Thursday, July 29, 2010

Constructing forgiveness out of violence

     To forgive is the costliest of all human experiences.  
     Those who talk about forgiveness, or preach about it, never know what it costs. Mostly what they mean by forgiveness is the political convenience of looking good, their moral superiority of being peacemakers and the social comfort of unjust, artificial peace. They really don’t know what it costs when they demand that others should forgive. 
     Truth is, the cost is entirely borne by the one who forgives. The one who is forgiven, the one who committed the atrocity, may never fully grasp the magnitude of the cost borne by the forgiver.  
     One of the stark illustrations in today's world is the contrast between the Nuremberg trials after the World War II and the Truth & Reconciliation Commission after the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa. At Nuremberg the perpetrators of human rights violations were rigorously dispensed with the justice of Lex talionis but at the TRC in South Africa it was Restorative Justice. The perpetrator and victims were brought face to face, the magnitude of evil was brought to light. The victim had to decide the punishment. The victim, the witness of suffering and irreplaceable loss, chooses to forgive. He bears his entire loss, he keeps his tears, he lets justice fall out of his hand and he walks away with violent memories that can never be erased. He forgives. He bears the cost. He alone knows within the dark recesses of mind what it means to forgive. No one else.  
     So will you ask someone to forgive? Don’t. Its dumb. Its too foolish on your part to make such a costly demand, when you will not bear its cost. You have never even understood, what it cost God and Christ to forgive you. So, don’t demand anyone to forgive you. Don't demand anyone to forgive others. Let God do it. Only He knows how. So, Let Him.

1 comment:

Santanu said...

Awesome write-up. I loved the truth in every word here.