Thursday 28 April 2016

The innocent are full of bitterness and resentment, while the worst are full of passionate intensity

There have been situations when I was attacked in the past, where I felt the attack was without justice, that I had been harmed and that I was blameless. But perhaps precisely because of my innocence, my response was self-righteous and proud. I egotistically 'took on' the opposition, and became increasingly angry and vengeful.

The question of whether such a response is 'effective' in the real world then becomes irrelevant - because one has been corrupted.

I have experienced this in myself - and I have seen it in others - many others over the years. When somebody has been genuinely wronged and they are genuinely innocent, it is a special hazard - or so it seems to me. Such people may destroy their own lives in bitterness and resentment; and are very resistant to repentance because they feel themselves so much 'in the right' and therefore regard any attempt to help them 'move on' as taking sides against them.

This is an absolute tragedy, a waste of a mortal life, when a person will not let go of his or her grievances (against a parent, spouse, nation, race, bigot or whatever). Whether or not the grievances are 'legitimate' this strikes me as one of the commonest and deepest sins among older people - even without encouragement - but of course this is a sin which is encouraged by our culture of resentment and victim groups.

Note: As CS Lewis also said somewhere, on the other side of the coin: it is a grievous thing when one's own selfish, spiteful or simply careless actions have led to this sin in others - and may well have happened without one's knowledge.


Hoyos said...

Jesus' command to forgive others is no joke for that very reason I think. There's a tendency in people to think that forgiving others means thinking "it wasn't that bad" or "I'm partly to blame", or that forgiveness is something less radical than it is. In the Lords Prayer however it seems that our own forgiveness only goes so far as we forgive others. Forgiveness means a complete passing over ESPECIALLY a genuine sin against us, a place where, like you say, we were totally wronged and without fault.

Of course, if the nature of the sin requires that we get the authorities involved for the sake of future victims or informs a sense of prudence when dealing with the other party, then that is fine, provided there is a ruthless extermination of personal animus.

Leo said...

Let our enemies go by their old dull tracks,
and theirs be the fault or shame
(The man is bitter against the world who has only himself to blame);
Let the darkest side of the past be dark, and only the good recall;
For I must believe that the world, my dear, is a kind world after all.

--Henry Lawson