Is it easy to forgive? It is easy to forget? Does everyone deserve to be forgiven? These are questions that come to mind when I think about evil things that are done to innocent people. On October 3rd I wrote about my co-worker, George Woodard. This was a clear example of an evil act crossing a good man's path.
It's not my job to catch the criminal. It's not my job to get even. It's not my job to ensure justice is secured. It's not my job to apply punishment. It's not even my job to understand why this happened to begin with...
It is my job to forgive... In some cases, this may actually be harder to do that all of the above. Let's face it.... it's NOT easy to forgive. Some may disagree with me, but from my viewpoint, it is very difficult. Maybe it's a shortcoming in me.... maybe a sign of immaturity.... maybe a result of my logical brain overpowering my emotional and creative side. Nevertheless, it's tough!
I know the Bible is chocked full of advice and wisdom regarding our need to forgive. It's not a suggestion - it's a command. But, it's still hard to do. I suppose it makes it a bit more difficult when the victim is someone you actually know - especially someone as loved as George. But, should that really make a difference? I mean, would it be easier for me to forgive someone who murders, let's say, a child molester? Maybe... But, I know the right thing is for me to forgive... period!
How about "forgetting"? Can we forgive AND forget? As tough as forgiving is, forgetting is even tougher. Tougher indeed! I believe it may be possible to forget how someone has hurt you, but it may require a supernatural tweaking from above... it's very difficult to do on your own. There are repercussions from evil acts that sometimes leaves a lasting scar... or in George's case, a lasting void.
So... does everyone deserve to be forgiven? I know that I have done many things in my life that didn't merit forgiveness. Nothing like murder, of course. But, when I speak rudely of people, promote my ways over others, or think that I am better than you, I probably don't "deserve" forgiveness. But, I often get it... Maybe none of us "deserve" to be forgiven, but often it is amply provided... and, for that, I am thankful.
The person that murdered George may not deserve forgiveness, and the evil deed may never be forgotten, but I hope we can all forgive. It's what George would have done....