Karl Quotes in The Sunflower: On the Possibilities and Limits of Forgiveness
It is impossible to believe anything in a world that has ceased to regard man as man, which repeatedly “proves” that one is no longer a man.
“Look,” he said, “those Jews died quickly, they did not suffer as I do—though they were not as guilty as I am.”
“Why,” I asked, “is there no general law of guilt and expiation? Has every religion its own ethics, its own answers?”
Even if Wiesenthal believed that he was empowered to grant a pardon in the name of the murdered masses, such an act of mercy would have been a kind of betrayal and repudiation of the memory of millions of innocent victims who were unjustly murdered, among them, the members of his family.
By holding his hand Simon was being present and being human. Though holding his hand repulsed him after more of the horror story was revealed, still he stayed in the room and listened. Listening was his gift; listening was his act of compassion.
Forgiveness is the imitation of God. Punishment too is an imitation of God. God punishes and forgives, in that order. But God never hates. That is the moral value worth striving for, but perhaps unattainable.
Can we aspire to be as forgiving of each other as God is of us?
Of course, the sin here is monumental. It is still finite and God's mercy is infinite.
If asked to forgive, by anyone for anything, I would forgive because God would forgive.