On page 110, Volf states based the human tendency to commit injustice, we have two unacceptable options:
"We can simpy disregard justice (as Nietzche did) and abandon the world to the interplay of forces, thus plunging the unprotected weak into suffering; or we can insist on the relentless pursuit of justice and end up with a "rectified" world-in-ruins, a world completely torn apart by the unsparing hands of retributive justice."
The third option (drum roll for this big shocker, please) is forgiveness. Volf writes,
"In the memory of the Passion we honor victims even while extending grace to perpetrators. shouldering the wrongdoing done to sufferers, God identifies it truthfully and condemns it justly."
Although Volf argues for an ultimate healing where offenses no longer comes to mind because love has entirely suffused and reconciled the human community with one another in and with God, he is careful to point out that "one should never demand of the those who have suffered wrong that they "forget" and move on....Any forgetting other than that which grows out of a healed relationship between the wrongdoer and the wronged in a transformed social environment should be mistrusted."
Clearly this works for catastrophic and clear cut wrongs, but what about the smaller offenses where perceptions plays a huge role not only in memory but in interpretation?
I've thought of this idea recently and wondered, since God *could* forgive without the cross, because God is God, if part of the atonement is to both honor the victim by validating the inexcusability of the wrongdoing, while offering grace to the one who does wrong. And in situations where memories differ and it's a game of he said, she said, then if God in Jesus died for ALL sin, God covers whoever *deserved* (from our human standpoint) punishment, and we all are called to show grace to ourselves and one another, even when we disagree about who was wrong, who was more wrong etc.
1. Is there a sense in which, in God you can either be right or your can be happy (because God in Christ has made all things right)?
2. What criteria do you use to decide what truths/memories are worth fighting for and what can be let go and healed by a general appropriation of the Passion with its grace and its humbling effect on all people?
On page 171 Volf analyzes Kierkegaard's depiction of three women abandoned by their lovers, who act as forgiving as a good Christian possibly could, yet remain largely unhealed and despairing. The women are un-liberated by their forgiving actions because "the bond between the lover and the beloved is 'an alliance of self-love that shuts God out.' As a result of this selfish idolatry, the self of each woman is left unprotected and subject to the mercy of her fickle lover."
3. In what situations have you deluded yourself into thinking you were selflessly loving another but in actuality you were putting a human love ahead of keeping your ultimate identity in God, to your own detriment?
Labels: Book Discussions, Spiritual Formation, The End of Memory, Theology