On divisiveness masquerading as forgiveness

a correspondent of mine (who is identified below) shared this image:

The red caption at the bottom of the image was apparently derived from this (which is from the actual caption under the image that was shared):

“Eight of [South Carolina state Senator Clementa Pinckney’s] church members, who might be alive if he had expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church, are dead. Innocent people died because of his [Senator Pinckney’s] political position on the issue.” – Charles Cotton, Board Member of the National Rifle Association, writing on his “Texas CHL Blog” on June 18, 2015

  • J R Fibonacci HunnThose who claim to be interested in the practice of forgiveness could be attentive to avoiding the promotion of divisiveness.
  • Maurean Cunningham wrote: (who is a licensed minister at https://www.facebook.com/everydaycsl )

    AND….as a simple human ,responding to such a horrific choice made by a gun using youth, led astray by egoic fear and mental imbalance….forgiveness seems like a good choice………….for now and for the next few days….FORGIVNESS PRACTICED…as we all grieve ….bless us all and those who disagree for we are all in this together…amen

  • J R Fibonacci Hunn I think of forgiveness as “an inside job.” People who claim forgiveness out of social pressure (“egoic fear”) may just be suppressing outrage.

    While it can be socially disruptive to express outrage, outrage itself is much less disruptive than antagonism / antagonizing. Outrage (how I mean it here) is not personal. It is panic, shock, grief, and so on.

    But to add resentment and antagonism and shaming is completely distinct. To add to divisiveness is very common, including in “new thought” groups [a category of “new age” churches] in which there is often a hysterical condemnation of divisiveness. “I forgive them and condemn their action” [can be very] pretentious.

    Responsibility is saying “I apologize for ever condemning them and I withdraw condemnation and am willing to consider what I can do in the future to promote my interests.” It is not “we are in this together so those awful people should change and then thank me for yelling at them to tell them so.” That is self-righteous divisiveness.

  • J R Fibonacci Hunn People who fear death (which is most of us) can vilify lots of human targets, like so far in Chicago this year (as far as I know), over 1,000 people have been illegally killed (murdered) through gun violence. However, those of us with repressed rage cannot vent at a statistic. We will ignore 1,000 or 100,000 deaths to vent at a single murder suspect.

    We can be ashamed that we are afraid of getting murdered, then rage at a single bomber pilot who dropped an atomic bomb on the civilians of Hiroshima. But the bomber pilot was not alone.

    There may be crazy kids who take “experimental” psychiatric meds and play violent video games and bomb a church or whatever. We may condemn them while saying “we forgive you.” That could be pretense.

    What if we said “young man, I am so sorry that you got so upset [that you resorted to violence to attract attention]. What do YOU need to say?”

    But is anyone actually interested in him? If not, that is fine. We may not want to listen. We may just want to tell everyone how great we are. To make a huge public display of saying “I forgive you” (out of an egoic attachment to “being a forgiving person”) has no compassion.

    In Tucson many years ago, I heard the Tibetan lama Paulden Gyatso talk about being tortured. He also spoke about praying for his torturers during the torture. He knew about forgiveness. I realized that I mostly just knew about social anxiety and presenting a claim of forgiveness to avoid the social condemnation which I feared.

  • J R Fibonacci Hunn Which is more forgiving: “when I look at you, I realize that I could be you. I could have done exactly what you are accused of doing.”

    Or “are the cameras rolling? Okay, cool. Sir, what you did was a horrific choice that I know you made out of egoic fear, so I forgive you.” That is not forgiveness. That is blame masquerading as forgiveness.



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