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There’s something about being in the midst of a fight, or being injured by someone that makes you feel like you have a ‘get out of jail free card’ to do to them whatever you desire to. I know I’ve dropped that card on the table of life more than one time. Its ugly, you know, when we get into the more painful fights between people we care for.

You find yourself believing that unless I injure this person back their crime against not just me, but anyone like me, will go unpunished – even worse, will be treated as though it was normal and right. The hardest thing in the world is letting someone else whom you know is wrong say things that aren’t true or live a life of pleasure and joy when you know they ought to feel broken and miserable, the way you feel after they’ve injured you or your loved ones.

It is hard to believe, and even harder to live righteously out of that belief that there is a good and righteous God who will judge all matters in due time. Who will not leave you to the prison of remembrance, but will as well meet you with a new testimony of exodus…

Chapter 3: Speaking Truth, Practicing Grace

Among the many reflections by Volf in this chapter that captured me where these five comments on the nature of remembering rightly;

     “First, we don’t just happen to be in the world as products of chance or necessity; the God of love created each one of us, together with our world.
    Second, we are not in the world just to fend for ourselves while pursuing lives filled with as little pain and as much pleasure as possible; God has created us to live with God and one another in a communion of justice and love.
    Third, humanity has not been left by itself to deal with the divisive results of our deadly failures to love God and neighbor – a fissure of antagonism and suffering that taints all human history and scars individual lives; in Christ, God entered human history and through his death on the cross unalterably reconciled human beings to God and one another.
    Fourth, notwithstanding all appearances, rapacious time will not swallow us into nothingness; at the end of history God, who took on our finitude in Jesus Christ, will make our fragile flesh imperishable and restore true life to the redeemed, so that forever we may enjoy God and each other in God.
    Fifth, the irreversibility of time will not chisel the wrongs we have suffered into the unchangeable reality of our past, the evildoer will not ultimately triumph over the victim, and sufferings will not have the final word; God will expose the truth about wrongs, condemn each evil deed, and redeem both the repentant perpetrators and their victims, thus reconciling them to God and to each other.”
The End of Memory: Remembering Rightly In A Violent World , pgs. 43-44

Oh, that we would treat our memories as imperfect yet and dangerous things in our lives. That we would take the gospel message of reconciliation and explore and develop a theology of memory to both live by and live in conversation with. I fear that my memories are to often than not embellishments, which really means they are not true memories in the first place.

I fear even more than this that in the midst of conflict I can treat my memories as though they had a level certitude that the person who’s memories are different than mine couldn’t possibly hope to have. Volf in a moment of brilliance in this chapter unpacked the truthful yet spatial and temporal character of our memories. Leading us as his readers to the point of realization that our memories themselves are caught up in the already not yet dimensions of Christ kingdom coming, and though he did not use this particular language the theme was apparent in his arguments.

God help me bring to bear the reality of reconciliation your Son’s labors have won for me, for my neighbor, and for my world(s)…