The Paradigm of Forgiveness

“The paradigm of forgiveness is the love between parent and child. A parent knows that a child will make mistakes. True parenthood is the willingness, at a certain stage, to empower a child to make mistakes, for without this no child can become mature and responsible. Forgiveness is that empowerment, because it means that the child is safe in the knowledge that no error is final, no wrongdoing the end of a relationship. Not accidentally the Hebrew word rachamim, meaning mercy or the capacity to forgive, comes from the word rechem, meaning a womb. A judge, charged with administering the law, cannot forgive, but a parent can. The concept of forgiveness comes into existence when God is envisaged as both judge and parent; when law and love, justice and mercy, join hands. God forgives, and in so doing, teaches us to forgive.”

The Dignity of Difference, p. 154