Saturday, October 06, 2007

forgivness first

There is a principle in popular psychology that I have often disagreed with. The principle assumes forgiveness is reached after a lot of work and a lot of expressed anger and hurt. The principle is mentioned in the article entitled “Forgiveness First.”

"Thousands were burned at the stake or decapitated or tortured in other ways until they died," Dr. Kraybill said. "When the martyrs were dying, they would offer prayers out loud, begging God to forgive their executioners."

Their belief that they should immediately forgive anyone who harms them is in stark contrast to popular ideas, Dr. Kraybill said. While many Americans see forgiveness as the end of a long emotional process, the Amish believe it's the start. They understand that they may feel angry and depressed, but they do not believe they should let painful feelings dictate their conduct toward others.

One of the primary reasons “working through” hurt and grief via bold expressions of anger and wishing harm upon the one who has done you wrong is that it is very simply practice in unforgiveness. It proclaims the making of a person who has been sinned against into an object of wrath toward his persecutors. Bold expressions of hate which pour out of hurt are formative for the persecutor and the persecuted. It turns the identity of the persecuted into yet another persecutor. It isn’t just venting. It isn’t just an expression of hurt. It is the start of a practice in unforgiveness.

Forgiveness begins with bold expressions of grace, before they are actualized. Christ did not secure the forgiveness of his particular persecutors before he declared it. He was yet alive when he cried, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.” The Creator did not declare there was light after it already came to be. As co-creators with Christ, should we not take up our responsibility of co-creation in his kingdom.


Daniel Kent said...

I agree. The "get it out of your system" approach to forgiveness just buries it deeper in your system. But then I wonder about lamenting... isn't that an expression of anger towards God? Hmmm... what do you think?

espíritu paz said...

Well, I’d say that God is actually the one that can handle the venting/lament. For humans, when somebody laments at us/vents to us we tend to create these factions strengthened by gossip on a communal level to racism on a national and international level. I’m sure you’ve heard the mantra to put a lid on gossip, “if you’re not a part of the solution, you become a part of the problem.” Ultimately, God is the solution to all of it. Lament is ultimately for him. Participants in the kingdom of God are the accompaniers and the helps toward turning venting into lament and lament into intercession. I’ve always seen lament and intercession as almost synonyms.