Raymond Reddington, Me, and the Forgiveness of Sins

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

In spite of being very busy working in the house and going  back to work to deal with the crisis d’jour I have been very reflective about all I have been through over the past few months. Unlike past times of reflection this has been a rather uplifting experience of grace and not a de-evolution into a morbid state of moroseness.

As I wrote on Saturday I drafted and sent up my retirement letter today for my Commanding Officer’s endorsement. I also let my detailer, the officer who manages officer assignments know that I was putting in my papers so he can plan to replace me. I also let the men and . It was a strange but very freeing. I will have much to do to get ready for that day about a year from now but knowing that I can begin working on everything that I need to accomplish. There is much to do but I am at peace and really looking forward to what comes next, whatever it may be.

Due to a situation dealing with my Catholic congregation  I am having to do a town hall meeting to explain howe things work to all of my faith group leaders and contractors on Sunday afternoon. Thus I will be going in to the chapel on Sunday and I will make an appearance before my Protestant congregation to discuss my feelings about the member that tried to get me sent to court martial. I have finally been able to deal with the anger from that experience but the pain is still there. At least I am in a better place to talk about it and know now that I won’t do anything to blow the situation up.

This experience has taught me something about grace, forgiveness, and trust, but I digress…

The fact is that I have a tremendous ability to dwell upon injustices and I have a terrible time with forgiveness. I do really love the concept and as a Christian I have no idea of how Jesus managed to forgive nor the great saints of every faith who managed to live lives full of grace and forgiveness have managed to do so. It probably goes back to my Irish-Scottish DNA, the DNA that can make one a hilarious hoot one minute and a brooding bore the next regardless of whether or not alcohol is involved.

But there is something that I have learned recently: forgiveness doesn’t require me to be dishonest about how I feel about something. I learned that from Raymond Reddington, and yes I have been binge-watching The Blacklist of late and I find Reddington’s grip on philosophy, religion, and the human condition to be quite fascinating. Reddington observed:

“Sins should be buried like the dead. Not that they may be forgotten but we may them and find our way forward nonetheless.”

Truthfully I don’t believe in the forgive and forget bullshit, it’s a nice thought, but our brains don’t work that way. We can forgive someone every day, but the memories will still be there. That’s what makes it so hard. That is why the Christian understanding of the forgiveness of since is so important and so difficult. It wasn’t meant to be easy or painless, but it might make a difference, as Reddington noted:

“A friend told me recently that forgiveness won’t change the past but could very well change their future. Apparently, everything is forgivable.” 

So that’s all for tonight. Yes I know there are many things going on that I can write about but right now I need to stay in this place for a moment.

Peace,

Padre Steve+

 

 

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3 Comments

Filed under christian life, ethics, faith, life, ministry, philosophy

3 responses to “Raymond Reddington, Me, and the Forgiveness of Sins

  1. This is only a minor comment and should be taken as such, but I do appreciate and enjoy your disclaimer. I wish it were mine to use.

  2. Matthew

    Taking a moment to quietly reflect and listen will be a great benefit in the days to come. We are living in a selfish and angry time where forgiveness of any discretion is in short supply. I, personally, hope it will pass soon and we can return to thinking about what we can do for each other rather than focusing on perceived unfairness. It will make all of our lives more positively focused and better. Matthew

  3. Carmen

    It seems to me (who doesn’t believe in ‘sins’ – that’s a religious word) that Christians put far too much emphasis on the word ‘forgiveness’ (another weighted religious word). We all make mistakes, it’s the human condition. From my perspective, the person in your congregation made the mistake – not you. You are entitled to feel anger, frustration, and despair over it – after all, you are the one who suffered the consequences. I hope there are many people in your country who will get angry at the negative things that are happening — it’s the only way for things to change for the better. Your situation is a microcosm of what’s happening in the country at large and – again, from my perspective – you are the one on the sensible track. 🙂

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