Thursday, June 17, 2010

Friends and Forgiveness

I'm not a bible scholar. Never have been. Sure I can memorize verses, who can't? I tried to read the bible all the way through once, got pretty close...still have 6 or so books to go.

I think I had the wrong motivation behind the reading though. I was trying to be the first in my family to read the entire bible. It didn't matter how fast I read or if I understood it. Also, granted I was about 12 years most of what I read didn't have any significance for me anyway.

I bet if I picked it up now, it would. Or, I hope it would. It's something that I resolve to do every single January 1st, but it never manifests.

I'm meeting with a friend tomorrow, the longest person besides my parents that I have known. We were best friends for most of my life...and then life just happens, you know? People change, people grow, they continue to morph.

And, in the last few months we've kind of grown apart. Tomorrow we're meeting for dinner...She's angry with me and I'm angry with her, not going to lie.

I know when Peter (it's peter right?) asks Jesus how many times to forgive, he throws out a number, 7? And God says, 70 times 7, right?

So, I know I'm supposed to forgive her. I want to. So...I ask myself if I should go into tomorrow's dinner and act like nothing has ever happened (even though definite things did)? Or if I should actually, for once in my life, tell her why I am upset with her?

Is it better to keep those things in? I'm not so sure. It hasn't worked well for me in the past...that's usually where the pent up anger begins to fester and ooze and get worse over time until it leads to resentment, a not so good thing. Not so good at all.

To tell or not to tell? That is the question...


luke said...

I think sincerity is the key.

Jesus' answer of "seventy times seven" is a meaningful expression in Hebrew numerology, ( and Matthew certainly wrote to a Jewish audience, so it's a very intentional phrase. Seventy is 10 * 7, which is the number of government/order multiplied by the number of completion/wholeness. On top of this, Jesus uses 7 yet again. He means to say that we are to forgive in whole wholeness, in complete completion, because that is the proper government or order of forgiveness.

Merton writes: "It is not sufficient to forgive others: we must forgive them with humility and compassion. If we forgive them without humility our forgiveness is mockery: it presupposes that we are better than they."

"We can have the mercy of God whenever we want it, by being merciful to others: for it is God's mercy that acts on them, through us, when He leads us to treat them as He is treating us. His mercy sanctifies our own poverty by the compassion that we feel for their poverty, as if it were our own. And this is a created reflection of His own divine compassion, in our own souls. Therefore, it destroys our sins, in the very act by which we overlook and forgive the sins of other men.
Such compassion is not learned without suffering. It is not to be found in a complacent life, in which we platonically forgive the sins of others without any sense that we ourselves are involved in a world of sin. If we want to know God, we must learn to understand the weaknesses and sins and imperfections of other men as if they were our own. We must feel their poverty as Christ experienced our own."

"'Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those that sin against us.' There is no slightest suggestion that we are offered forgiveness on any other terms. ... What are we to do? ... we might try to understand exactly what loving your neighbor as yourself means. ... I have not exactly got a feeling of fondness or affection of myself, and I do not even always enjoy my own company. So apparently 'love your neighbor' does not mean 'feel fond of him.' ... Does loving your enemy mean not punishing him? No, for loving myself does not mean that I ought not to subject myself to punishment ... We may punish if necessary, but we must not enjoy it. In other words, something inside us, the feeling of resentment, the feeling that wants to "get one's own" back, must be simply killed. ... we must try to feel about our enemy as we feel about ourselves - to wish that he were not bad, to hope that he may, in this world or another, be cured: in fact, to wish his good. That is what is meant in the Bible by loving him: wishing his good, not feeling fond of him nor saying he is nice when he is not."

FHL_Always said...

Thanks for the post Luke!!

I really like what Lewis wrote in the quote you made. I do not wish her any ill will.

I still think of what Jeff said when he said that when you forgive, you accept the grant mercy to that person by not giving them something they deserve.

I'll keep what you wrote in mind when I have coffee with her later tonight. And the number thing is really cool!! I've always wondered where he got those particular numbers.