I’ve been reading Paul Vallely’s excellent article in the Independent about Rev Julie Nicholson, the Bristol Vicar who is resigning because she cannot forgive the terrorists who killed her daughter in the July bombings in London. One can only admire and respect her integrity and her courage – empathise with her as a parent … and wonder. It takes me back to a meeting with Father Michael Lapsley in South Africa – his hands were blown off by a letter bomb sent by agents of the apartheid government in South Africa. I remember him saying, ‘The church uses forgiveness like a weapon – you must forgive ..’ But it isn’t like that. Surely she deserves more time and the prayers of many people
What interests me about the discussion in the secular press is that forgiveness doesn’t quite fit into the expected range of responses to great hurt. There is an understandable ‘tactical’ response which says, ‘If you do not forgive, you will be damaged …’ But that is not the same as saying that, if you voluntarily release both yourself and the other, the situation is transformed in a way which defies rationality even if you do not choose to name it as spirituality
To love and to forgive. Those precepts of the Lord are not easy by any means, but they are possible with his help and his grace both of which we all need. Let us pray for one another. God bless you.
I agree with both of you, it takes guts to say what you really think sometimes, its easy to say glib “religious” things to make out you are coping. Its important for God’s people to be real. In Jesus name, Stephen
Dear Bishop David – I find your thoughts on Rev.Julie Nicholson very interesting. I feel she is very brave and not a lot of people would do what she has. I really appreciate your thoughts for the day. Thank you.
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