Forgiveness, Differences And Embrace
To recognize the outward manifestation of love in any given society is to understand the fundamental pillar upon which successful societies are built.
In successful cultures and societies, the manifestation of love itself is forgiveness- not necessarily for the forgiveness of sin, against God or against one another for trespasses, but rather, a healthy culture or society for whom forgiving differences is a defining characteristic. With the ‘forgiveness’ of differences, comes the allowance for the equal participation in society of those who are ‘different’ from the prevailing majority, irrespective of their race, religion and culture.
The love of parents, a spouse or children are the road map of life. Nevertheless, those kinds of manifestations of love are not enough to build a healthy society and culture. All we have to do is look at the world we live in.
There are those who say that our adversaries are ‘just like us.’ They have kids, go to work, come home and have dinner, and they want the exact same thing we do. While that is true, that is not enough.
We forgive differences and our adversaries do not.
In other cultures and societies, the same people who come home and have dinner and worry about report cards are also teaching their children to hate and sometimes, even to kill some people of different races or religions.
Just because we can agree that hamburgers and pizza are terrific, doesn’t mean we are the same.
Those who try to blur those lines do so out of contempt for democracy and freedom. Their claim to be motivated by ‘love’ of their fellow man or ‘peace’ is laughable. In supporting causes whose fundamental underpinnings are hate, intolerance and no tolerance for the participation of those who are different from themselves, they are exposed for who and what they are and who and what they believe in. They are no more concerned about ‘love’ or ‘peace’ than is the Ku Klux Klan type of racist and bigoted ideologies they support.
Throughout the course of modern history, whenever societies and cultures did allow for the equal participation of others, those societies and cultures flourished. It is also equally true that when political influences demanded that participation be withheld from those who were different, those same societies imploded and failed.
The Anchoress reflected during Season of Lent, on how difficult- and rewarding, real love can be. Lenten Thought On Hypocrisy is a ‘little post’ that offers up profound and understated clarity on life, love and meaning.
I think we’re all frauds now and again. Perhaps how deeply fraudulent we are may be measured by how willing or unwilling we are to laugh at ourselves, or to admit mistakes and failings.
When I was a little girl we Catholics were taught to spend some time before bed each night in an “examination of conscience,” which may be plainly thought of as a review of our day in light of the Ten Commandments, but of course can go much deeper than that. People talk of “Catholic guilt,” but I think of it as “Catholic consciousness” - of a way for us to remain “in balance,” and to maintain our grasp, however lightly we may, on the fact that we all have moments…
That self-awareness may be the thing that can keep us humble, so that we don’t fall so easily into the scandalous sin of hypocrisy, which never helps any cause [emp-SC&A]
We cannot claim righteousness if we are less than inclusive. We cannot claim decency when we embrace hypocrisy by claiming morality, even as we wrap ourselves in bigotry and hate- or embrace others that do just that.
Again, the Anchoress, in Lent: Dancing In Shadows And Light:
I begin to know all I do not know and have never felt so little...the silence and contemplation thrust me into dizzying light, where there is warmth but then I know even less. I realize I am almost wholly unschooled in love, unacquainted with decency.
The Anchoress speaks with the sureness of one who truly 'pursues peace.' She approaches God with trepidation and humility, seeking His Divine embrace. Her faith in God does not demand that He exclude others. She seeks a place for herself.
Contrast that with those who would kill even innocents in God's name who go to great lengths to exclude others from the Deity- and who have the audacity to declare that they too, 'pursue peace.'It is one thing to 'speak for God' and bring others his message. It is quite another thing to claim to speak for God and demand that others, even the most innocent, be killed in His name.
Consider the 'morality' of those who support those who say they speak for God and demand the deaths of others- and openly say so.
Forgiveness is more than a passive acceptance of differences. Healthy forgiveness includes an embrace of those differences and assimilating the best of the ‘others’ into our own reality. Real multicultural expression is not manifested by the demand that I embrace you. Real and full multicultural expression is not one sided, bigoted or religiously intolerant. That kind of ‘multicultural’ expression is the ‘ape in a tuxedo’ syndrome. As we have noted many times, the only ones who believe that wearing a tuxedo and pretending to be something they are not, are the apes themselves.
Before we can lay claim to any kind of love, we also have to forgive ourselves for being less than who we are capable of being. ‘Love thy neighbor,‘ means forgiveness first, of both ourselves and our neighbor, first and foremost. If we are to forgive others, we are meant to forgive ourselves first and commit to inclusion- but only if that inclusion is healthy and not bigoted. We are not asked to drink from the same well of poison, even at the risk of offending.
We are not obligated to sit down and breal break with cannibals, racists and murderers, even if they take offense. They are elevated by our presence. We are denigrated. There is no equal exhange.
If we are to love our neighbors, we are to meant to love ourselves- and that means to defend and strive for the potential and possibilities of who we are capable of being. We cannot dilute the best of who we are to others so that others might love us.
We are meant to elevate them instead.