Trust can be a difficult thing, especially if one has had their trust betrayed. So who can blame us if, like Joseph, we're just a little hesitant to restore our full trust in those who have betrayed us without a little "testing." That's only human, right? Yet it doesn't quite seem right to excuse ourselves so easily.
Where I find myself failing is in getting past the hesitancy once the "test" has been passed, or my compassion overrides my pain. Must it be so that, once lost, trust can never be fully regained? Must I allow doubt's shadow to continue to influence my thoughts and my actions?
I don't understand why sometimes I can restore trust in someone who has betrayed or disappointed me in a major and serious manner, yet will continue to remember and not restore my faith in someone for the smallest of betrayals(--are there really any small betrayals?) Where is my power to forgive? Is it a slave to the petty whims of my personality?
Is it, like it may have been for Joseph, the ultimate outcome of the betrayal that mitigates our stubbornness? (Oh no, here we are back to teleological ethics again.) If things turn out kind of OK, I can forgive and forget, but if my life, for whatever reason (whether relevant to the betrayal or not) is miserable, then I won't be so compassionate?
Then there is the other side. Those whom I have betrayed or disappointed. Assuming, for the moment, that I am at heart a good person, I would surely want to redress my wrong. The other party may very well demonstrate outward compassion and have forgotten and/or forgiven my actions. Is that an excuse to just chalk it up to human imperfection and move on? How often have I cheated my own growth by failing to own up to my actions? What price will I pay for my failure?
Things for me to ponder this Shabbat. Thanks for allowing me this electronic catharsis!
To you and yours a most pleasant Shabbat.
© 1997 & 2000 by Adrian A. Durlester
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