Of Silence and Sunflowers: a a Response to Simon Wisenthal's Question in “the Sunflower”

Topics: Simon Wiesenthal, Forgiveness, Simon Wiesenthal Center Pages: 2 (703 words) Published: March 18, 2011
It is in the end of this life that one seeks mercy and absolution for the next. Faced with the choice to absolve,condemn or remain silent, what would you do? This is the question poised to the reader of Simon Wiesenthal's “The Sunflower”. Many answered his question, philosophers, nuns, survivors of genocide and an ex nazi and each provide a different answer. Joining each different response is the act of forgiving, either giving or denying each provide a scale on the limits of forgiveness. What are my limits of forgiveness what would I have done?

Fist of all what is forgiveness? Many of the contributors to Wiesenthal “The Sunflower” give their own definition, but most agree it is the act of relieving someone of their crimes against another, let it be yourself or another. Forgiveness is a lesson taught by many religions and philosophies as a charitable act that we should champion.It is through reading some of the contributors responses that brings forgiveness and what it means to forgive into a new light.

Robert McAfee Brown, a Professor Emeritus of Theology, helps explore what he feels is the limits of forgiveness and helped shape my own answer. He looks at how forgiveness “carries the possibility of condoning, rather then constricting the spread of evil“(Brown 121). Brown further explains can only act out accordingly to crimes against us. We should forgive for it also carries with it compassion and mercy, yet it is only God that can absolve one form crimes against humanity. I found his answer very compelling, mostly for the fact that he showed that forgiveness might help evil deeds to happen again and yet we should still forgive.

Further reading of Harry James Cargas continues that forgiveness can help lead evil along yet also examines the benefits of forgiveness and how the act of forgiving is often misunderstood even my the forgiver. Cargas's opening statement is what really compelled my answer; “I am afraid not to forgive because I fear not to be...
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