3 religions, 3 approaches to forgiveness in the aftermath of evil

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Pallbearers release white doves over the casket of Ethel Lance as she is buried at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church cemetery in North Charleston, S. C., on June 25, 2015. Lance is one of the nine victims of the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder
 *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FAITH-FORGIVE, originally transmitted on June 25, 2015 or RNS-NEWSOME-FAITH, originally transmitted on July 13, 2015.

Pallbearers release white doves over the casket of Ethel Lance as she is buried at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church cemetery in North Charleston, S. C., on June 25, 2015. Lance is one of the nine victims of the mass shooting at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Brian Snyder
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FAITH-FORGIVE, originally transmitted on June 25, 2015 or RNS-NEWSOME-FAITH, originally transmitted on July 13, 2015.

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(RNS) The forgiveness in Charleston and Boston has startled and moved people. But it has also provoked skeptics who wonder why -- in the face of little, late or no remorse -- victims have pronounced these violent young men "forgiven."

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  • Greg1

    Christians have a duty to forgive those who sin against them. Until we forgive a person, we are spiritually bound to that person. And I personally do not want to be spiritually shackled to anyone who does not believe in God. “For if you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15).

  • Barry the Baptist

    “Spiritually Shackled.”
    Sounds like you don’t care much for your fellow man, Greg. Unless they think exactly as you do, that is.

  • Garson Abuita

    If you’re saying that the ISNA director misrepresented the Bible, that’s pretty ironic, because you’re doing the same thing. Both he and Jesus were quoting the Torah on the lex talionis, rather than Jesus’s re-statement of it.

  • Many Christians have substituted a therapeutic view of forgivenesss for the real thing. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/love-basics-heresies-divorce-homosexuality-church/

  • James B

    You don’t know much about the Koran, do you? It calls on the two earlier desert scriptures. As the New Testament draws on the previous Torah, the Koran draws on both earlier scriptures.

  • Haig

    The Biblical injunction is from the OT as well, and superceded by the NT understanding, even without repentance of the perpetrators. The point is to break a cycle of violence on the one hand and to free the survivors from becoming trapped in hatred, which can mire each of us as it has many parts of the world. Ultimately all human violation also violates God – and in Christ, Christians point to God’s reconcilliation with us overcoming our transgression, hatred, violence, etc.