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Canon Lewis wrong on forgiveness issue


Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Canon Walter Lewis (Thought for the Weekend, October 14) is inexplicably silent on two constituents necessarily associated with a victim: one is the perpetrator; the second is the cost.

The first item in the Church of Ireland Order of Service is "the Confession", when I, as a perpetrator of sin, must repent and ask God to forgive my trespasses. Otherwise, I shall not be forgiven.

Not many victims of crime have heard this request for forgiveness from those perpetrators against them, be it terrorism, sexual abuse, or other crime.

Does God have different standards for temporal relationships? I think not.

Re cost, I can only plead the currency of the blood of the Lord Jesus when making my request for forgiveness.

The temporal victim of a criminal offence has the currency of justice. Finding a voluntary contrite perpetrator and associated justice is not common. And, of course, I can forgive his actions, but how is his temporal guilt dealt with?

I have witnessed Church officials of an established Church adopt the approach of shunning the victim and supporting the perpetrator, simply because temporal justice was sought by the victim. The reason given was that forgiveness carries no need for temporal justice. How strange is that?

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They and Canon Lewis would do well to read Dr Christopher Cocksworth's Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Aftermath of Abuse.

In it, the position of the "victim" is considered, together with all relevant persons in an incident.