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Updated on May 16, 2013

Forgive God For Creating An Imperfect World

An iron beam from World Trade Center
An iron beam from World Trade Center


This blog is part of a series. You might want to check out the initial blog of the series to get a quick overview snapshot of the series and how this blog fits in. BUT this blog also stands on its own!! Well, maybe it’s tilting just a tad! Okay, I’ll shush so you can read.

I'm sitting here sputtering, and so I'm going to do what Julia Cameron suggests with morning pages. Just start writing and write off the top, no matter what comes out! So here goes!

I thought it would be easy to reflect on forgiveness. Boy, where did I get that idea from? And who have I forgiven lately? NO ONE! So there you have it. It is definitely a challenge, and the next step is to find a few pictures and a few books from Amazon and this hub is DONE!

Okay, I did forget about the reflection part. Alright, let’s do some reflecting.

It is a very interesting word, FOR and GIVE, Check out this link for the details of FOR and GIVE.

The root of forgive is the Latin perdonare. Going from Latin to German to Old English, the per ended up as for and the donare as gilfan. I bet that piece of information made your day! Yea?

From what I can gather, the notion of forgiveness is wrapped up in the financial or social debt, as well as the coinciding punishment, that one may incur. For example, in the Our Father, one of the translations is "forgive us our debts." I haven’t been able to trace the historical connection of loosening or untying to the concept of forgiveness, and etymologically, it doesn’t seem to be there.

Hey, I'm just keeping the pen going here! I know, I know. I can hear you. WHO CARES? It's just that sometimes when you can see the history and root meaning of a word, you get an interesting and vivid picture of what the word really means. But I am not having much luck with forgive!

So, let’s jump from etymology to personal experience. For me, forgiveness from an experiential perspective, has to do with letting go. And both folks letting go. Both the offender and the offendee. In the process of letting go, however, hopefully some redefinition or healing of the relationship will occur.

I know, for some of you the notion that the offender gets to let go probably sounds outlandish, like I might be suggesting that the offender get off SCOTT FREE. So yea, we’re moving into some complex territory here.

What pops up for me, however, is when I, as the offendee, lets go, it creates a vacuum in my relationship with the offender. It leaves the dirty deed sitting there in the space between us, in all of its magnitude and ugliness. The offender has to confront his or her dastardly deed and the dastardly deed alone, because I am no longer connected to it. I am no longer getting in the way, so to speak. A little or big paradox there!

So I can offend you and rationalize that, because you are such a dastardly person, it is okay for me to commit this offense. But if your dastardliness is removed from the picture, the only thing left for me to confront is MY dastardly behavior. Wow! Dastardly! What a cool word! I wonder what the etymology of that word is!

I personally can get stuck in the forgiveness process very easily, either as an offender or an offendee. There is so much emotion swirling around inside and outside my chest and abdomen. The emotion magnetizes me and I hold on for dear life and I become hellbent on either justifying my offense or justifying my refusal to forgive.

And I really am stuck there even in writing this reflection. It is more productive for me to shift from either forgiving or asking for forgiveness to healing where it doesn’t make much difference who is at fault especially when we are talking about intimate relationships. Healing does not require a court room.

But perhaps I’m missing something which keeps me from staying with the forgiveness process instead of jumping ahead to healing, and maybe one of you has that missing piece. It is interesting that, without consciously foreseeing that I would end up here stuck, that I listed the next challenge as Heal and Be Healed.

Also note those emotions swirling inside and outside my abdomen and chest. That takes us back to breathing–what we talked about in the previous two hubs. So breathing is really so much more than just breathing. Perhaps as I learn to breathe through those emotions, they will untie and demagnitize, and I will have half of a chance of staying with the forgiveness process rather than leaping forward to healing. I don’t know. What do you think? I know that I am resisting breathing into the emotions. To do so, seems treacherous. They will only intensify and overwhelm me. And if I breathe into the emotions, it might result in me having to "eat crow." If I breathe into the emotions, one of you will say, "Now that’s my sweet little boy."

So who’s going to touch that self disclosure? IS THERE A SHRINK IN THE HOUSE?

One little tidbit that comes to mind that I want to share with you. In my work with folks who are often referred to as "victims," I watch them struggle with a little voice inside themselves that suggests they need to forgive or sometimes it is not a little voice, but the offender him or herself.

First of all, I hate the word victim. Lately I’ve been using the phrase, "the person on the receiving end or the person violated." The word victim paints such a profound picture of powerlessness. When I find myself on the receiving end of a heinous act, I need to muster up all the power I can, to move out of that violated place, and reclaim my personal power, space, and ground.

I do get it. I know recovery from trauma requires more than a change in vocabulary, but words are powerful, very very powerful. And just maybe a change in vocabulary might be more of an ingredient than we realize. I just think we can support recovery by using words and phrases that stand for and bring to life one’s reservoir of power and strength rather than the opposite. Perhaps it is accurate to talk about children as victims because they really are defenseless and totally dependent upon adults for protection. But I would like to find different words for talking about adults victimization.

So back to forgiveness. Sorry about the little detour there!

I It is my take that for the person violated, it is not in the cards for them to forgive. God does not deal them the forgiveness card. If the offender wants forgiveness, the offender must seek that from God, from society, and ultimately from him or herself. It seems to me that to place the responsibility of forgiveness on the "victim" is perverse in that it suggests some responsibility for the dastardly deed that victimized them.

Now I do get Rabbi Kushner’s insight that when violated or wounded by people or life itself, I may need to forgive God for creating an imperfect world and find a way to weave the violating experience into the fabric of my life, but that seems a different kind of forgiveness. That does not involve lifting the weight of the crime from the offender’s shoulders or heart and taking a portion of it on yourself, the one violated. Even Jesus, on the cross, did not forgive. He asked his Father to forgive those who crucified him! Rabbi Kushner’s book is Why Do Bad Things Happen To Good People.

So, one of you may have the missing piece here, and if not, we’re on to Challenge nine: Heal And Be Healed. I hope you have enjoyed this exploration which took me to a very personal place very unexpectedly.


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    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Yes, even my Mom who was the most unprejudiced person in the world had a hard time forgiving Dec 7, 1941 and said something that shocked even me and too on the edge to even write here. I'll email it to you sometime!!

    • palmerlarryray profile image

      Larry Ray Palmer 8 years ago from Macon, Missouri

      Interesting thoughts on forgiveness Vern. I had never really thought about Jesus saying "Father forgive them" rather than forgiving them himself. That's a very interesting point.

      I have a picture on my yahoo profile that is an eagle with claws out and it was popular after 9-11... It bears the motto "God may forgive them, We will not."

      I recently had a friend give me a pretty good earful claiming this stance was unchristian. Perhaps if I show him that even Christ had things he could not forgive, he might rethink his stance.

    • vrbmft profile image

      Vernon Bradley 8 years ago from Yucaipa, California

      Putz Ballard, Thank you for your comment and also jiggling my brain about that aspect of forgiveness, those huge enormous events and we hold on to some of these wounds for thousands of years. It is amazing, and you are right about the ultimate settling of accounts. I have a cartoon, in my head, about what happens when we die and one of these days I will have to put it up here. I'm not a cartoonist, so I will have to do it in verbal form! Thanks so much for your comment.

    • Putz Ballard profile image

      Putz Ballard 8 years ago

      This one is a hard one and within our humanity we can't forgive. The tragedy that struck our country on 911 and even the bombing of Pearl Harbor has deep emotions that we all have to deal with but in the end, it will be the judgement of a Just Judge who will settle the accounts.


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