Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

Wounds Not Healed by Time: The Power of Repentance and Forgiveness

Synopsis

How should we respond to injuries done to us and to the hurts that we inflict on others? In this thoughtful book, Wounds Not Healed By Time, Solomon Schimmel guides us through the meanings of justice, forgiveness, repentance, and reconciliation. In doing so, he probes to the core of the human encounter with evil, drawing on religious traditions, psychology, philosophy, and the personal experiences of both perpetrators and of victims. Christianity, Judaism and Islam call for forgiveness and repentance in our relations with others. Yet, as Schimmel points out, there are significant differences between them as to when and whom to forgive. Is forgiving always more moral than refusing to forgive? Is it ever immoral to forgive? When is repentance a pre-condition for forgiveness, and what does repentance entail? Schimmel explores these questions in diverse contexts, ranging from conflicts in a marriage and personal slights we experience every day to enormous crimes such as the Holocaust. He applies insights on forgiveness and repentance to the Middle East, post-apartheid South Africa, inter-religious relationships, and the criminal justice system. In Wounds Not Healed By Time, Schimmel also provides practical strategies to help us forgive and repent, preparing the way for healing and reconciliation between individuals and groups. "It is my belief," Schimmel concludes, "that the best balm for the resentment, rage, guilt, and shame engendered by human evil lies in finding the proper balance between justice, repentance, and forgiveness."

Excerpt

A lonely and bitter friend of mine and his three adult, married children have not spoken to one another for years, ever since he remarried following the tragic early death of his first wife, their mother. From the children's perspective, he remarried too soon after their mother's death, and he showed more concern for the emotional needs and feelings of his second wife than for those of his children. He in turn perceived his children as selfish, not appreciating his loneliness as a widower and his need to forge a satisfying relationship with his new wife, even if it meant paying more attention to her than to his children. He is now deprived of the pride and pleasure he could have in their accomplishments and barely knows his grandchildren because of the mutual anger, recrimination, and blame that has destroyed what once were beautiful parent—child relationships. My friend was a doting, self-sacrificing father, a man to whom family was of prime importance. Here he is entering his senior years, devoid of the family joys and satisfactions he worked so hard for and deserved. His children, who loved their father before the rupture that resulted with his remarriage, are deeply hurt as well and are embittered that they have essentially lost a father, and their children have lost a grandfather. the situation is pathetic and tragic because neither father nor children are schooled in the arts of empathy, forgiveness, and reconciliation. They are caught in a no-win bind of emotional and moral foolishness, unable to extricate themselves from their mutual blame and recrimination for hurtful words and actions of the past. How sad it is to witness them living out their lives, unforgiving and unforgiven.

Forgiveness in family relationships is complicated by the ambivalent emo-

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.