The gospel, as perhaps unintentionally portrayed in Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections.
(Back story: Chip owes his sister, Denise, $25,000, which he has borrowed over the course of a few years.)
His sister turned and raised her face to him. Her eyes were bloodshot, her forehead as red as a newborn’s. “I said I forgive the debt. You owe me nothing.”
“Appreciate it,” he said quickly, looking away. “But I’m going to pay you anyway.”
“No,” she said. “I’m not going to take your money. I forgive the debt. Do you know what ‘forgive’ means?”
In her peculiar mood, with her unexpected words, she was making Chip anxious. He pulled on the rivet and said, “Denise, come on. Please. At least show me the respect of letting me pay you back. I realize I’ve been a shit. But I don’t want to be a shit all my life.”
“I want to forgive that debt,” she said.
“Really. Come on.” Chip smiled desperately. “You’ve got to let me pay you.”
“Can you stand to be forgiven?”
“No,” he said. “Basically, no. I can’t.”
One thought on “Can you stand to be forgiven?”
[…] of the most moving exchanges for me was a passage I have already written about here. Franzen most likely did not intend for this to be read religiously at all, but I read the exchange […]