And forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
An unfortunate side effect of the secularization of the western world is that we are losing our ability to forgive. There is power in forgiveness. Power for the one forgiven, of course. That much is obvious even to the most secular. But there is even more power for the one who does the forgiving.
Forgiveness cleanses us. Forgiveness allows us to move on. Forgiveness gives us a power over those who have wronged us. And yet forgiveness also allows them to move on.
The Christian teachings on forgiveness are one of the many reasons I finally converted to the faith and joined it. As with so many things, it turns out that the Christian understanding of the world actually models it pretty well. If the teachings of the church are so good at predicting and explaining human behavior, maybe they really are on to something.
There is a segment of our society today that seems to be incapable of forgiving anything. No matter how big or how small, every infraction is held as a grudge forever. It doesn’t matter if the infraction was real or perceived. It doesn’t even matter if the infraction was against them, against their family, against their friends, or even against a total stranger. They are literally unable to forgive anything, ever.
The burden they carry is tremendous. It is so large that you can literally see it when you interact with these people. They are incapable of being happy – or, worse, some of them are only capable of being happy when they have something to feel unforgiving about. Of course, this isn’t true happiness, only a pale imitation of it. Because they cannot forgive, they can never let go of the past. Because they can never let go of the past, they can never proceed into the future or appreciate the present.
For this, I pity them. And I would help them if I could.
But in the modern world this problem extends far beyond that. These people are now working to model our entire society after their own pathology. They wish to remake us into a society that never forgives. The slightest blemish, the smallest mistake can now ruin you for life. These people brought us that. The continue to work to make it even worse.
For this, I fight them – at every opportunity and with all my strength.
But first, I forgive them.