Forgiveness halts spiral of revenge

Forgiveness halts spiral of revenge

By REV. DR. RICHAR... | 28 November, 2015
Cain, the dominant first born son of Adam and Eve, hated his younger brother, Abel. Cain’s hatred knew no limit; he invited Abel to a secluded area and killed him. The resulting desire for revenge, led to Cain’s ultimate exclusion. The community would not offer forgiveness nor forget. Cain may have been banished from the community, but the people were still slaves to revenge (Gen.4). 
 Instance of wrong-doing occur all the time. If the wrong doer is repentant, they are more likely to be forgiven. But what happens when there is no repentance? The victim and perpetrator are imprisoned in the bondage of mutual exclusion; united in a wilful relationship of mutual hate. This toxic relationship, if left alone may never end, but spiral out of control.
 People demand instant revenge when they are caught in the endless spiral of revenge, which  gives birth to violence. Both parties view the same incident from different point of views and fail to find common ground for dialogue. One party sees itself as simply seeking justice, while the other may perceive the same action as taking revenge or perpetrating injustice. A “just” revenge leads to a “just” counter-revenge. Revenge also continues to spiral out of control because our actions are irreversible; even God cannot alter them. And so the desire for revenge seems irreversible. The only way out of this predicament of irreversibility is forgiveness.
Forgiveness breaks the power of the memories of the past; it sets us free. This act transcends the claims of the justice and brings the spiral of revenge to a grinding halt. Forgiveness creates an opportunity for reconciliation. We should forgive even if the other person does not ask for forgiveness; this will halt the spiral of revenge. No wonder Jesus Christ prayed from the cross for those who crucified him, “Father forgive them (Luke 23:34).”

There are 7 Comments

Thanks for sharing this. The need right now in the world is for forgiveness and reconciliation. People need to be embraced not excluded. May God grant that we may forgive however 'unnatural' and 'unjust' it is. This is also what we need in India. Collective memory needs to be healed.

It is not because Isaac Newton proclaimed the existence of the force of gravity that gravity exists only for the Western man and not for everybody. It is not because the Law of Karma is a creed for the Oriental that Karma is valid only for the Oriental and not for everybody. Christ ́s forgiveness of his killers does not eliminate the evil karma of the killers. The extinction of the victim ́s hatred and of his desirre for anger and vengeance and his reconciliation with the tormentor does not extinguish the evil deed and its fruition. Soren Kiergaard may not be wrong when he argues that the present suffering may be - who knowŝ? - the punishment of an offense committed later, for in the Divine economy what for us are the before and the after are one still point for God.

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