A line in Isaiah chapter 43 always catches our attention. Here
the Lord said: "Your sins I remember no more." The magnitude of
this statement is immeasurable when we consider what this means in
God teaches us that there are some things He chooses to forget,
and we should try to do the same. It is difficult enough to forgive
someone who has done us great harm, let alone erase the harm from
our memory. God's love for us is beyond all human
Several years ago, an elderly woman caught us looking at a
tattoo on her forearm. It was nothing fancy, not the kind that
would naturally capture one's attention. Rather, the tattoo was a
simple series of numbers she had received more than 70 years
earlier in a concentration camp.
In spite of the years, she remembered and shared some of her
memories with us. As best we can recall, she had lost all of her
immediate family and most of her extended family. What we do
remember was the absence of bitterness and resentment in her voice
Though the memories were still present, somewhere along the
years she had come to terms with her feelings and gained inner
peace. Our encounter with her was not long enough to discern how
she had reached this state, but we did leave with the distinct
impression that she had a strong faith in God.
If we take a quick look at what is showcased on television and
in movies, we would easily conclude that getting one's revenge is
part of the American way. It would seem that most people believe
that turning the other cheek may be okay as a "suggestion" from the
scriptures, but it just doesn't make sense in this world. The
audience applauds when the hurt party gets its revenge, but not so
much when revenge is not even considered.
InThe Joy in Loving, authors Jaya Chalika and Edward LeJoly
quote Mother Teresa as saying, "In his passion Jesus taught us how
to forgive out of love, how to forget out of humility." Perhaps
humility is the key to forgiving. In humility, we can wish the best
for the other and refuse to seek atonement through the (false)
satisfaction of revenge.
As humans, we may not be able to erase unjust harm from our
memories, but we can let go in such a way that past pain is no
longer relevant to our current life. The humble heart lives in
peace and passes that peace on by forgiving often.
In the end, the ability to live in peace and pass it on to
others may be the best "revenge" of all. In this Year of Mercy, may
God grant us the courage to build a new future based on forgiveness