Monday, March 08, 2021

Hurt People Love People

(911 Museum, Ground Zero, New York City)

Last week Linda and I witnessed a beautiful example of forgiveness. Some people who had been deeply hurt, forgave the one who hurt them.

Hurting people forgive those who hurt them. Right? This is the Real Jesus, who exemplified this on the cross. 

Love forgives others. This is love. This is huge! 

But, in our fallen subhumanity, here's what usually happens: payback. Revenge. Retaliation. Hitting back. "Getting even."

Someone posts something on social media that is hateful towards you. They call you derogatory names. So, you hate them back, calling them even more powerful hate-names. You tell them how stupid they are. And worse.

Here is the twisted logic of our fallen humanity.

1. Someone throws hate language at you.
2. You respond by throwing hate language back at them.

You respond to "power over" by exerting power over them.

You are crucified, therefore you crucify in return.

You are persecuted, therefore you persecute in return.

You are rejected. Therefore, you reject in return.

You wound me. I wound you.

You are hurt. Therefore, you hurt others in return. Why? Because hurt people hurt people.

But, in history, there was One who, when he was hurt, loved in return,

when he was despised, understood in return,

when he was rejected, accepted in return,

when he was uninvited, invited in return,

when he was tortured, forgave in return.

When you went astray, he waited for you to return.

Craig Keener writes:  "The law limited revenge to legal retribution in kind—an eye for an eye, for example. By contrast, Jesus goes beyond this by doing away with revenge; one should love the other person more than one’s honor or even basic possessions (5:38–42). The law enjoins love of neighbor; Jesus enjoins love of enemies (5:43–47)." (Keener, Spirit Hermeneutics: Reading Scripture in Light of Pentecost, p. 213)

My brothers and sisters, you nonbelievers and you nones, you Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Jews, you yellows and browns and blacks and whites: Shall we try loving when we have been hurt, instead of hurting when we have not been loved?

My three books are:

Leading the Presence-Driven Church

Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God

Encounters with the Holy Spirit (co-edited with Janice Trigg)