God's Burden

“But, Papa, should we not forgive him?”

“No, my Son, we don’t forgive.”

“But why, Papa?”

“Judgement comes before forgiveness.”

“I don’t understand, Papa.”

“To forgive is to judge.”

From Eric:

What do you think, folks? This is something that I have mulled over for years – and remain challenged.

When/if you respond, please do not quote Scripture or some dead guy. 

I would like to hear your voice, your words.

Thank you.

************ Copyright @ Eric Alagan, 2016 ************

67 comments

  1. Great post. Check out my current and upcoming political and theological posts! Follow for follow. Share anything you like to increase the following and viewership. Thanks. I look forward to your future posts!

  2. Well, there is the situation where someone comes up to you and says, “Please forgive me for ___” and you say, “What is there to forgive you for? You’ve done nothing. But if you feel you need it, you have my forgiveness.” Tada, forgiveness without judgment.

    To me, the meaning of this (of not being able to forgive without having first judged) is three-fold. First, forgive the past. No matter how non-judgmental you may be now, you’ve probably made some judgments in the past and need to forgive. Second, no matter how much you don’t want to judge, you’re probably going to backslide a little, especially when caught off guard or especially stressed. So the picture is true, but the judging wasn’t on purpose. And thirdly, to forgive ourselves. Because I don’t know about you, but even when I can refrain from judging others, I am constantly observing and judging myself. That, to me, is the hardest struggle. Not so much in forgiving myself but in not assigning a value to each and every one of my actions.

  3. Eric, First, thank you for the like on my recent post, Be Afraid!…. Though I do not believe in a supreme being, but rather an inspirited cosmos. Both by my view and the concept of an omniscient and omnipresent figure, it is always judging and forgiving, being judged and being forgiven. I tackled this in an earlier post. In the case of a a terror- attack like Paris, “God” is the victims, the terrorists, the bystanders and everything and everyone else, near or far.

    Since we are not aware, consciously, of this presence, we judge, forgive or forget or have some other reaction. I tend to believe that when we judge, it is a burden. we place on our selves and others. When we forgive, we release that burden. I’m not happy with the word burden, but it’s as close as I can get.

    Always good to think about these questions. I’ve always liked your posts, but don’t receive them anymore. I not sure why.

    Peace,

    Phil

    1. Hello Phil,
      Yes, that word “burden” does carry some connotations and perhaps not the best choice, I agree.
      You opened up a train of thought by labeling everyone, in an atrocious incident such as Paris, as victims. At a certain, this is very true, I believe.
      I don’t get to write as regularly as I would like too and perhaps that’s why you don’t see many posts from me.
      Peace, Phil, yes, peace,
      Eric

    1. I like that – “Forgiveness can be the work of a lifetime, the survival of a young planet.”
      You’ve taken it to places I would not ordinarily have ventured.
      Thank you indeed,
      Eric

  4. Reblogged this on Iconography ♠ Incomplete and commented:
    A very pithy and intelligent way of understanding judgment and forgiveness. There is some judgment in anything. But forgiveness comes from an analytical debate that includes some judgment. So having judgment is not the same as being judgmental and this distinction is something very well presented by Eric Alagan.

  5. This is true. It depends on what kind of judgment and what kind of forgiveness. Some people judge without having much forgiveness or patience. And some people forgive without understanding what they have forgiven. This was incredibly intelligent. I loved the philosophy that was very, well crafted. Go, you 🙂

    1. Oh my dear, how did I ever miss these comments. My apologies.
      I bow to your words of praises and also adding value to my post with your well thought through comment.
      Thank you so much!

    2. Oh my dear, how did I ever miss these comments. My apologies.
      I bow to your words of praises and also adding value to my post with your well thought through comment.
      Thank you so much!

  6. You have no idea how deep this has struck into the very heart of me. All human life is relative. I am not the first to say that. The only way to make yourself feel better is to look at others and say, “Man, at least I am not like that. I am superior to you.” Forgiveness may be Devine, but it is steeped in audacity.

    Tim

    1. Hello Tim,
      I’m truly glad that this post resonated for you.
      I’ve always marveled at the power of words – the pen definitely continues to outdo the sword, I reckon.
      Thank you for your visit and comment, and all good wishes,
      Eric

  7. Me an actor, no Show stopper no star,
    The Eternal Show is On and goes On !!

    Sometimes I am a hero
    Sometimes a….villain
    And at times an extra
    At times… a spot-boy !!

    Punishment & Forgiveness ?
    What that ? Not in my script.
    He says action…I perform,
    He says cut and…..I stop !!

    Me an actor, no Show stopper no star,
    The Eternal Show is On and goes On !!

    1. Fantastic, Surinder,
      Entertaining and yet, filled with cosmic wisdom, my friend!
      I’m honoured that you posted such a marvelous comment here and surely, this is worthy of a standalone post in your wonderful blog.
      Yes indeed, we are all players under the direction of one who gives hints of his omnipresence.
      You have summarized very succinctly the essence of the Gita.
      Peace and all good wishes,
      Eric

    1. Ah, Stephen, my friend!
      You hit the nail on its head.
      It’s one thing for an “all knowing god” to judge and forgive, but something else when humans play god.
      Succinct, my friend, succinct!

  8. If forgiveness was always contingent on judgement, then many of us and others would never qualify. For me, forgiveness is choosing to remember the past, but it’s a daily choice to offer that person hope in the future, and let go of the resentment within.
    .
    Forgiveness for us humans, is mostly for the forgiver. I believe forgiveness offered from God, is about the forgiven.

    The only true forgiveness we need to cleanse our souls is from God. In a similar way, if someone sins gravely against us, we are not enough to forgive that sin. God must be part of that too. We can release our souls from the bitterness of holding that resentment. We can chose hope and the future over doubt, hatred, and the past. It’s a daily cleansing we must go through.

    But i believe forgiveness is very different from Judgement. because forgiveness usually isn’t fair. Forgiveness is usually letting go of something the other person deserves to pay for, (or vice versa). Anyway about it, I feel forgiveness is a choice and a gift. Not a judgement or a sentence passed. however, this was excellent food for thought 🙂

    1. Forgiveness and judgement are different – true. Taken narrowly, one is rational and seeks to put matters (as far as is possible) back to the original and the other is quite irrational.
      True, and I agree with all you say.
      What we embrace – think, say and act – is always right for us, I reckon, at that point in time.
      Good to know that I kept the grey matter churning 🙂
      Peace,
      Eric

  9. Perhaps forgiving is not a judgement of the other person’s wrong doing but more of an avenue to release the burden, the injustice and the grudge he/she held against the offender. In doing so, the gnawing unhappiness can hopefully dissipate. As it is not easy to put aside the hurt, we are taught to offer forgiveness so differences can be resolved.

    You did set us thinking again with this post, Eric.

    1. Hello Jasey dearest,
      It is a difficult one, this, I agree.
      Now, I incline more to “acceptance” but 10 years ago, I embraced “forgiveness”.
      Ten years hence – inshallah – we’ll see 🙂
      Luv and hugz,
      Eric

  10. I think the concept of forgiveness is so individual and so difficult. For each of us it is part of our heart and our spirit. I have these discussions frequently with a varied audience.

    Do I hate? No, hate is an active emotion that must be fed. I do not have the energy to hate, refuse to turn over that much of my spirit.

    But forgiveness? That is such a different issue. I do not believe we must offer it. I don’t believe we are better for it individually. I believe strongly it is a gift given to our offender, to the one who has harmed us, when and if that person truly understands the harm they have done and is remorseful.

    If they seek forgiveness from a higher power, that is on them and so be it. I do not owe forgiveness. It does not harm me to not offer it free.

    1. Good one, Val dear,
      It just drains one to hate. That energy can be better utilized elsewhere, you’re right.
      What is worse is that oft heard cliche – forgive and forget.
      No, I don’t forget – that is part of my lesson learnt and if I forget, I risk a repetition. Treading water is not living life, I reckon. I recall, I remember but without the emotions.
      All good wishes,
      Eric

  11. Well you did say “God’s burden” so it would be difficult not to get into a theological discussion on what you’ve written. In that you mention God it seems you accept there is a Being who has the power to direct and we look at the world around us and wonder why He doesn’t. It’s a mess. Then you focus on this Being having the power to judge and to forgive. First of all I don’t buy the proposition the human race is on an evolutionary track upward. The confusion, hurt, suffering, selfishness seems a part of human nature and everything I see is on a downward spiral. Someone is responsible for this mess in the world. We also accept there is a better way and there has to be some mechanism to achieve that which humans don’t have the power to accomplish. The so called UN is a joke! So let’s have a show of hands. Who wants to be in a better world than this? OK, the Supreme Being says if that’s what you really want and demonstrate it you’re forgiven and here’s your passport when you die. Now for those who like torture, strife, grasping for money and walking over bodies to get power that’s not the way it works in my better land. I judge from your actions you would be miserable up here so no passport for you. In destroying you I’m actually being kind to you and the universal family. Sorry, no forgiveness. To my simple mind that makes sense.

    1. Hello Ian,
      Thank you for this well thought out comment. You’ve drawn from several theological sources – a reflection of the rich life you’ve lived.
      During a school reunion, a former classmate said that I’ve changed – for the better. Well, I hope so – otherwise these 40 odd years would have been an utter waste. This for me is evolution – and in this, we share the same guiding star. The individual evolves – this I believe – but certainly and not necessarily the collective whole. Many individuals should have but do not evolve over the span of their lives – this too, I believe.
      And I just passed a judgement there!
      Your “simple” mind has wrapped itself around a complex matter and came out shining. This is much more than most so-called luminaries that I know of. Some even have the cheek to refer to themselves as “mystics”, “thinkers” and “intellectuals”.
      Oh dear, another judgement!
      Peace,
      Eric

    2. Yes I suppose you could term changes in life choices evolution so you have my support on that word to describe change. It can be progressive or regressive. I think mine would be regressive if you asked Georgine. rotfl. Of course there is evolution in the animal and vegetable kingdom. It’s called mutation and can be demonstrated as each adapts to its changing environment. Once again though it can be mutation that is progressive or regressive. In breeding by marrying within one’s own family for generations is certainly regressive as medical books tell us. Eating well over two generations can increase height and longevity. You always treat us with challenging thoughts Eric and its a pleasure to visit your site.

  12. This is complicated and thought provoking. It does make sense though, that to forgive, one has previously judged. Yet when I think of them separately, they are two different actions. The big difference is that to judge is easier than to forgive.

  13. The one who seeks forgiveness usually feels that it was not his/her intention to cause hurt or anger to the other party, so it is an act to appease and to remember to avoid making the same mistake. It is more his/her conscience and self-admonishment for having caused unhappiness. When parents reprimand their children, they feel “guilty” and upset with themselves for losing their cool.

    In patching up the relationship, the recipient may not have judged nor was there a need to forgive, but mostly relieve and perhaps happy that things have smoothed out . When forgiveness is sought, I like to believe that the recipient wishes within himself/ herself that he/she had been a bit more tolerant.

    For me, asking for forgiveness is okay.

  14. That is an interesting question you pose. I see forgiveness less as judging the other person and more a matter of allowing myself to let go of a perceived transgression. It’s accepting that I may have been hurt by this person, but I can let it go rather than continue stewing over the unfairness.

  15. You got the grey cells going here Eric!
    Forgiving someone who has hurt us is about acceptance. Acceptance of our shared imperfect humanity, as well as a higher calling to love rather than judge. Acceptance of the way things are.
    When we judge something to be good or bad, we are not accepting, we are labeling based on our own beliefs. Judgment comes from belief.
    P.s. God does not judge. It is our belief that she does

    1. Hello Val,
      So lovely of you to drop by and post your thoughts.
      Acceptance – yes, definitely. As it stands, I embrace this – acceptance.
      Peace,
      Eric
      P/s I spotted that – “that she does” – you’ve said plenty here 🙂

    1. Hello Paul,
      I agree too – no problem with the concept of judgement.
      My problem is with the judge. But it remains my problem – and no one else’s.
      Peace,
      Eric

  16. forgiveness is the fragrance the violet shed on the heel that crushed it” – forgiving is the act of releasing the pain from oneself caused by another. It is nothing to do with the other but only to oneself. Otherwise there is no healing for you if you carry around the hurt, anger and pain. Releasing that is what forgiveness is. It is not releasing the person but the hold it has on your heart.

    1. Hello Helena,
      Thank you for your visit and (first) comment.
      It continues to puzzle me how it can be anything other than what you say.
      All good wishes,
      Eric

    1. I share your sentiments, Celine
      I’ve always forgiven people and acted on it by making the first move to patch matters up. Most times, people are pleased but some remain burdened.
      But I suppose as we journey, we discover, and are compelled to turn over, more rocks.
      Peace,
      Eric

  17. I think it is easy and our carnal nature to judge one for a wrong done against us. However it is very difficult to forgive one for what they’ve done (against us). But, I think if we forgive them before judging them, it is not wrong, but understandable, as we are only human. This is a hard thing to deal with, and maybe depends on the kind of wrong done to us.

      1. I agree. I think it might be a different viewpoint or perspective from all, depending on the situation, the offenses, maturity, etc. Maybe, a lot of things one should consider. You sure gave the reader a lot to think about. 🙂 Hope you and your beautiful wife have a wonderful Easter, and a great week ahead.

  18. When I first read it, I thought what? But if you find yourself forgiving someone, you have judged them beforehand as having done something that requires forgiveness… thought-provoking Eric. <3
    Diana xo

    1. This strikes me as in the same vein as “All good deeds are selfish” it’s a matter of intent. If I forgive you to feel superior or to make you feel bad then my intention was judgement. However, if I forgive you to take away my anger or to alleviate your pain my intention was forgiveness.
      I do not disagree that these are but different faces on the same coin though.
      All the best!

      1. You have provided a new facet – bookreader – one that I never did consider – and thank you for this.
        I’m back to the drawing board 🙂
        Peace,
        Eric

    2. Hello Diana,
      Yes, this surely has the potential of turning on its head a couple of seductive cliches.
      All good wishes dear,
      Eric
      P/s I love that picture of you 🙂

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