PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Thursday, July 27, 2006

 

Awful


It’s awful to be a Christian. When someone hurts you or offends you, you have no choice but to forgive. You cannot possibly withhold or delay forgiveness in the knowledge that you yourself have been loved and forgiven even while you’re still a sinner.

Now the worst part is that forgiveness may guarantee peace of mind but it won’t guarantee that the pain will go away immediately. Try as you might, you find yourself totally helpless in soothing yourself from the injury. You have no choice but to depend on God’s goodness, to wait for Him to deliver you. Meanwhile, you suffer in silence.

Taking revenge should not even cross your mind. To a Christian, only God has a say as to whether to punish someone or not, and as to when or how your enemy is going to be punished. All you can do is surrender, lifting up to God all the damages inflicted upon your person and soul.

Being hurt is even considered...”a call to greater love” which in layman’s term is nothing short of loving thy enemies. It’s totally incredible how Christians are called not just to love their neighbors – which is already a hard thing to do in itself; they are also called to pray for their enemies, to love their enemies. It’s illogical but that’s true Christianity for you. Here you are, totally devastated, and you’re being asked to forgive your enemy, you’re being asked to pray for your enemy.

But Christianity makes sense. You cannot possibly ask forgiveness for your own sins without forgiving others first. Hence the line in Our Father, “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.” This must be the reason why St. Paul regarded himself as somewhat a beggar and a fool rolled into one, looked down upon and reviled by “the world.” It must have struck him as surreal, having this posture of not having the desire to get back at his persecutors; he could only get back at them with love and forgiveness. He suffered a lot for it, until God said enough, it’s over, I will heal you, I shall take you.

It’s terribly humbling to be a Christian. Your fallen nature says, “Take revenge,” but your redeemed self reminds you, “Who are you to do so? Have you not sinned against God yourself? Haven’t you done the same thing to others?” It’s simply terrible that even while you’re still offended, you bow down in shame asking for your own forgiveness, for the times you did the same offenses and was repeatedly forgiven for it.

Being a Christian won’t shield you from suffering. It is as though, day by day, you are being trained and primed for the sufferings to come, until you learn to expect suffering and ultimately embrace it like Jesus did on the cross for the sake of all sinners.

It’s awful to be a Christian. It’s like a bad joke. It sucks. But when you start getting the point, that’s when you get awe-struck.

9.2.2001


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