Meditation number 61

Understanding and Forgiveness

"To know all is to forgive all " says an ancient proverb containing partial truth. The partial truth is : forgiveness is based on understanding - but it is only a half truth. Our understanding of the other person, even if it could be perfect, could only gender disdain and not true forgiveness. Whatever our understanding of another human, it is colored by our own evil nature. None of us is good enough that we could be trusted with the full knowledge of another. And it’s impossible anyway. You can’t know someone else completely, we don’t even know ourselves that way. That is not the objective of understanding. Its true goal is to help us to see the difference between the sinner and what he does. Assuredly, he has acted in a bad way but there is more in him than just that evil act. Do not try to understand the other, try rather to be understanding. Every effort to understand another which leads us to attempt to solve his formula, to untie the intricate and mysterious mingling of his emotions, is dangerous. It becomes unconsciously an exercise of hypocritical superiority; in so doing we cannot avoid judging the other. We raise doubts about their motives, prejudging their attitudes and actions and classify them into categories our human ignorance has devised, in short, playing God. Let us rather be praying God to be imitators of our Lord Jesus Christ in being understanding and leaving to Him the full perfect understanding of others for the very good reason that “He is the true God and eternal life” (1 John 5:20)

NOTE: All Bible references are from the King James Version unless otherwise specified. All unsigned material is in the spirit of Ecc. 12:11. Send all correspondence, comments, suggestions to:

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