Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Why Are We Hurting?

A friend wonders why our similar pain won't go away. I posted the following as a comment on his blog; we're both dealing with the same kind of pain, I believe.

I don't understand all of your post, but I believe I understand enough. I built a safe place for my tormentors to believe, and be free from not only retribution from me, but guilt from themselves. Unfortunately, that guilt is easily assuaged; our pain has no such solution. The people who've wronged us and tormented us will be far happier than we will ever be: if we don't build the safe place, they will find one otherwise. To counter the pain for ourselves, a role in their vindication helps on a minor level. In the end, we'll both suffer more. By our kindness and forgiving natures, they will get ahead of us in not only worldly things; they will be closer to their spiritual goals because they carry the lesser pain. It is terribly unjust, but that is the way of the tormentors. They will get ahead. They will have love, safety, understanding, and angrily enough, the moral high ground. They will look down on us and wonder why we're mired in our pain. Some will laugh. It's easier on all levels to be the tormentor, the one who causes pain.

We're taught that forgiving those who wrong us is the best thing we can do as people and believers. That teaching is itself wrong. The easiest and most direct route to the top of the world and the top of the church, at least in my experience, is to be the tormenter of a good person, then use that good person's forgiving nature to rise above guilt. That way you never have to deal with our brand of pain: watching those who hurt us be happy with their perfect lives, perfect spouses, perfect children, and perfect futures on the backs of our forgiveness.

That is the way of the world and the church. We'll never feel complete. The next time you help your tormentors, know that they will feel better, and live better far before you will. The only thing we can do about our pain is to pray and hope that when the Lord sees fit to remove us from our pain-filled bodies in his pain-ridden world, that he does not judge us harshly for our misery. He demands we forgive, so we forgive. He allows infinite chances for the tormentors to forgive themselves, but offers few options to comfort our pain. The worst part of the whole situation is that without forgiveness for our tormentors, we'll never feel better at all.

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