be right, or do you want the blessing?
What answer do I have for those who do not acknowledge God as God? Well that, my dears, is another topic for another day. But I will say this: Will your life be more peaceful with your grudge or without it? You’re better than the baggage that comes with anger, frustration, and maybe even hate of a fellow man. You should never let anyone rob you of your peace, and so, you should forgive them to maintain that peace in your heart.
That’s all I want to say. Maybe it resonates with you, maybe it doesn’t.