I would still be extremely interested in an advice column focused on how to forgive. (I would put a link in to Miss Forgiveness part I, but Blogger doesn't seem to want me to do that right now. So sorry.)
I went to a murder trial in August. The jury found the man guilty (first-degree); sentencing is next Tuesday. I had thought I might go, but am feeling now like it would be better to stay home. I have work; I'm not sure how much more closure I would get from going to the sentencing hearing; the benefits don't seem to outweigh the cost. I do wish that I could send someone for me, to report back, but I have no idea whom I could ask. The majority of my closest friends in this area have young children, so attending a sentencing hearing on my behalf just wouldn't be practical for them.
Why is it that I feel a sense of genuine-- as far as I can tell-- forgiveness, or at least of leaving it in God's hands-- for this murderer, but then lie in my bed and cry over the little slights I perceive from the people around me? What is it about little things that makes me think God can't handle them, too?
I've read/skimmed a couple of books-- one a few months ago, the other just last night-- which seem to exude a genuine sense of mercy. (I've put their covers up to illustrate this post, though I'm unskilled enough that they aren't really where I want them to be.) The first was called I Shall Not Hate, by a Palestinian doctor-- the first who served a medical residency in the state of Israel-- who had two daughters who were killed by an Israeli rocket attack on his town. The second, from last night, is Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy. I would be interested if anyone wanted to read them and discuss with me.
It isn't just that I have work. It's that the emotional cost for the trial was pretty hefty: I wanted to lie in my bed and cry, and not about anything in particular-- just a general misery-- and never get up again. I do feel that the trial was worth that cost; I gained a lot of "closure," which is a word I would still have a hard time defining, but which still seems to suit the experience I had. But I believe that the sentencing hearing may be different.