I have been listening to the reports about the Saville enquiry into Bloody Sunday, and, although I do not feel qualified to comment in detail on the events of that day or the handling of it over the years, the whole issue did make me think about justice, forgiveness and revenge.
C. S. Lewis wrote that forgiveness is a lovely idea – until we have someone to forgive and then it can become a huge source of bitterness, anger and pain. Having been wronged, and never getting justice for that wrong, is difficult and painful, as it must have been for so many families waiting for thirty eight long years.
I heard a man speaking on the radio this morning who said he would gladly have killed the soldier responsible at one point in his adult life, but that now he felt maybe forgiveness would be possible, if only there were remorse. That may sound grudging, but it is actually huge progress and I hope that others affected will be able to find closure.
Forgiveness is central to Christian thought, but it isn’t easy to forgive without a request to be forgiven and are we even required to? To be honest, I don’t know, but I do know that forgiveness is much easier from the outside looking in and that when we try to force forgiveness we often exacerbate wounds that just are not ready to heal.
(Above - families celebrating the Saville report and tearing up the Widgery report today)