The Clash of Cultures: Forgiveness vs the Culture-of-Me
As I sit here watching a Major League baseball playoff game, I am fascinated by the commercials—yes, the commercials. The fascination arises from the observation that virtually every commercial is about wonderful “me”—rewards cards, get more cash back, eat fattening foods just because.
I began to ask myself: Will people who view this stuff end up being better persons as a result of spending time this way? I do not think so because the focus is exclusively on “me,” “me, “me.” It is a self-absorbed world of diversion.
Forgiveness is a culture unto itself when placed next to the world of the commercial. Forgiveness asks of us. It demands. It requires discipline and self-sacrifice. It clashes with the “cheese cake bites” in the commercial.
If we spend, say, 70% of our time in the culture-of-me, how will this affect our understanding and practice of forgiveness? Could all this time in the culture-of-me dull us to the importance, beauty, and challenge that is forgiveness? I think so. If we have the chance to drown our sorrows in the culture of consumption, why then venture at all into the culture of struggle that is forgiveness? And what if we spend 90% or more of our time in the culture of consumption, is there then any hope for the flowering of the counter-culture of forgiveness?
We are in a clash of cultures and I wonder to what extent people know that. “Letting it go” or “just moving on” may be the easier way to go when we are not encouraged to truly forgive from the heart, in service to the one who hurt us, with an eye toward the betterment of that person.
How can we allow ourselves time in the culture-of-me without being consumed by the consumption? How can we step into the culture of service and not think it too difficult or too “out there” so that we return frequently? Or better yet, how can we step into the culture of service and bring the moving van and stay there?
Perhaps the first step is to realize that we are in a culture-of-me. Then we have to decide if we wish to live out our lives there. We really do have a choice.