Forgive Them for They Do Not Know


My pastor, Ivan Pitts continues to provide food for thought posting his daily inspirational memes which provide a point of departure for further meditation, and this one did not disappoint. 

“When you finally learn that a person's behavior has more to do with their own internal struggle than it ever did with learn grace.”

 Lars and the Real Girl (an anatomically correct lifelike doll) sit on couch at brother's house.

I was helped in my understanding of how and why sometimes people’s behavior is driven more by their own psychogenic pain than by those around them, by the graphic portrayal of such in the movie “Lars and the Real Girl”.  In the movie Lars, played by Ryan Gosling, adopts a life size “anatomically correct” sex doll as a transitional object to work through his fear of abandonment. (Watching the scene where Lars first unpacks the doll, I had to assure a female friend that the movie was not at all about sex or pornography).  The doll presents a tableau rasa for him to project all of his intimacy and fear of abandonment issues. The undertone of the movie is replete with the delicious irony that he is using a pornographic fetish item as a transitional object to work toward true emotional intimacy and connection. (Hopefully, everyone understands that pornography is the anti-intimacy.) 

Lars’s projective identification culminates with him engaging in passionate arguments with the doll expressing his jealousy of her and her good relationships with others.   As Bianca is an inanimate object the fight has nothing to do with her actual actions and is completely based on unsustainability of Lars’ projection upon her of desired positive traits. It is the shattering of the delusional phase of the relationship, as happens in many relationships, but is particularly harsh when those involved come from backgrounds of trauma, as was the case with Lars, having lost his mother at birth and been raised by a grieving seemingly detached father. He shifts from idolizing Bianca to nearly demonizing her.  Unfortunately, I did not understand such things as projection, mine or anyone else’s, in my early relationships.

In my early relationships I was one to get caught up in reacting to expressions of emotion and behavior that had nothing to do with me.  I could not see that the person was arguing with themselves and against persons and influences from their past more than me and acting out patterns set in motion way before they even met me.  I may have been the trigger, but I was not the cause. Sometimes we set off emotional mines in other people that were laid in their harbor by people we never met. Still, it hurts to be the target of their blast.  I am a real man with real emotions.

Recently In a video Dr. Ramani Durvasula said something about how to defend from the blast. It was like how submarines evade depth charges, become silent and go DEEP. This means instead of reacting do NOT Defend, Engage, Explain or Personalize.  This is good practice on a human level. However, no one went more deep than Our Savior who prayed for his executioners when Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34). Instead of reacting to behavior perhaps directed at you but not about you, quietly step away and give the other person some space to have a chance to become self-aware.  From that distance you can quietly pray for them, and as you stand praying forgive. (Mark 11:25)

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