The way of forgiveness is often hard. But that doesn’t mean we can’t steer clear of unnecessary hardships or outright danger. If you’re a victim of violence or serious abuse, walk away, or run if you have to. Jesus himself avoided danger many times.
Jesus did suffer, but only when it was necessary to fulfill God’s plan for his life. Carrying a cross was part of his journey. We’ll carry crosses, too. But not all suffering is a cross Jesus wants us to carry. Some suffering we’re meant to avoid.
“Jesus does want us to be generous in forgiving. That doesn’t mean, however, that he wants us to be a doormat or a punching bag. As Christians, we are called upon at times to carry a cross, to suffer, but we don’t have to suffer unnecessarily, as with domestic violence. Jesus himself did not suffer unnecessarily. On many occasions he avoided being hurt or abused. Jesus removed himself from dangerous situations many times.
“He did suffer horribly, of course, but only when it was necessary to fulfill his Father’s will. As he traveled to Jerusalem, Jesus explained to his apostles that he would need to suffer to “accomplish his purpose” of dying and rising, so that we could be forgiven. As Jesus’s example makes clear, there’s a difference between necessary and unnecessary suffering. Necessary suffering springs from our loving choices to help others or ourselves become the people God created us to be. Unnecessary suffering simply makes us victims of another’s illness or sin.” (Fr. Scott)
Click here to learn more about Fr. Scott Hurd's book, Forgiveness: A Catholic Approach.