Saturday, September 20, 2014

Why is Asking for Forgiveness so Rare?

Peace Catholic Radio Station had a contest for original hymns and one of the prison inmates entered his compositions, he was not able to be present but was giving special recognition by the judges. The chaplain of the prison wrote about his feelings in an article  for the Pastoral Bulletin.

The prisoner was a very zealous Catholic and the leader of the Catholics in the prison. He was taking a correspondence course offered by the school of theology;  an exemplary prisoner who was determined to change his life.

In a meeting of  pastoral workers for the prisoners he heard about the family of those that our exemplary prisoner had inflicted harm. Family members were not able to rid themselves of the hurt that was experienced. As a chaplain he never forgot the  victims of the crimes perpetrated, but hearing what was said about the prisoner did make him feel uncomfortable.

He remembered a film, Secret Sunshine, and the meaning of forgiveness. The heroine  of the movie lost her husband in a automobile accident and she  moves with grief to the  small hometown of her dead husband. She becomes interested in Christianity. Shortly after becoming a Christian, her son was killed by an owner of an academy. After some time, moved by her new found faith, decided to go to the prison to forgive the man who killed her son. With difficulty she told the prisoner that she was there to forgive him  for what he had done. However, the prisoner calmly and easily responded that he had already been forgiven by God.The mother, the person the prisoner should be asking for forgiveness, and hearing him say that God had already forgiven him was too much for her. The mother promptly lost any semblance of faith she had, and our writer sees the question of forgiveness in a new light.

This situation is not only seen in movies, but often in daily life. There are many who  have suffered, been hurt and to whom much harm has been inflicted in our history and in the present day, and yet we have few who ask for forgiveness.

In the past when our country was taken away from us by the Japanese we have many in those days who have benefited by their relationship with the Japanese and their children have important positions in our  society, but few have asked for forgiveness.  During the totalitarian rule many were killed but few have expressed any need to be forgiven.

In the recent Sewol tragedy there are many who have caused great harm to the victims and their families but few asking for forgiveness.

Forgiveness is a means of healing. Those who have been hurt need this for healing.Many have been forgiven who have not asked for forgiveness, and those that need to ask for forgiveness don't.Those that ask for forgiveness are those that really are forgiven. Why do we have so few?

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