The Personalist Project

Accessed on February 19, 2020 - 6:58:01

Turning the tables

Katie van Schaijik, Jul 23, 2012

Mike Healy jumped back into the discussion of "unprincipled forgiveness" because, as he put it (in comment #67 under Janet Smith's post) "I must at least defend myself from the charge (now repeated) of attributing horrible attitudes to [Katie]."

Suppose I were to say in reply: "You should model yourself on the example of Jesus, who didn't defend himself against much worse false charges made against him."

Wouldn't he want to say—wouldn't he be right to say—"Mind your own beewax. There is nothing wrong with a person defending himself against false charges!  Kindly answer my point."

If I were like the practioners of "unprincipled forgiveness," I would say in answer:  "Humanly speaking, perhaps, there is nothing wrong with defending yourself against false charges.  But it's not the example set for us by Christ, is it?  It's not the ideal we are called to.  Remember, the Bible says, 'Be ye perfect.'  If you take Christianity seriously, you should even be willing to be crucified rather than answer false charges."

If he says, "Never mind my subjective state, please respond to the issue at hand: I say you charged me falsely with imputing bad attitudes to you."

I might then remind him that he shouldn't be concerned with my bad attitudes, but only with his own—with making his own more like Jesus's, who remained silent in the face of false charges.  I might offer to pray for him.  I might spread the word among friends of his, too, that he needs prayers, because he's, clearly, got some anger and bitterness issues.  

If I responded this way to him, I would be exhibiting the same tendency the preachers and practioners of "unprincipled forgiveness" exhibit.  I would be illegitimately busying myself with Mike Healy's subjectivity rather than attending to the objective issue actually at hand.  And in so doing, I would be displaying both a lack of due respect for him and a lack of due concern about justice and truth.