I was in Starbucks, puzzling over The Slaughter of Cities by E. Michael Jones, when I overheard as I occasionally do, a sort of counseling discussion between some church people. The thing I liked about my old church is we had these conversations in bars.
It appeared to be one guy trying to convince another to come back to the church. At some point the conversation moved to other subjects and the first guy mentioned a young man “felt he had been betrayed by his father”. Well, he probably was. It happens all the time. So he relates how he pulled out his bible and pointed to a passage on forgiveness, and said, “This is what we are called to do.”
That’s churchianity for you. Telling other people to do things you probably couldn’t or wouldn’t do yourself. Or make a pretty phony show of it. My mother believed being angry was always wrong. Wouldn’t let me be angry, about anything. She made a great show of never being angry herself and yet was one of the angriest people I have ever known. She made a great show of believing in love and equality and yet was one of the most snobbish people I have ever known. Or, like most progressives, she loved poor people in the abstract, but felt entitled to rip on lower middle-class white people who didn’t please her. I remember she once called my 7th grade math teacher a “pasty-faced little boy.” The man was in fact quite pale, and not I suppose what you would call a handsome man, but as far as I could tell an OK guy and a decent teacher. What he did to offend my mother I can’t imagine.
Is unconditional forgiveness biblical? I don’t think so and yet it’s a big part of all mainstream Christian schools of thought. There’s a lot of stuff on this, but I was taken with what this woman said.
Still, whipping out the forgiveness clobber passages (damn I’m going to have fun with that phrase!) is what your typical Christian will do in response to any kind of victimization.
As far as the boy betrayed by his father- I would tell him, you have a right to be angry. Your father had a duty to you that he failed to live up to. And that is a terrible thing. Receiving the blessing of your father is very important in all patriarchal, which is to say civilized, cultures. But your father- nor your mother- has the last word on you. As David says in Psalm 27:10, “Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.”