Freed Hostage Ingrid Betancourt on Forgiveness

Chris —  July 14, 2008

The NY Times published an interview with one of the hostages recently freed in Columbia (HT: Crunchy Con).  She is transparent and vulnerable in describing how she is seeking to unpack forgiveness.  The article reads:

She wants to bear witness and testify, “but it has to come in the right moment,” she said, her eyes  image tearing. Only a week after liberation, “I need time,” said Ms. Betancourt, who was abducted while campaigning for president.

“It’s not easy to talk about things that are still hurting. And probably it will hurt all my life, I don’t know. The only thing I’ve settled in my mind is that I want to forgive, and forgiveness comes with forgetting. So I have to do two things. I have to forget in order to find peace in my soul, and be able to forgive. But at the same time, once I’ve forgiven and forgotten, I will have to bring back memories. Probably they will be filtered by the time, so they won’t come with all the pain I feel right now.”

I cannot imagine the complexity of the deep wounds Ingrid Betancourt now carries.  I immediately come back to the thesis of my book, “Only Christ and his Word can help unpack such baggage.”

Even reading these two short paragraphs from the NY Times, you can see that she is straining to find the parameters of Christian forgiveness.

She knows that she doesn’t want to be defined by bitterness and vindictiveness.

She knows that justice is necessary and wants to testify at some point.

She knows that one kind of forgetting is necessary – – but, there is a kind of remembering that must take place, too.

It is an addressing situations such as this that we find the wonderful depth and balance of the Word of God. The Bible teaches that true forgiveness does not come at the expense of justice.  It is ours to offer grace to all, and not to take revenge.  But, we can rest assured that God will make sure of justice.  Vengeance belongs to Him. . . I spend a lot of time on this in my book.

So, once again, my prayer is, that Unpacking Forgiveness will help people understand the biblical response to situations like this, as well as how we should respond to the trivial sleights we face every day in life.

For now – – I point again to this brief post.

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