I’m wearying of folks misusing, abusing, manipulating, and totally misunderstanding the whole concept of forgiveness.
While at dinner with some folks a while back — in the midst of a very far-ranging, six-way conversation — one of the guests said something that truly alarmed me.
She said something about “forgiving.” I came back with, “There are some things that are unforgivable.” She replied quickly and earnestly: “When you forgive the unforgivable, you become totally free!”
I leaned in and responded, “Forgiving the unforgivable is joining the evil.”
Needless to say, conversation stopped for a moment as everyone paused, stunned, to digest my statement and figure out how to proceed.
Because I believe an individual’s philosophies can elevate or diminish a society, I followed up. “For example,” I said, “a guy who raped and murdered your lovely daughter and son.”
She sat back in her chair and said, “Oh.”
“I don’t think telling that guy you forgive him is anything but caving to evil.”
“Yes,” she said somberly, “I see what you mean.”
I remember after Columbine somebody put up crosses to represent the innocent murdered by two Nazi-wannabe students from the same school. When two more crosses appeared representing the murderers, many, including me, threw a fit.
Showing compassion for evil shows callousness toward the innocent. Those boys planned to murder, in cold blood, for power, self-aggrandizement, and to glorify their Nazi worldview. To show compassion, and make them out to be victims, too — because they were bullied — was our weak willingness to deny evil as a choice.
Fort Hood’s murderous major, Nidal Malik Hasan, had an Islamic jihadist worldview that dictates killing infidels — anyone not Muslim — and even Muslims if they don’t support jihad. This worldview gave him a sense of significance, righteousness, and purpose.
So what happened immediately after the Fort Hood tragedy? The media, Obama, and even Phillip “Dr. Phil” McGraw came out sympathetically supporting the notion that the mass murderer, who screamed “Allah hu akhbar” before killing and wounding dozens, had post-traumatic stress syndrome by proxy.
Even the military and the White House parroted responses such as “poor guy . . . stressed . . . nice man,” and so forth — instead of responding immediately to this terrorist attack with support for all U.S. troops by specifying how they will be kept safe from such an attack in the future.
Plus, we all got an admonition against taking our hurt and rage out on Muslims across America. Better that message should come out of Saudi Arabia, Iran, al-Qaida, and the Taliban that Americans should not be hurt because we are angry at whatever.
No, friends, some things should never be forgiven. And each of us should be able to get on with our lives on alert, as well as at peace, once we’ve resolved that certain actions and people are unforgivable.
That includes the mother who stood by and let the man in her life hurt her children; the parent who sexually, physically, and emotionally attempted to dominate and destroy his/her children; an egregiously destructive intentional betrayal; I could go on. Hopefully you’ve embraced my drift already.
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