Anger and forgiveness have been on my mind lately. Not that I carry unfettered anger against any person, place or thing. Indeed, my anger is directed toward those things that I cannot change, neither do I want to forgive or be forgiven by anyone.
Rather, it is in the context of the mystery that my musings wander. It is only a matter of time before the question so often asked of Sierra’s parents and sister, “How are you feeling,” morphs into “Can you let go of your anger?” and “Are you ready to forgive?”
I am inevitably taken to task for my failure to forsake anger and my unwillingness to offer forgiveness to Polly’s killer. Such criticism is born of inexperience and a lack of knowledge.
Losing a child is like having a child is an epiphany. The miracle of birth underscores and highlights unconditional love like no other experience can. When that connection is broken by unrestrained violence it becomes a boundless, cosmic betrayal that tests every emotional, spiritual and physical value.
Anger is not the negative emotion that is so often portrayed. We need not deny or stifle anger. Instead we can use anger to make the world a better place to live. If used correctly and divorced of violence anger can be an enlightened agent of change.
I believe that anger motivated Gandhi, King, Mandela, and many other agents of change throughout history. These men were very angry about the injustice heaped upon their constituency and it was anger that drove them toward the peaceful strategies that enabled them to change the world, and return the gift of equality to more than a billion oppressed humans.
There are those who suggest that we should forgive, that forgiveness makes us better people and that forgiveness is a necessary component of an evolving society. However, to forgive for sins committed against others is presumptuous and disingenuous. It would be like me forgiving Hitler for murdering 6 million Jews during World War II.
Forgiveness for murder is not ours to give. The only people in a position to forgive murder are the victims and, in many situations, the victims are dead — that is what makes murder the unforgivable sin.