Sunday, 17 June 2012

Forgiveness

I'm reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis, it's one of those books I pick up and read from time to time but I'm not sure I've ever sat down and read it cover to cover in one single time frame.

Anyway, there are some things that have struck me and so I don't forget them I'm going to record them on my blog here and there.

[W]e might try to understand exactly what loving your neighbour as yourself means.  I have to love him as I love myself.  Well, how exactly do I love myself?...

A good many people imagine that forgiving your enemies means making out that they are not such bad fellows after all, when it is quite plain that they are.  Go a step further.  In my most clear-sighted moments not only do I not think myself a nice man, but I know that I am a very nasty one.  I can look at some of the things I have done with horror and loathing.  So apparently I am allowed to loathe and hate some of the things my enemies do.  Now that I come to think of it, I remember Christian teachers telling me long ago that I must hate a man's actions but not hate the bad man: or, as they would say, hate the sin  but not the sinner.

For a long time I used to think this a silly, straw-splitting distinction: how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man?  But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life - namely myself.  However much I might dislike my own cowardice or greed, I went on loving myself.  There had never been the slightest difficulty about it.  In fact the very reason why I hated the things was that I loved the man.  Just because I loved myself, I was sorry to find that I was the sort of man who did those things. Consequently, Christianity does not want us to reduce by one atom the hatred we feel for cruelty and treachery.  We ought to hate them.  Not one word of what we have said about them needs to be unsaid.  But it does want us to hate them in the same way in which we hate things in ourselves: being sorry that the man should have done such things, and hoping, if it is anyway possible,. that somehow, sometime, somewhere he can be cured and made human again.
~Chapter 7, Forgiveness, Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis.
I wonder how long it'll take before I can really really forgive?


Originally posted on my old blog 17/6/12 reposted here 28/3/14

4 comments:

  1. Your in my thoughts! Joyce

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  2. Come on lass get yer thinking cap on, I'm still waiting to be sussed out! Gave you a hint last week but you've still not twigged.
    Hope all goes ok.

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