The last song on your latest album talks about forgiveness. And there is one line that is particularly interesting. “If you care to sing forgiveness songs, come down and join our band. And we’ll cut you like a sword and sing forgiveness songs.” Talk about that.
Yeah, well, thanks for noticing that one. I’m glad you noticed something unsettling there. It’s not a totally happy, welcoming, “Everything’s going to be fine” kind of forgiveness. Something’s destroyed in you.
There’s a great scene in Forrest Gump. Lt. Dan wants to die ‘cause his father and other family members were war heroes. He gets his legs blown off, but Forrest Gump carries him out of the jungle and he has to live in a wheelchair and he hates his life. He kind of has a death wish.
Anyway there’s this one scene I remember where he’s on this boat, tied at the top of the mast and there’s this huge storm. Basically he’s crying out to God. “Is that the best you can do!?!” Which was inspiring to me. Some of the harsher aspects of the religious teachings, the images of God as a fire, or there are verses [that say] “I’ve come to bring a sword, not peace.” Those are about cutting, burning and destroying.
If we’re going to be singing forgiveness songs without being hypocrites, we have to live a life of forgiveness. Which means these things that live inside of us that are bitterness or anger or division and pride, basically whatever could make you think “So and so did me wrong.” Well the call of forgiveness [could be] a call to become better. Or it could be understood differently as that within you that will not forgive is going to be cut. Kind of like a tumor. There’s something in you that has to be destroyed and discarded completely in order for forgiveness to occur. It’s not like you can just say, “I forgive somebody.” The cancer within you has to be severed.
If we want to live a life of forgiveness or respecting our parents or loving our enemies well then something inside of us has gotta go. Cause there is something inside of me that hates everyone. Or at least those who hurt me, and wants to hurt them back, so you have to ask, “How much am I willing to part with?” Or “How much can I come before the sword? And have everything cut away from me that isn’t love.”