Link and I were in the car driving across town and he asked me why we were going so far from our house. I told him that a friend had told me about the owner of a local business that been accused of a terrible thing many years ago. I didn't have all of the facts, but I felt better going to a different place of business.
I tried to minimize the information so that he can ask questions based on what he can handle, rather than me providing too many details. But as if he was reading my mind, he said, "was this a sex offense?" I replied, "yes." He immediately said, "I hope that for his sake, he was using drugs. It would be easier for him to change if it was the drugs that made him do it. If it was a personality thing, he could still change, but it would be a lot more difficult."
I don't know if this person ever commited what he was accused of or not. As an example of sin and forgiveness, without taking on the justice and legal position of this case because there are no facts to weigh here, I like the idea of just contemplating Link's position. I've had several thoughts about his comments. The first thought I had was how thoughtful he was about not only recognizing that the person was worthy of reconciliation, but that there are levels of difficulty associated with reconciliation. Another thought I had was that his response was immediately caring for this person's journey. He didn't respond with a "good guy vs. bad guy" determination. He didn't react with anger or judgment.
After having a second class with Father John Rooney today, another thought crossed my mind about Link's reaction. The person would have to forgive himself. Given whatever the circumstances, drug addiction or not, we cannot run from ourselves, we cannot take a back seat to forgiveness. To be fully alive again, to be fully human, to become whole and a fully functioning conduit for love, compassion and forgiveness, we must be capable of forgiving ourselves. More than likely, God forgives us a long time before we forgive ourselves. God cannot do our part in forgiveness. Until we forgive ourselves, we cannot humanly fire God's light on all cylinders. This is a fairly fresh concept for me, that we ough it to God and everyone else to forgive ourselves.
So what do I need to forgive myself for, that God has long since forgiven?
That should keep me busy for a while ;-)
Grace in, peace out