In an old issue of the newsletter Context, Martin Marty retells a parable from The Eye of the Needle newsletter:
A holy man was engaged in his morning meditation under a tree whose roots stretched out over the riverbank. During his meditation he noticed the river rising, and a scorpion caught in the roots was about to drown. He crawled out on the roots and reached down to free the scorpion, but every time he did so, the scorpion struck him.
An observer said to the holy man, “don’t you know that’s a scorpion, and it’s in the nature of a scorpion to want to sting?”
To which the holy man replied, “that may well be, but it is my nature to save, and must I change my nature because the scorpion does not change its nature?”
Sometimes in international tensions, in our own households, and everywhere in between it is easy to lose sight of who we are. In these moments there is a great and grave temptation to sink to the lowest common denominator of human behavior. As followers of the risen Christ we remember the words of Colossians 3:13, which reminds us: “Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
Only in true forgiveness can there ever be authentic peace.