I have to say that this is one of the most difficult posts I have had to write. It is because here is where I have to walk the walk that I am not comfortable walking today. It is in this post that I need to follow my own advice and my own understanding of God. It is here that those collide with my instinct to hate, fear, lash out.
I wrote on Monday, before the bombings occurred in Boston, about forgiveness. God forgives us for everything, EVERYTHING, without hesitation, without judgement. I then painted a picture of this world doing the same. When you are talking about your husband leaving his socks on the floor, this seems achievable. When you put it into context with whoever was responsible for killing, maiming, and destroying the dreams of so many in Boston, it seems impossible.
But isn’t that the real test?
We recite the Lord’s prayer and ask God to forgive us as we forgive others, then we want to put a stipulation on it. We rank who is forgivable and who isn’t. God doesn’t. We spread the teaching of love but then restrict it those we believe are deserving of it. God doesn’t. Yet, isn’t evil the absence of love? If we had loved more as a society, as a species, would evil no longer exists? If we, in this world, turn to love rather than justice, would evil no longer exists? No one who is filled with love for themselves and others could plan to hurt so many people, to kill innocent people.
So we call for action. Kill the bastard(s). Make them pay. Hate them. Hang them. We fill the world, the chat rooms, forums and social media with angry sentiment. Maybe that is how it started. Someone was hurt. They couldn’t forgive. They wanted someone to pay. And the beat goes on. Evil wins then and now. When will it stop?
Now, it is easy for me to sit here in my office, far away from Boston, not directly affected by this, not sitting in a hospital wondering if a loved one will live or preparing my child for burial, to say forgive. I wouldn’t say easy, maybe easier. You may discount what I say because of that. But I really feel at some point in time we have to fix this whole mess we have got ourselves into that terrorism even exists. That can only happen with love, and the greatest act of love is forgiveness. For that really is the test of love.
Whoever did this is one of us. Whoever did this is one of us that we somehow failed. I say “we” because the ripples that washed over this one life came from many sources and can probably be traced back somehow to you and me. I cannot discount this because I know it is true, even if you do not. Regardless, whoever did this is God’s child the same as you and I are. And God has already forgiven.
I want to hate and hurt. I want someone to pay. But if I am a Christian, as I proclaim to be, I only have one thing to do, forgive everything, even if I don’t really want to. I have to if I want my ripples to be filled with love. I have to if I want love to win. There really isn’t a choice. We just make it seem like there is.