Ok, as some of you may know, I’m not all that fond of the “forgiveness police” who decide it’s up to them to dictate to the people who have been wronged as to how and when to forgive. Or that people should forget or give people multiple second chances to people who will prove time and tim again and again and again that they will only kick you in the teeth pretty much every chance they get. That said, I think the most recent episode of American Horror Story: Asylum did an excellent job of illustrating the pitfalls of faux/forced forgiveness. Don’t read any more of this if you haven’t watched this episode, as it contains spoilers
For those who watch the show, Leigh is the perfect example of the faux forgiveness type. He takes no responsibility for what he’s done. When asked about killing 18 people on Christmas, his reply is “Christmas of 1962 was a bad time for me” He babbles on about repentance and how he sent 18 people to heaven sooner and will apologize to them when he gets to heaven. He takes no responsibility for what he’s done and ensnares a sensitive, forgiving priest into his web. He uses the holy sacrament of baptism (because he’s repented, etc, he’s being baptized) as lure to attempt to drown the priest. He literally crucifies the priest until the Angel of Death shows up to offer to release him to his suffering (we’ll see after the New Year what his response is).
In contrast, Sister Jude/aka Judy Martin is hardly sympathetic. She hit a little girl while drunk and left her to die in the road. She’s taken pleasure in torturing vulnerable people and committing sane people to an asylum. Yet, after her ordeal, she makes a true apology to Lana. She wants to right the wrong by getting Lana out of the asylum she has wrongly put her in She also is accepting of Lana’s hesitation to trust her. She doesn’t tell Lana she’s cruel or mean or unforgiving or controlling or holding onto the past when Lana lets her know she’ll have to make amends.
Sister Jude/Judy Martin has several key characteristics of someone who is actually sorry for what she’s done. She:
1) acknowledges the wrong
2) seeks to make amends for it
3) accepts that the forgiveness needs to be on the terms of the person wronged, not her terms, not on third party terms.
In contrast, Leigh accepts no responsibility what he has done, tells the gullible or those who don’t know any better what they want to hear. Like the sociopath he is, he goes merrily along his way sowing chaos and destruction while the well meaning Father Timothy has been utterly destroyed and perhaps about to die. Beware the sociopaths who walk among us. Some of us are related to them or married to people related to them