Was going to post this before I got my cold last week then got behind in everything. It struck a simple thought in my mind.
Two news stories from the Seattle in the last month.
1. A man is stabbed to death in the street after leaving a soccer game.
2. A woman is ran over outside a pub, the driver flees the scene.
Both incidents happened over a weekend and were on the Monday morning news (the news that starts at 4:30am). In both stories the families of the victims are reported to have forgiven the perpetrators.
I am all for forgiveness and I can see how a failure to do so could eat at a person from the inside out. There are many facets to forgiveness which I won’t go into here but one of the more obvious ones is the matter of degree of the wrong committed. There are some things, like carelessly bumping into someone on the street, that barely make the register of something to forgive. It is as easily forgiven as the effort for the other to say, “sorry”. It is also easier to forgive those we love than it is strangers for like offenses.
But my skeptical antennae go up when I hear something like the stories I related above. How do you forgive someone such a thing even before the total awareness of the loss has hit? How do you forgive in shock? How do you forgive before you mourn? A little over 48 hours is not time enough to process such a loss.
Even if you are called upon to forgive your fellow man, I doubt you are called to do it immediately. I doubt you are called to do it with such lightening speed that it cannot even be real. I seriously doubt such forgiveness can be real. I have seen talk shows where some mother has forgiven her son’s murderer after five years, 6 months, real periods of time. 62 hours? That is just saying words. I think, although I would not know how to prove, that such acts of forgiveness are more an effort to follow what one thinks is their religious duty to the point of mouthing what is psychologically impossible for them to have done.