Forgiveness isn’t something that’s “one and done” but a constant unfolding, a wake up and try, try again, and in the words of Winston Churchill, something upon which we must “Never, never, never, never give up.”
We have lavish stories of forgiveness that model for us regular human beings some sort of super-human faith in goodness, in God, or stupidity and victimhood disguised as humility.
There are heaps of stories about a lack of forgiveness — that is more the norm than not, and rather than study the seven habits of a forgiving person, a focus is needed on forgiveness as a function of community. One can’t summon the courage to do this unless they are breathing this air, like a fish needs gills to breathe underwater, we too must develop this skill for living in the kind of forgiveness culture/eco-system that makes our world brighter and more generous.
Forgiveness is a Character of Community
There’s a scene from the AMC show Mad Men, in which the Draper family goes on a picnic — picture perfect Don, Betty, Sally, and Bobby load up in their 1950s station wagon, spread out a blanket in a lovely meadow and then when the meal is over, heinously shake out the checkered tapestry and drive off, leaving the once pristine meadow full of empty coke bottles and potato chip bags. It’s a quick scene, but its impact is striking. “That’s just the way it was then,” older generations informed me — “this was before all these PSAs about litter!”
What does litter have to do with forgiveness?
People are not profits. People are not plastic. People are not trash.
We cannot discard those who have pissed us off, or unearthed our hidden dysfunctions, or even crippled our ability to cope.