11 april 2017

#472. Fleming om förlåtelse...

What we see and hear in Jesus’ death is not just solidarity with the victims of this world. It is that, but it is not only that. What we see and hear in the Cry of Dereliction is Jesus’ identification in his Cross not only with the victims of this world but also with their torturers. That scandalous insight is especially important to St. Paul, who knew it to be the reason that the Cross is so radical. What Jesus assumes on the Cross is not only the suffering of innocents but also the wickedness of those who inflict suffering, and here Luke is important because he incorporates the idea into a Word form the Cross: "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do" (Luke 23:34). This means that Jesus, in his death, makes himself one, not only with my pain, but also with my sin — because I myself, and you yourselves, and all of us ourselves, are sometimes victims of others and sometimes torturers of others and sometimes both, and when we recognize this we are, as Jesus said to the scribe, "not far from the kingdom of God" (Mark 12:34).

The most striking form of Christian witness in the world — the one thing that the world even at its worst will occasionally recognize — is the forgiveness of a perpetrator by a victim. That was the power of the American Civil Rights movement. The leaders, who were mostly Christian, would would not allow the marchers and demonstrators to act out of hatred toward white people. One of those leaders was Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer. Beaten almost to a pulp in a Mississippi jail, ridiculed by upper-class blacks because she was an illiterate sharecropper, risking her life daily to train volunteers in the voter registration movement, yet living out of "a deep river of faith," she said, "It wouldn’t solve any problem for me to hate whites just because they hate me. Oh, there’s so much hate, only God has kept the Negro sane.… You have to love them [whites] for they know not what they do."

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