This Forgiveness Thing Is Harder Than It Looks

January 6, 2011


Today, I had to make a trip to Greenville NC (about an hour away) to help my oldest daughter get back into her apartment after Christmas break.  Normally, I wouldn’t have to do that, but someone decided they had greater need of her television than she did, so they kicked in her window and took it.   I don’t care about the TV; they’re making new ones everyday, so that’s easily replaced.  What’s going to be difficult is dealing with the violation that comes with a break-in and the fact that she doesn’t feel safe in her own home anymore.  I keep telling myself it’s just a part of this broken world we live in, but it’s a part I’d give anything to keep either of my girls from experiencing.  Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. 

Even after all the stuff I’ve said on here about how everyone gets forgiven for whatever wrong they’ve committed, I’m struggling with this.  All because someone decided that larceny was preferable to getting a job, a smart, funny, vibrant young woman is afraid to sleep in her own bed.  I know that happens everyday and for much worse than the theft of some electronics.  But, until now, that was academic; not any more, it’s a very real proposition.  I’m proud of her though; she’s sucking it up and doing what needs to be done, no matter how scary it may seem.  I, however, am not handling it nearly as well.  You see, there’s a part of me, a distinctly unChristian part, which would love nothing better than to lay hands on the perpetrator of this act.  And, I don’t mean “lay hands on” in that churchy way, either.  If I could, what I’d do wouldn’t pass for prayer meeting.  The logical part of me keeps saying that I need to forgive whoever did this; but that more atavistic part, the part that likes the eye for eye, tooth for tooth thing, can’t wrap itself around forgiveness.  Right now, I’m so far from forgiveness, it’s ridiculous.

The thing is, I don’t want to forgive these assholes for what they did.  When they kicked in that window, they did more than just take a television set; they took her stability, her security, that silly idea that no matter what happens “out there”, everything was safe “in here”.  What I want is to take something similar from them, to make them feel just as shitty as my little girl.  I can’t do that, though.  And then, I remember that whenever I talk to people about wrongs done to them, one of the last things I say is “You know you’re going to have forgive them for this, don’t you?”  I hate it when my own words bite me in the ass.

4 Responses to “This Forgiveness Thing Is Harder Than It Looks”

  1. Jeff Sutherland said

    I am very sorry for your daughter. I don’t think the thief should be forgiven until the thief asks for forgiveness, repays all damages, and serves an appropriate punishment (community service, or time in jail, whatever is best in this situation). Until then your reaction of wanting to “lay hands” on the thief is quite appropriate in my opinion.

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