I apologize for my absence. I've been vacating, both literally (vacation) and figuratively (coughing and spitting and aching and snotting and hiding and complaining). But I'm back for what it's worth.
My wife and I were talking about forgiveness yesterday. I, of course, charmed her with the knowledge I derived from Matt Damon movies. In discussing the impetus for pardoning those responsible for South African apartheid, Mr. Freeman informed Mr. Damon (and thus me) that forgiveness is the ultimate weapon (it may have been Nelson Mandela who said this but I'm not splitting hairs). My initial thought on this statement was that it is a bunch of bullshit. If one is wronged in a life altering way (i.e. as a victim of racial segregation and the violent consequences that follow) the proper response is a beat down of the perpetrators, both literally (i.e...well...a beat down) and figuratively (i.e. policies and procedures that ensure a loss of personal freedom and integrity. As an aside the word "justice" is a derivation of revenge not equality.).
This is of course not a sound ethical response. It does however, feel good. Why does it feel good? Because it helps relieve the tension created by the impenetrable anger that betrayal creates. If I am wronged in someway, the effect it has on my life is magnified: the drop of objective alteration ripples into a riptide of subjective anger and resentment. My life becomes plagued by a need for vengeance. The problem is, the relief of a beat down doesn't last. It's like drinking away your sorrows: you will sober up. The anger will return.
Morgan was telling us that the true power is to let it go. To forgive. Forgiveness isn't necessarily hugs and kisses and servitude. The forgiver tells the forgivees that they don't have control. What they say or do has no effect. When I forgive you, it says that I am independent of you; your actions have no meaning in my life. For human beings whose lives and self-worth a wrapped up in meaning, forgiveness can be an attack. Forgiveness can be a beat down.