Absolution

Seeking forgiveness is selfish. By asking for absolution, we take away the victim’s power. “I feel like you should let go of whatever I did so I can move on.” Yes, it is the human condition to err. We’re fallible creatures who learn through trial and error.  But, (like Sir Mix-A-Lot, I like big buts) forgiveness should be doled out by the victim only if they feel that the wrong has passed, and both parties can progress. The term “I’m sorry,” has lost all its meaning these days, as has “I love you.” We toss around these two sayings with little care for their true meaning. To truly be sorry for something we must feel some kind of empathy for the wronged. It should not be used as a way of covering one’s own ass. Same with “I love you.” Men, especially, use those three words as a tool: to get laid, to garner favor, to get a sandwich, the list goes on. And like most other words, over time, we lose sight of their origins. What are we left with? A mass of syllables arranged pleasantly as to procure contentment. Basically, you want to feel better, and that’s all absolution is. You fucked up. Deal with it. Forgive yourself and move on. You’ll hear people say, “All I wanted from them was an apology,” but that’s not really what they’re saying. The victim wants the abuser to feel bad about what they’ve done. Even if the abuser shows remorse, the act is still out there and cannot be reeled back in like a big mouth bass.

In terms of religious absolution, I’d like to give you a scenario. A person kills another human being. The murderer realizes that what they’ve done is wrong, and that they should be punished for it. Wonderful. Now, whilst incarcerated, a family member dies and the murderer is left an inheritance. Now they can buy all the commissary cookies and Cheetos the prison can supply. Their life has changed. They are now better off. Maybe they even donate some of their acquired snacks to their fellow prisoners in the hopes to buy favor. Does this mean they should be let out of prison? I mean, they feel bad about their crimes. They’re doing nice things for their community of prisoners. Should we give them a second chance? What do you think the victim’s family believes? Ah, now we get into the meat of the scenario. At the end of the day, it is up to the wronged to decide whether or not the murderer deserves absolution. But let’s change that inheritance. Let’s say, instead of coming into money, the murderer finds Jesus. The murderer knows he did wrong, and has been absolved by the Good Book. After all, Jesus dies for his sins, right? So, once again, absolution is out of the hands of the wronged and given to some deity the victim’s family might not even believe in. What if the wronged are Muslim… Buddhist… atheists? Having had Jesus forgive the murderer doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the eyes of those who worship differently. All too many times we hear stories about how much better someone has become because they found Jesus, as if the Son of God were a twenty spot left unattended on a sidewalk. “Hey, look! It’s Jesus!” And that’s what it amounts to. Though that twenty dollar bill might be the tipping point in the finder’s life, whatever they did before stumbling across that twenty bucks hasn’t changed.

Many of you will disagree, but I stick by what I’ve said in this post. Seeking absolution is selfish, and should be seen that way. Maybe if we took more responsibility for our fuck ups this world would be a better place. But, no, we’re an entitled bunch of monkeys who only worry about our own bananas. I say this: It means more to be forgiven than it does to acquire forgiveness through seeking absolution. If nothing else, I want you to think about it. I was wrong once. It could happen again.

E.

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4 thoughts on “Absolution

  1. tyjohnston

    I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you’ve written above, but I’d like to add two points of my own …

    1.) Seeking forgiveness or even saying “I’m sorry” while trying to explain, often enough can actually make the victim feel worse, not better. It’s putting yet another emotional weight upon them, one they weren’t necessarily asking for. Also, the victim might not be ready to deal with you face to face, and they might not be ready (if they ever are) to offer their forgiveness, and asking for such forgiveness only hurts them more.

    2.) I’ve come to hate the word “victim.” HATE it. It is a word bandied around far too often nowadays. And even when the word is not used, often enough the emotional attitude of being a victim crops up far too often, in my opinion. Yes, there are truly victims in this world, murder victims, rape victims, etc., and I do not mean to belittle their anguish nor their struggles. Not at all. But it seems every single little fucking slight anymore makes someone cry out “Victim!” Such demeans the very word and those who truly are victims.

  2. tyjohnston

    By the way, just to be clear, if I sounded critical of your posting, I didn’t mean to. Your use of the word “victim” was fairly generalized and didn’t call for anyone to victimize themselves, which is where I usually have a real problem.

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