A Lack Of Forgiveness


Periodically I see some re-runs of my favorite TV cop drama, Blue Bloods, but I’ve begun to notice something. Even though the central characters are portrayed to be Catholics and abide by some of the traditions with which they were raised, there is a serious lack of forgiveness on display.

I don’t think this TV show is on an island when it comes to this issue. More and more our entertainment has bought into the revenge motif rather than that of forgiveness. In fact, instead of forgiveness, we simply are not to take offenses personally because it’s just business. Except when we ARE to be offended, at everything with which we disagree, and hurry off to our safe space where we don’t have to deal with people who cross boundaries we have created.

Of course some boundaries are good and necessary. Others, not so much.

But even more, we now root for the demise of those we find offensive.

I remember years ago when Iranian student terrorists stormed the US Embassy in Tehran, a film crew captured mobs of Iranian citizens in the streets cheering. I was horrified. Not only was there animosity with a nation that had been considered a friend, but people were cheering the capture and imprisonment of people who had lived among them. Then there was the loss of property.

I hadn’t realized how Iranians viewed their government or America for propping it up. But I couldn’t imagine the joy being expresses at the expense of others.

And yet, here in America, some thirty years later, people took to the streets in celebration when they heard that Osama bin Laden was dead.

In those few decades, the US went from a nation of grace and forgiveness—the kind that provided aid to a defeated Japan and Germany and Italy after World War II, such that those nations became our allies—to a nation that seems intent on revenge and pay back

I don’t think the shift is surprising. During this same period of time, we have shifted our moral compass in a fundamental way. Once we extended forgiveness to others because we understood that God first extended it to us. And that we needed it.

Today, as a nation, we couldn’t care less about extending forgiveness. We, like the other nations, advocate shock and awe in our treatment of enemies. Thankfully we still respected the laws set down by the Geneva Convention, so we did what we could in Iraq and in Afghanistan to avoid civilian causalities. But honoring international law is not the same thing as forgiveness.

Those of us US citizens who believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior have a decision to make. We won’t ever be able to turn the clock back, but we can certainly influence our culture, as our forefathers once did. They allowed their Christian principles, notably forgiveness, to be a part of how they responded to people from other nations.

Do we follow that same pattern or are we intent on protecting ourselves?

Forgiveness is risky. People who hate you might continue to do you harm. That’s true here at home or in foreign places. But if we trust God for our protection, it’s not as risky as it may see. “So he answered, ‘Do not fear for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ ” (2 Kings 6:16)

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Published in: on September 29, 2017 at 5:21 pm  Comments (3)  
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