The reality of forgiveness
- Category: Alison Marshall's Column
- Created: Tuesday, 04 July 2006 16:12
- Published: Tuesday, 04 July 2006 00:00
- Hits: 5354
I was talking with a Christian guy the other day and he suggested that the Jews were forgiven for murdering Jesus because Jesus asked for them to be forgiven when he was on the cross. I couldn't reconcile myself to this idea and it began a long meditation in my mind on the reality of forgiveness.
The suggestion put to me (as I understood it) seemed far too simplistic and naïve. I know that I used to struggle with the idea that God actually did punish people for doing bad things. I never used to believe it. But now I do. I was pulled up short when I read the Tablet of Fu'ad, which is published in Summons of the Lord of Hosts, pages 177 to 181. In it, Baha'u'llah describes what happened to one of his persecutors when he died. You can say that the imagery used in the tablet is symbolic, but Baha'u'llah is describing a horrible reality that Fu'ad experienced when he died. Oh yes, as far as I'm concerned, hell is a reality all right—an inner one in the soul—and God does punish. Besides, Baha'u'llah is crystal clear that creation works on the twin pillars of reward and punishment. "The Great Being saith: The structure of world stability and order hath been reared upon, and will continue to be sustained by, the twin pillars of reward and punishment." (Baha'u'llah: Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p 164)