The Final Unmasking

For there is nothing covered, that not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known.

— Matthew 10:26; Luke 12:2

There is no satisfaction of revenge possible to the injured. The severest punishment that can be inflicted upon the wrong-doer is simply to let him know what he is; for his nature is of God, and the deepest in him is the divine. Neither can any other punishment than the sinner’s being made to see the enormity of his injury give satisfaction to the injured. While the wronger will admit no wrong, while he mocks at the idea of amends, or rejoices in having done wrong, no suffering could satisfy revenge, far less justice. Both would continually know themselves foiled. Therefore, while a satisfied justice is an unavoidable eternal event, a satisfied revenge is an eternal impossibility. For the moment that the sole adequate punishment, a vision of himself, begins to take true effect upon the sinner, that moment the sinner has begun to grow a righteous man, and the brother human whom he has offended has nothing left him but to take the offender to his bosom—the more tenderly that his brother is repentant, that he was dead and is alive again, that he was lost and is found. Behold the meeting of the divine extremes—the extreme of punishment, the embrace of heaven! They run together; “the wheel is come full circle.” For there can be no such agony for created soul, as to see itself vile—vile by its own action and choice. Also I venture to think there can be no delight for created soul—short of being one with the Father—so deep as that of seeing the heaven of forgiveness open, and disclose the shining stair that leads to its own natural home, where the eternal father has been all the time awaiting this return of his child.

Commentary

by James House

For today's commentary, a set of related quotes from George MacDonald:

"It is a small thing to a man whether or not his neighbour be merciful to him; it is life or death to him whether or not he be merciful to his neighbour."
(from Hope of the Gospel)

"Even were it possible with God to forgive an unforgiving man, the man himself would not be able to believe for a moment that God did forgive him, and therefore could get no comfort or help or joy of any kind from the forgiveness; so essentially does hatred, or revenge, or contempt, or anything that separates us from man, separate us from God too. To the loving soul alone does the Father reveal Himself; for love alone can understand Him. It is the peace-makers who are His children."
(from Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood)

"Besides, in spiritual things, the only way to give them to your neighbors is to hunger after them yourself. There each man is a mouth to the body of the whole creation. It can not be selfishness to hunger and thirst after righteousness, which righteousness is just your duty to your God and your neighbor."  
(from Paul Faber, Surgeon)

"Before a man can do right by his neighbour, he must love him as himself "
(from Thomas Wingfold, Curate)

"Loving God and my neighbour ... are THE two commandments of life, so they are in themselves THE pleasures of life."
(from Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood)

"A very great part of the disputes in the world came from our having a very keen feeling of our own troubles, and a very dull feeling of our neighbour's"
(from Annals of a Quiet Neighbourhood)

"It is no fiction, but a real difference that lies between excusing ourselves and excusing other people. No doubt the same excuse is just for ourselves that is just for other people. But we can do something to put ourselves right upon a higher principle, and therefore we should not waste our time in excusing, or even in condemning ourselves, but make haste up the hill. Where we cannot work—that is, in the life of another—we have time to make all the excuse we can. Nay more; it is only justice there. We are not bound to insist on our own rights, even of excuse; the wisest thing often is to forego them. But we are bound by heaven, earth, and hell to give them to other people. And, besides, what a comfort to ourselves to be able to say, 'It is true So-and-so was cross to-day. But it wasn't in the least that he wasn't friendly, or didn't like me; it was only that he had eaten something that hadn't agreed with him. I could see it in his eye. He had one of his headaches.' Thus, you see, justice to our neighbour, and comfort to ourselves, is one and the same thing."
(from The Seaboard Parish)

"Though gentleness towards the faults of others is an indispensable fruit of life, it is perhaps well it should be a comparatively late one: there is danger of foreign excuse reacting on home conduct. Excuse ought to be rooted in profoundest obedience, and outgoing love. To say ANYTHING is too small to matter, is of the devil; to say anything is too great to forgive, is not of God. He who would soonest die to divide evil and his fellows, will be the readiest to make for them all HONEST excuse."
(from Warlock o' Glenwarlock)

"The only vengeance worth having on sin is to make the sinner himself its executioner."
(from Unspoken Sermons, Justice)