Yesterday, I gave fair warning of a steady stream of Volf-isms coming your way, and I intend to deliver on that promise. I would put up a picture of the book, but the design is so awful that you are likely to dismiss it on sight. The quote comes from Exclusion and Embrace and as you might guess, it is about rage and forgiveness.
For the followers of the crucified Messiah, the main message of the imprecatory Psalms is this: rage belongs before God … by placing unattended rage before God we place both our unjust enemy and our own vengeful self face to face with a God who loves and does justice … Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners. But no one can be in the presence of the God of the crucified Messiah for long without overcoming this double exclusion – without transposing the enemy from the sphere of monstrous inhumanity into the sphere of shared humanity and herself from the sphere of proud innocence into the sphere of common sinfulness.
One of the things that I’ve really appreciated about this book is its universal relevance. Whether we are talking about nations warring over centuries old ethnic and religious animosity or the fight that a husband and wife had last week, his observations hold equally true. And come on, what’s not to love about a sentence like, “Forgiveness flounders because I exclude the enemy from the community of humans even as I exclude myself from the community of sinners.”