The miracle of forgiveness

Years ago, I participated in a huge funeral for a young French priest. In South Africa. He was accidentally killed on the road with intent to burglary. Parents cannot be physically present. They did this in the most noble and poignant way: the bishop read to the audience the text in which they fervently forgave the murderers.

In the Bible, if there is a topic that comes back again and again, it is the topic of forgiveness. You always have to forgive. decor. Jesus himself, from the top of the cross, forgave his torturers.

But forgiveness is a miracle, as the philosopher J. Derrida himself, referring to religion. A miracle in the truest sense of the word. It is surprisingly impressive, as it transcends the law of simple justice. In the realm of pure justice, no one can be forced to forgive and no one can ask for forgiveness. Forgiveness is part of generosity, and forgiveness is part of grace: to forgive is to be blessed, to receive grace. Justice is important. Forgiveness invalidates the law of reckoning. Therefore, even in common language, referring to small offenses, the offended person will say to the one who apologizes: “Don’t bother, that was nothing!” The essence of forgiveness is the rescission of the account, exchange and exchange for a gift. Whoever offends is no longer in debt, because the offender has forgotten the debt, so the offense is not taken into account. And so, in truth, he did not forgive the woman who repeated every day to her husband, who had an “escape”: “Do not forget that I forgave you with all my heart!”

Justice in the most stringent does not include forgiveness. But without forgiveness, life becomes unbearable, because guilt is devoured by guilt, and the humiliator is gnawed with revenge.

After all, is there any basis for forgiveness? In the first place, we must consider the understanding of human weakness: if humans can tell their story from root to end—which would always be impossible, because we do not know our root and our end—how many would deny understanding? But above all, there is the law of existence, and it is a gift: before I give you anything – even forgiveness – you have already received, I must receive from the Source, who gives without asking for anything in return, and therefore, that’s it, he lives underground .

Also for this reason, even the Creator alone can forgive. In fact, an offense is a wound in the object, which the creature cannot, in the end, even if the victim forgives, repair it properly. Who will restore to a murdered young French priest the prospect of his eternal death? Only the Creator can do that. Thus the creature’s forgiveness cannot be separated from memory. Forgiveness does not coincide with forgetting. Even if the victim forgets, forgive, the offended must remember, so that evil will not be repeated again. Whoever forgives him is called to repentance and to a new life. As Kierkegaard said, “Everything is forgotten, but forgiveness is remembered.”

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