NOT for the faint of heart...
Using this term, you may prove yourself ignorant and worthy of contempt, social mockery, or overt hostility.
Do you know or use this word?
If you use this word, you could be considered an enabler, weak-minded or spineless, or someone in denial.
Guessed it yet?
Spoiler: for the faint of heart, you may want to skip this week’s blog if by now you know you can’t handle strong language.
Here it is—the new “f-word”:
Yes, people. I dared to say it in public. Forgive.
Now, if you’ve made it this far, don’t run and hide. I’m not going to preach to you about how or why to forgive—I’m going to explore why forgiveness pisses people off so much.
How many times are the following Scriptures or sayings beaten over a person's head?
Love Your Enemies
38"You have heard that it was said, 'AN EYE FOR AN EYE, AND A TOOTH FOR A TOOTH.' 39"But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40"If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-39.htm
The Parable of the Unforgiving Servant
21Then Peter came and said to Him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me and I forgive him? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven. http://biblehub.com/matthew/18-22.htm
Oh, and hey, how about the “big picture” exhortation--Jesus forgives, therefore, so should we?
What’s wrong with these exhortations? Are they wrong, or inherently bad? Why are they hated so much?
My belief it’s how or why people use “forgive”.
How frustrating is it when you hear someone spout those ideas out, when in reality they just want to avoid messy grief processes, or an excuse not to have or enforce boundaries for safety (“God is my protector”)?
Or when other people speak that dribble into your shithole when they are well-meaning, but honestly, have no clue about jack shit?
Or, what reaches my pinnacle of pissed-offedness, is when ultimately, “forgive” is used to get others to toe some line to perpetuate the myth that Christianity looks happy-clappy and good.
This is what happens when the goal is to make other people’s lives conform to the institution or some doctrine of the church. This is when Pharisees choose mindfuckery through any available Scripture to guilt or shame the victim. The focus is a superficial behaviour that puts extra shine to a Christian veneer.
No shit, then, that “forgiveness” is less acceptable than “fuck”.
Does this mean that forgiveness should be relegated the fiery pits of Hell? (Well, technically, it was, but that’s a whole other post...)
It comes back to that locus of control I’ve talked about (1st part of the 3 part series: http://sandcastlefaith.weebly.com/blog-home/part-1-of-3-get-a-grip-on-control). By keeping forgiveness relegated to the external behaviour, it loses its power.
You can tell when someone is using phony forgiveness fuckery by its flavour. Fucked up forgiveness is based on someone else’s timeline, or follows a specific prescribed formula that includes minimizing the victim’s perception or feelings. And it’s a one-time deal forever; if the victim brings it up again, he or she is chastised for not living out the forgiveness they gave, or didn’t do it “right”.
A person who discusses real forgiveness with a victim steeps it in respect for the INNER process he/she needs. They base it on the victim’s timeline. They encourage a personal vision of what forgiveness looks like tailored to the victim’s situation.
Instead of making forgiveness conform to any external laws, it’s about allowing it to grow organically inside another person. It’s about letting the hurting person go through the anger and pain with you having their back, until, having truly searched the length and depth of the shithole they find themselves in, they are ready to get directions, map a way out, and walk away.