Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Forgiveness Without Beginning or End
We make it easy for ourselves with other people. We deaden ourselves completely and believe that if we don't harbor any bad thoughts against people, then it's the same as if we have forgiven them- and we completely overlook the fact that we have no good thoughts about them. And forgiving could also mean having purely good thoughts about people, bearing them whenever we can. And that is just what we avoid- we don't bear other people but walk beside them and get used to their silence, and, in fact, we don't take them seriously at all. But it is precisely a question of bearing- bearing others in all respects, in all their difficult and unpleasant aspects, and in their error and sin against me. Being silent, bearing, and loving without ceasing- that would come close to forgiveness... Forgiveness is without beginning or end; it happens daily without ceasing, for it comes from God. It is liberation from everything that is forced in being with our neighbor, for here we are freed from ourselves; here we can give up all of our own rights and only help and serve others.
~ From Dietrich Bonhoeffer's daily devotion: I Want to Live These Days with You
I'm going to let this one settle a bit, and then I am going to read it again, as a remind to myself that I am not called to "walk beside... and get used to their silence".
That isn't community & that isn't forgiveness.