On Forgiveness

Monday, May 13, 2013

I don't post many religious or spiritual articles on here these days.
Mostly it's because those articles take a lot more time, thought and mental energy
than it takes to just stick a youtube video or playlist on there and call it a day.
And considering I am supposed to be studying for my Boards exams 12 hours a day,
just flinging a few links up here is a lot easier 
than organizing my thoughts into a blog post.

But when I read this article on the BBC this morning 
I felt kind of compelled to write something.

A long time ago,
Germany did some awful things.
Saying they killed a lot of people would be an understatement. 
The scars left all over Europe and the rest of the world were devastating.

Greece was far from unmarred by World War II.
In Crete the oldest surviving member of my family told us about her experiences,
How her brother was trapped in Athens,
starving to death as the Germans held the city captive.
By the time he made it back to Monastiraki it was too late; 
he passed away from hunger soon after his escape.

child receiving oxfam food handout in WWII. source
I won't go into the Cretan Resistance today, 
(I'd rather research the topic to do it justice)
but if you are interested this film is well worth seeing. 
Other stories from the village I was asked not to tell
as she explained to me that these bad memories should die with her
and that the wicked deeds of the German soldiers who invaded her tiny village should not be remembered.

This is an interesting perspective,
especially in a world where memorialism and historical documentation have become so acutely prominent.
I mean, we killed Osama
and then made a flick about it two weeks barely a year later. 
The Lifetime Jodi Arias story was well into filming before a verdict had even been made.
And I am not saying that we should forget atrocities
or shove them to the back of our collective consciousness; 
let's face it,
we need to be cognizant of our capability as a human race to do such evil things
in order to prevent them from happening again 
(looking at you, Turkish government.)

But forgiveness
that is something that we are far less eager to get behind.
probably because it's a lot harder to forgive
than it is to stay pissed off.
It happens to be something that I am particularly bad at.
My brain is grudge-city- 
if you look at me funny I immediately assume you hate me and think I am weird 
and are plotting horrible things against me behind my back- 
and of course these imagined acts of cruelty are unforgivable.

But that's not exactly how we are called to live as Christians, is it?

A lot of Greeks have brought up the past discretions of World War II
in defense of their country's current state,
and while I certainly don't think the Greek state 
is blameless in creating its huge economic problems
they do have a really solid point.

The debts of Germany were all forgiven after the war.
This is a big component of why Germany is such a financial superpower today.
So when Angela Merckel pressures the Greek government with strict sanctions
and the EU threatens to evict Greece 
I can't help but imagine the servant of Matthew 18: 21-35
who, upon being forgiven a great debt by his master,
throws his own debtor in prison for a few hundred denarii. 

You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt, because you begged me. Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow servant, even as I had mercy on you?

this is a country we are talking about here, and not an individual.
I understand that the parallels aren't perfect-
and I'm certainly not out to solve the world's economic problems here.
I just think it's something to think about,
and considering my own track record on forgiveness
something I should probably reflect on more often.

Have a good week everyone. 

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