A very perceptive essay that, inter alia, mentions Chesterton’s Father Brown while talking shrewdly about the difference between actually forgiving and merely excusing things we don’t really think are sins.
Real forgiveness is hard because it addresses people who, you know, sinned, dammit! They don’t deserve forgiveness.
Correctamundo. People who have sinned do not deserve forgivenness. A helluva a lot of them don’t (or won’t) even admit they’ve sinned, much less gotten around to asking for forgiveness. Jesus’ extremely hard command is still plain:
Note the completely unqualified nature of that command. Nothing about the sinner apologizing. Just “forgive everybody everything, always, and forever”.
And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against any one; so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses. (Mk 11:25).
“But then they’ll have gotten away with it!”
No they won’t. God is still God. He sees if and when they repent. The forgiveness is for your sake as much as theirs. Forgive and they won’t own you anymore. Hold to bitterness and their cold clammy hand will still grip your ankle 25 years after they have died (and perhaps all the way to hell). Forgive. Let them go. Be free. Let God worry about their destiny.