No man is as bad as the worst thing he’s done. — Sister Prejean
I thought about the concept of loving the devil and forgiving him/her last night. This thought was triggered by reading that a character in the novel I was reading, Louise Penny’s Glass Houses, said she prayed for Satan. I’m not sure I even believe in the devil, but I seem to remember someone saying that if the devil wasn’t real, we would have to invent him.
I do know we are called to love our enemies, and forgive seventy times seven, but does that apply to the devil? Does God love the devil, does forgive the devil and does he have to forgive him every day? I’m sure C.S. Lewis at this point would say I’m being over simplistic and silly about the nature of God and Lucifer. I’m sure I am.
The devil is hardly repentant, but is that a reason not to pray for him/her? If that’s the case my prayer list got a lot shorter, because a lot of people I pray for aren’t repentant one bit. Nor is it a good reason not to forgive them. Jesus didn’t qualify our duty to forgive.
Whether the devil exists or not, we all have people we think represent evil. Yet, as followers of Christ we are called to forgive them and love them even while we are called to stand up to them at all costs. Life isn’t easy is it?
Which brings me to Sister Helen Prejean. I find tremendous comfort in her words. I would hate to be considered as bad as the worst thing I’ve done, and I suspect you feel the same way. We all carry the guilt of the worst thing we have ever done, and work the rest of our lives trying to forgive ourselves. We must remember her words when we slip into judging.
So what’s my point. I guess it is that we need to back off calling people horrible names and affixing labels linked to pure evil. That doesn’t mean we aren’t supposed to be brave and stand against tyranny in whatever form it takes. But as we fight injustice and cruelty, we need to remember that we are also called to love and forgive the same person(s) we are opposing, even if its lucifer himself.