Posted by Cassia on September 22, 1997 at 17:02:25:
In response to More about Helen Burns, written by Amy on September 22, 1997 at 16:31:26
] I guess Helen knew she wasn't going to live to adulthood. Sad, like Beth March.
] I know she taught Jane some useful ways to think of her situation that probably got Jane through some rough times, but I'm like Jane in having trouble with turning the other cheek and can't help but agree with Jane's take on the world as I read some of the earlier dialogs between Jane and Helen.
] "But I feel this, Helen: I just dislike those who. whatever I do to please them, persist in disliking me; I must resist those who pu nish me unjustly. It is as natural as that I should lvoe those who show me affection, or submit to punishment when I feel it is deserved."
] "Heathens and savage tribes hold that doctrine, but Christians and civilized nations disown it."
] "How?" I don't understand."
] Me neither. The Christian doctrine of forgiveness eludes my grasp. Family members of Jeffery Dahmer's victims forgiving him on TV. I don't get it. Call me a heathen, I guess.
This is the only part of Christian theology I do understand. It is necessary to forgive because holding on to the resentmenats of life will eventually cause harm to you. We are all slighted on a nearly daily basis, we are all neglected in some way , shape or form at least part of the time. Holding on to the anger, resentment and ire ruins your happiness tends to make one so defensive that new harms are no longer a possibily, they are an inevitabily.
Turning the other cheek does mean that you necessarily ignore the wrongs others do you, instead, feel the anger and move beyond the wrong. Think of how much of a wreck little Jane is at the beginning of the novel, she has no happiness, even when treated with kindness by Bessie; she looks for the trick in every encounter. Once she lets go of all of the old anger she can begin to make friends and allow others to love her.
Does this mean that she feels her emotions less? No, Jane is always passionate. She simply displays them in way that take the feeling of others into consideration. This is necessary for any society to survive because it is the base on which we build love.
And love is a necessity for humans. Anthropologist Colin Turnbull reported on a culture where famine had broken all ties in and amoung the member. Thsy could no longer care for or about one another and even when condidtions were no longer so autere they could not rebuild and were perhaps doomed.
Choosing to forgive is choosing to love despite everything and love isn't just an emotion, it is a choice.
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