It is often said that it is human to make errors but to forgive is divine.

But how do you forgive yourself, let alone forgive others?

Memories plague us with unfinished emotional business. Our emotions range from anger, guilt, and despair. We lose sleep. We self-medicate. We question the correctness of forgiveness. Resentment and self-absorption act like bullies to block this restoration process. We are closed off from others in ways we are not even aware as our self-delusion limits our personal growth and we get stuck.

The Loving Community Infoletter, Volume 1, Issue 11 is now available to help you, and those you meet, with these protracted issues. Let us make healthy communities in these troubling times. Add to Cart View Cart

From the Talmud we read, “Cursed be the man who keeps swine” (Babba Kamma 82b). Also Leviticus 11:7, “while the pig is unclean for you, because, although it has a separate and completely divided hoof, it doesn’t chew the cud.” One of the safeguards to proper digestion is to chew your food well so the saliva can get mied in. Such rumination destroys bad bacteria just as ruminating over thoughts destroys errors in thinking.

The story-lesson about the prodigal (reckless spending of resources) son deals with persistence and perseverance as well, but from within the heart of the father, not his sons.(Luke 15:11-32)

The younger son asked for his share of his goods or things, after which the father divided his means of livelihood his living (bios). The son not only did not act responsibly with what was given him, but he also diminished his father’s source of self-support. the son did not experience any sense of finial responsibility.

In effect, he was dishonouring his father, thereby disobeying one of the Ten Commandments: he was saying, “I am no longer your son.” Culturally, the son was likely treated as if dead to the family. He led a wild life in another country and wasted all his share. Then there came a famine and he was left only being able to get work tending pigs.

The younger son finally did some rumination of his own among those pigs and came to himself, that is, he came to his senses. So, late in the game, the younger son developed prudence and decided on a better option, to beg for work from his father. He went home a humble and pragmatic man.

He had gone out to explore other ways of being. It left him with carob pods the pigs were eating. Repentantly, he said, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son…” Of such is the beginning of restoration.

We need to remember to ruminate and pace ourselves. We tend to get things backwards when we do not reflect on the right questions of our lives that need to be made. From the start he could have asked to be employed for some spending money. It would have been, and also became, the start of wisdom.

There wasn’t a single “I told you so” in the father’s demeanor: the dead was alive, the lost was found. The feast of home-coming was prepared. This is the talk of divine reign, full of restoration and celebration.

The older brother was not impressed. He was resentful. He didn’t know what the right question was any better than his younger brother. He had grudgingly carried on without a proper conversation as an equal with his father all those years.