The other day I put up this tweet: “The F-Word. My God swears by it.”
It was a snippet of a personal reflection on the bigger problem of forgiveness.
I’m not much of one to harbor grudges. I’m usually quick to apologize when I’ve wronged somebody. I made it a habit when raising my children to seek their forgiveness when I wronged them, and I taught them to do the same. Those who know me best know that one of my favorite sayings is I’d rather be redeemed than right.
I’m impatient, intolerant, insufferable at times, but I am rarely mean just for the sake of being mean. I try to think the best of people. Having been shown mercy in my life, I always want to err on the side of mercy for others.
It hurts me terribly when I’m wrongly accused of things. I cry easily over ugly gossip. I find that doing the wrong thing often takes far more energy than doing the right thing, tho, doing nothing is often the worst of the wrongs we inflict on each other.
The greatest forgiving moment, beyond the moment of my own salvation, came for me in a manioc field in Vietnam’s Central Highland in 2003. I laid my burden down that day and have not picked it up since.
But today I realized as I was writing about the murder of a child that it had been six years to the date since the investigation into abuse for that sweet child began. Had the investigation been conducted the way it should have been that child would not be dead.
But it wasn’t.
And she is.
Which leaves me wondering about forgiveness.
The man who tortured that child to death is sitting in prison up the road from here. He reportedly attends a Bible Study every week. Sometimes the fellow who meets with him for Bible Study writes to me. I have a hard time reading those notes. In my mind I am thinking “If only you knew what I know about this case…”.
The child’s father refers to her killer as “That monster.”
He’s not far from wrong in that assessment.
This isn’t even my child and I’m having a difficult time with this whole forgiveness issue. Not that the killer has sought anyone’s forgiveness, mind you. He hasn’t. He still insists he didn’t kill the child, despite plenty of hard evidence to the contrary.
When it comes to situations like this, I don’t want a merciful God. I want the Avenger God, preferably one with a cattle prod handy.
I know the F-Word. That Our God swears by it, but really? Does God expect us to forgive the monster that tortured & murdered a defenseless child?