Sand castles

Last night, I thought about forgiveness and making things right. I think in general it’s assumed that when Party A forgives Party B, that Party B is in some respects let off the hook (so to speak) and that Party A releases any hurt feelings. And that attitude is sometimes an impediment to forgiveness because in our hearts, we don’t want to let a serious offender go scot free.

We’ve discussed this before on the blog (and always ended up with a thousand comments because it’s contentious) but I believe it’s fully possible in a criminal matter to forgive someone while expecting him to be held accountable for his crime in court. Forgiving someone doesn’t mean refusing to testify against him or asking the DA to dismiss the case. It means that you stop wishing harm against him because of what he did to you. That in some respects, you want what’s best for that person (and most of the time, I would argue that a criminal standing trial and facing justice for the crime is what’s best for everyone.)

But last night, I had a different perspective, and because I found it soothing (and because I needed a blog post) I’ll share it. I think this works for the everyday hurts and “thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to.”

Imagine a beach. It’s been walked upon, sand castles built, trash left, and the sand is pitted by use. Perhaps someone went through with a four-wheeler when that’s forbidden, deep gouges left behind.

We would like the shore to look flat and smooth again, so we could get on all fours with a plane, or we could blow the sand with huge fans, or we could drive a steam roller over it.

Or, alternatively, we could let the tide come through and smooth the sand in one sweet motion, sweep in, sweep out, stir up the sand and lay it flat again as it pulls back out to sea. The deeper gouges and the taller piles may taken longer, but over time the relentless in and out will smooth it flat. The trash will get covered over. The shore becomes beautiful again.

Justice is an action we take in order to right the wrong. Forgiveness would seem to be the action of letting the waves make it smooth again.

In my mind, I imagined the rush of the water, the incursion of the tide, the smoothness of the sand.

It’s not easy to forgive, but maybe sometimes it’s easier to forgive than to restrain the ocean while the construction crews move through with rakes and rollers.

Advertisements

About philangelus

Mom, freelance writer, novelist, angelphile, Catholic, know-it-all.
This entry was posted in pensive, religion. Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Sand castles

  1. Normandie says:

    Jane, lovely analogy. I once struggled for years to forgive a wrong. I told the Lord I wanted to forgive. I stayed on my knees for hours, wanting to be free. I said that I forgave, yet still the hurt festered. And then one day the Lord showed me my own wrong-doing, the statement I’d made that may have felt justified, but hadn’t been loving. I immediately called the person, asked forgiveness, which, in shocked tones, he gave. I hung up the phone and felt ocean-washed. My sand had smoothed to flat, and I have never had a moment of anger at him since. (Of course, he and his family had moved away, which did make that vow easier!) God is sooo good.

  2. Jb says:

    Forgiveness is really a gift to the forgiver even more so than to the forgiven. Once you forgive, you feel better, don’t you think?

  3. Ana says:

    Beautifully written.

  4. Cricket says:

    Nice analogy. It applies to a few times when I’ve held back the sea for years so I could analyze the whole mess. When I finally gave up, tore down the fencing and asked God to deal with it as He felt best (there’s no need to micro-manage the omniscient) I felt “Of course I’m dealing with her, but I appreciate the prayer on her behalf.”

  5. Jason Block says:

    Sorry to be the person who spoils the party. Let me counter what you have said in this column.

    “Forgiveness means that you stop wishing harm against him because of what he did to you. That in some respects, you want what’s best for that person (and most of the time, I would argue that a criminal standing trial and facing justice for the crime is what’s best for everyone.)”

    Jason: That is only part of it. To me, the court system is NEVER used for justice…only expedience. How many times have we seen rapists, child molesters, and others go free due to budget constraints and non-committal court systems?

    “Justice is an action we take in order to right the wrong. Forgiveness would seem to be the action of letting the waves make it smooth again.”

    Wrong. Justice is used incorrectly. Justice=vengeance and punishment.

    And let me tell you, you may think I am a sadder person for it but I WILL never let my beaches run smooth. When my mother told me I would never amount to anything in my life, I let that rut stay with me…even to this day(20 years later). She is an angry bitter woman, who has no clue what type of person I have become. That rut is there to remind me of what evil can be.

  6. Jane says:

    {Jason: That is only part of it. To me, the court system is NEVER used for justice…only expedience. How many times have we seen rapists, child molesters, and others go free due to budget constraints and non-committal court systems?}

    It’s definitely a very flawed system, but even less justice would be done if we refused to testify because we’d made peace within ourselves about the crime. My personal forgiveness of someone doesn’t mean the legal system no longer has a duty to fulfill.

    Justice isn’t vengeance. Justice means making both parties whole again. It means restoring both to the dignity and fulness they should have had.

    Your mother sounds like a sick and twisted woman (and certainly incorrect!) and I wouldn’t tell anyone else what to do with their emotional wounds. I have found PERSONALLY that when I let go of the anger and forgive a person, effectively stepping out of the way, life itself seems to step in (God, Providence, Fate, whatever a person sees fit to call it) to right the wrongs. But I’m willing to believe I could be wrong; my experience isn’t data. 😉

  7. Jason Block says:

    Oh I believe in G-d. But I don’t need her forgiveness, or to forgive her. She made a choice, she lost. She doesnt have me in my life. End of story. Her loss, not mine.

    And I have let go of the anger. The hurt, however, will never go away. But when you talk about unconditional forgiveness, I can’t do it. She needs to beg, on her damn hands and knees for mine.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s