Guilt and Repentance

Uncle Reggie Stories: Pretty things can cause trouble: guilt and repentance, with or without the confessional room.

I was 7 or 8 years old when it happened. I saw a very pretty book that somehow attracted me tremendously. I’m sure it was the cover of the book that made me want it, badly. I told my mother about it, and she said no. I was very upset, but kept it really quiet. My parents gave me a very small allowance every week, and I managed to save and hide little amounts from the allowance. Then one day, I found out that I had saved enough money to buy the book myself. But, knowing fully that my mother did not approve, I secretly bought the book.

Photo 1: Children’s books are too pretty and tempting.

It was great fun reading the book without anybody knowing my secret. At least, that I knew of. Until, one day, my mother noticed the book, and challenged me. I tried to lie with some lame excuse, but I could feel my whole body change color, and I knew that the game was over. Guilt and shame overwhelmed me, and I can still remember the scene painfully. However, I was also relieved that I did not have to keep the awful secret any longer. Mom gave me a severe tongue-lashing about lying, I shed a lot of tears, but the resultant confession and repentance made me “scarred for life,” about the severe consequences of lying. Which was very good.

My parents did not physically lash out at me, for sins I had committed, but tongue-lashing was quite effective. Far more effective than nice encouraging words like, “you’re such a nice kid, you wouldn’t do it again, would you?” that some advocate today. I would have done it again, except for the stinging shameful experience of that day.

I was joking one day to my staff in the research laboratory, because they were working really hard. My senior assistant, Donna, was working especially hard, because she had a very keen sense of responsibility. I saw her working so intensely, that I specially complimented her. I joked with her that she was working like that because she felt guilty if she did not work so hard. She agreed with me, so, I made a perceptive comment to her, that “guilt is good!” To which, she agreed again (she’s a very agreeable person). If it were not for guilt, a lot of work would not be done well! Bosses in particular like that. Thank God for giving us a keen sense of guilt, I concluded.

Photo 2A: I didn’t realize you could write a book on “how to” for a confessional.

I lived for 47 years in the city of Cincinnati, which has a very strong Catholic tradition. We often say that Catholics have a very solid sense of guilt and shame, and a historic tradition especially of confession before their priest. Every 2 months we would bring a team of scholars from China to visit famous landmarks in Cincinnati. We would always visit at least one or 2 churches. Since Catholic churches seemed invariably the prettier churches, and there was always beautiful art work inside that I could use to explain faith issues, they were great places to visit. And I would always show the scholars the confessional room, since they might have seen it in movies in China. Repentance and penitence are great themes in the history of Christianity, and have strongly influenced the Western world for thousands of years, consciously or unconsciously, with or without the confessional room.

Photo 2B: Catholic confessional in Basilica cathedral, visited on regular China Scholars’ Cincinnati Cultural Tour. Photo by Amy Zhao, Cincinnati.

Today, we hear about the sequence of shame and guilt in a negative way, since some families seem to use it in a very harsh way to discipline, or even terrorize their children. I know of friends who felt that the sequence of shame and guilt, followed by harsh physical punishment, amounted to abuse, during a very vulnerable time of their lives. They often still bore their emotional scars even today. So, this issue of guilt can become distorted, and abuse indeed can have long term serious consequences.

I was once asked to be on a committee to investigate a charge of fraud for a very prestigious researcher in our institution. He was accused of publishing a paper that included nonexistent data. It wasn’t a lot of nonexistent data, but there was an unexplained gap in the data somehow. During the course of this investigation, the researcher was defensive, and tried to explain away the whole situation. However, it became clear that he could not explain away the gap. After one long difficult session, I sensed a change in the atmosphere. In my attempt to get at the truth, I asked him a very frank abrupt question, “Robert (not his real name), why did you do it?”

The reason I asked him this question was, subconsciously, I felt that his “game was up,” and we had all better get to a philosophical understanding of the situation, since in my view he had so “little to gain” from continuing to cover up this apparent fraud. He was already “king of the hill,” and this “little paper” was practically “inconsequential,” at least as just one more paper of 400 papers. And maybe deep down, I was hoping he would “confess,” so we could move on the next, hopefully “punishment,” and then “restorative,” steps. I had always been taught, in my own faith, that the final hoped for goal of any guilt investigation, was restoration, but it had to be preceded by confession and likely punishment to be truly just and effective, and I was certainly operating under that assumption.

For a brief moment, he was “caught”, and I could see that he was clearly ready now to answer truthfully….. he was about to say something…, but after a pause of a few awful seconds, he caught himself, and in a moment of pure pride and defensiveness, he shouted, “I never did anything wrong!” My attempt to get at the truth failed, the temperature froze in the room, and I could see that the game was indeed over.

The committee knew the truth, even though Robert couldn’t face it himself, and it was downhill thereafter. I am guessing, from the temperature of the room, that, before that outburst, the committee had been willing to hear his confession and any contrition, and even to think positively about some restoration after that. But, it was not to be. There was no confession, and no contrition. He was severely punished by the University, and the fall was precipitous, clearly from the highest heights of academia, to the lowest point possible. I could practically not believe the severity of the punishment, including removal of professorship and directorship, and barring from National Institutes of Health grants. Confession is good for the soul, but denial of the truth can bring harsh judgment.

One of the amazing things to me about the end of World War II was that the Germans were willing as a nation to confess and repent of their corporate horrendous atrocities. Even today, decades later, the Germans have generally gone to great lengths to show their genuine national repentance, and abhorrence of atrocities like the Jewish Holocaust. So that practically everyone in Europe knows that phase of history was tragic, but basically over. However, in Asia, one of the greatest scars that still remains is the ambiguous stance often shown by postwar Japanese leaders towards genuine confession and repentance. There is something practically “magical” about confession and repentance, without which scars often remain, and shadows are cast in strange and sometimes ominous ways over relationships.

There were 2 robbers crucified at the same time as Christ, on either side of him. You might remember the crucifixion scene is often shown as 3 crosses, and that is why. These 2 men were likely very evil robbers, since Roman crucifixion was reserved only for big time criminals. One of the robbers ridiculed Christ on the cross, even though Christ committed no crime, whereas he himself likely was deservedly there for terrible crimes. Even in his last moments, he had no intention of confessing and repenting, preferring to mock an innocent fellow being suffering together.

The other robber however tried to stop him ridiculing Christ, by reminding him of the reason why he was on the cross, while Christ was there unjustly. In fact, he then appealed to Christ, to remember him, the second robber, to which Christ made the very dramatic promise, that, “today you will be with me in Paradise.” This robber’s “deathbed confession” provides the precedent for which many people down the ages have been grateful, that they can have a last-minute chance before death, to confess and repent!

Photo 3: Two robbers on the cross, 2 choices. Some say something unfair happened that day: what was the real “unfairness”? That one could confess at the last moment, or one can reject God even then, or that God was crucified for us (sobering thought)?

Maybe you, and many others, think this robber got off easy, since he got to go to Paradise, and it’s “unfair.” But, remember, both robbers had the same chance. And other confessing people have a last chance also. The most “unfair thing” that happened that day, clearly wasn’t the grace given to one for his “last chance,” but that Christ, with no sin, had to die, “totally unfairly.” Christ however never declared it as “unfair.” Indeed, he claimed, remarkably, before this happened, 17 times in the records of the Disciples, that, He was going up to Jerusalem to die. And that the whole purpose of His coming to this world was to die for the “sins of the world.” Meaning, He clearly did it voluntarily, for you and for me, since everyone sins. I would think that is certainly amazingly “unfair,” but it happened, was recorded extensively, and is believed by 2 billion people. Why? Think about that for a minute. Why?

One of the greatest stories that Christ told was the well-known story of the prodigal son. Many cultures have a similar story, so it resonates well with many people down the ages. But the key point in the story was not just a wayward son and his return. When the young man had wasted his father’s money on evil purposes, he had the sense to confess and repent, and his return to a loving father is the basis, indeed the key point for Christ’s call to everyone to turn back to God. It is the eternal message of hope for everyone, that “home” is where we are supposed to be, returning back to a loving father who is constantly waiting for us to “return home.”

Photo 4: The prodigal son is a universal story, but the returning home part of the story is the best… a picture symbolizing repentance that leads to the great embrace by our loving father. The Prodigal Son (c. 1857), by Joseph Mozier (August 22, 1812 – October 3, 1870) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

We might not think we are a “prodigal son,” but according to Christ, we have all wandered far away from God, and need to “return home.” Confession and repentance trigger this return, and start us on that road to return home. At any time. Any time. Though, it would seem logical that the earlier, the better! No need to wait till the last moment, the last chance! Why wait?

Sources

https://leewoof.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/thieves_on_the_cross.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Academy_of_the_Fine_Arts

美丽事物造成的麻烦:罪恶感与悔改 (庄文菁翻译).

这件事发生在我七岁至八岁的时候。我被一本精美的图书深深吸引。正因那本书的封面,让我极度的想要拥有它。我跟母亲提起这本书,但被她回绝了。我因此很不开心,但我没有说出来。当时我的父母每周给我的零用钱很少,直到我存够了钱的那天,我终于有能力购买那本书。于是,明知没有母亲的同意,我偷偷买下那本书。


图一:童书太过精美,甚至引人犯罪?

读那本书带给我极大的乐趣,因为没有人知道我的秘密。至少只有我知道。一直到有一天,我的母亲发现那本书来询问我。我用一些差劲的借口试图带过,但是我能感受到我全身涨红,我知道,这下完了。我被罪恶感与羞愧包围,我依然记得那痛苦的感受。但同时我也松了口气,因为我终于不必隐藏这个可怕的秘密。妈妈对我说谎的行径严厉斥责一番,我泪流满面,由此产生的罪恶感使我留下永久的创伤,这说谎的后果,其实是对我有益的。

对我所犯的错,我的父母并没有因此痛打我一顿,但是那顿严厉斥责却是十分见效。这远比鼓励的话语,像是今天人们会说的:「你是个好孩子,下次不会再犯了吧?」还要有效。若不是那刺痛羞耻的经验,我是可能再犯的。

有天我和实验室的同事开玩笑,因为他们工作太认真了。我的资深助理丹娜,是最认真的一个,因为她责任感非常重。我见她工作如此认真,特别称赞她。我开玩笑说,她如此认真工作,是因为不这么做她会有罪恶感。她同意我的说法,对此我评论说,「罪恶感是有益的」,而她也同意了(她真是容易深表同意的人)。若没有下属的罪恶感,很多事情就没办法做好,这句话应该深得上司们的心(开玩笑)。因此,我的结论是,我感谢上帝给我们对于罪恶感的敏锐。

图二A:难以想像会有一本书教人如何忏悔。

我住在辛辛那提四十七年了,这个城市保有非常深厚的天主教传统。我们通常说,天主教徒对于罪以及羞耻心非常敏锐,其中一项传统就是对神父告解、忏悔。每隔两个月,我们会带一群来自中国的访问学者,参观辛辛那提的著名景点。其中一定会参观一到两间教会。天主教堂是个很好的参访点,因为天主教堂似乎比一般的教会更漂亮,里面还有华美的艺术品能让我讲述信仰的课题,是很好的参观景点。我一定会带访学门看「告解室」,因为他们在中国一定在电影里面看过。不管有没有设立告解室,悔改与忏悔是基督信仰历史上两个重要的主题,有意无意地对西方世界产生强烈的影响


图二B:天主教堂的忏悔室,摄于中国访学在辛辛那提的文化之旅。 Amy Zhao摄于辛辛那提。

在现代西方的社会,我们听到羞耻与罪的结果都是以负面方式表达,因为有些家庭用这观念来严厉管教、甚至是恐吓他们的孩子。我知道有些朋友觉得,在他们生命脆弱时,經歷严厉体罚所带来的羞耻与罪恶感,已成为精神暴力。他们至今仍带着那内心受创伤的疤痕。

我曾受我工作机构的委托,对一位有名望教授涉及造假做调查。他被指控以不曾存在的资料发表论文。其实并没有太多所谓不存在的资料,但是资料里面有解释不清的漏洞。调查的过程中,这位研究员极力辩驳,并试着解释事件的情况。然而,他无法解释资料里的漏洞却是不争的事实。经过一段漫长困难的对话,我感受到气氛的变化。为了要取得事实,我问了他一个坦率的问题:「罗伯(化名),你为什么要这样做?」

我问他这个问题的原因是,在我的潜意识里,「他已经玩完了」。而且我们彼此最好能够对这种情况有个理解,继续掩盖这种明显的欺诈行为,对他没有益处。他的学术成就已经是「山中之王」了,而这篇「小论文」实际上是「无关紧要的」,它只是400份论文的多一篇论文而已。也许在内心深处,我希望他认罪,这样我们才能进入下一步的惩处,才能挽回大局。在我的信仰中,我一直被教导,任何的犯罪调查的最终目的都是要恢复正义,但是这必须紧跟随着认罪与处罚来确保公正,但这都是我的假设而已。

在一刹那间,他露出了马脚,我可以看到他已经准备好据实以告,他正准备说些什么,但经过几秒可怕的的停顿之后,基于骄傲与防御,他喊道:「我从来没有做错任何事!」我本来试图了解,却没有得到真相,温度在房间里冻结,我明白,这一切都结束了。

委员会知道真相,尽管罗伯特自己无法面对,事情进展因此更加恶化。我猜测,从房间的温度来看,在事件急转直下之前,委员会一直愿意听取他的认罪和任何忏悔,甚至积极思考如何事后挽回。但事情并未如此发展。没有坦白,也没有悔改。他受到了大学的严厉惩罚,从学术界的最高点骤然跌至低谷。我几乎不能相信惩罚的严厉程度,包括取消教授职位和担任主任职务,以及中断国立卫生研究院的研究经费。忏悔对灵魂有好处,而否认真理会带来严厉的处置。

有件关于二战结束的事情,我始终不敢置信,那就是德国愿意承认和忏悔他们的过去集体可怕的暴行。即便在今天,几十年后,德国人仍然竭尽全力展示他们真正的民族忏悔,以及对犹太人大屠杀等暴行的憎恶。因此,几乎每个欧洲人都知道那段悲惨的历史,但基本上它已经结束了。然而,在亚洲,仍然存在的最大伤疤之一,是战后日本领导人对认罪和忏悔的模棱两可的立场。忏悔和悔改的神奇之处在于,没有它们就会留下疤痕,那阴影会以一种难以理解,有时是不祥的方式投射在双方关系。

有两个强盗与基督同时被钉在十字架上,他們各在基督的兩邊。 你可能记得基督被钉十字架的场景,经常列著三个十字架,这就是原因。 这两名男子可能是非常邪恶的劫匪,因为罗马釘十字架的刑罰仅限于重大犯罪。基督没有犯罪, 但其中一个劫匪,即便在受應有的懲罰時,他仍在十字架上仍嘲笑基督。到了這罪犯的最后的时刻,他也无意忏悔与悔改。宁愿嘲笑一个无辜的同伴在一起受苦。

然而另一个强盗试图阻止他嘲笑基督,還提醒他上十字架上的原因,以及基督所受的刑罰不公正的。 事实上,他接著向基督求助,要基督记得他。對於第二个强盗,基督作了非常戏剧性的承诺,「今日你要同我在樂園裡了」。这个强盗的「临终认罪」提供了先例 ,自当时迄今许多人都很感激,他们可以在死前有最后一刻机会,承认和忏悔!

图三:两个强盗在十字架上,两种选择。有人说那天发生了不公平的事情:但什么是真正的不公平?是那个人在最后一刻认罪、或是另一人即便在那样的时刻也能拒绝上帝、还是上帝为我们被钉在十字架上(发人深省)?

也许你和其他许多人都认,簡直太便宜這名强盗了,因为他因此能上天堂,这是「不公平的」。但是,请记住,两个劫匪都有相同的机会。 其他忏悔的人也有最后的机会。 那天发生的最「不公平的事」,顯然不是因为耶稣給人临终前的恩典,而是基督没有罪,卻必须死,這「完全不公平」。然而基督从来没有宣称這 「不公平」。的確,他在上十字架之前就已經声称,在门徒的记录中有17次,他要去耶路撒冷赴死。 而他来到这个世界的終極目的,就是为了「世界的罪孽而死」。意思是,他確實自願為你與我犧牲,因为人人都有罪。 我当然認為這樣是難以接受的「不公平」,但它确实发生了,被广泛记录,并被20亿人所相信。 为什么? 想一想。 为什么?

基督所讲的最伟大的故事之一就是这个浪子回头的着名故事。 许多文化都有类似的故事,所以它与許多人能產生共鸣。 但故事中的关键点不仅仅是一个任性的儿子和他的回归。 重要的是,当这个年轻人浪费了他父亲的钱在邪惡的事物上時,他有了懺悔和悔悟的感觉,並回归慈爱的父亲。的确,关键点是基督召唤每个人回归上帝。对于每个人来说,这是一个永恒的希望信息,「家」就是我们应该去的地方,回到一位慈爱的父亲那里,他一直在等我们「回家」。

图四:浪子回头是常听到的故事,但是回家的那段是故事最精彩的部分。照片显示忏后所迎接的是我们慈爱父亲的深切拥抱。浪子雕像(西元1857年),约瑟 摩西尔Joseph Mozier(8/22/1822-10/3/1870)作品,收藏于宾州费城的宾系法尼亚艺

我们可能不认为我们是「浪子」,但根据基督的说法,我们都远离上帝,需要「回家」。忏悔和悔改引发了这种回轉,并領我們走向回家的道路。 随时、任何时候都能回家。 虽然,更合乎邏輯是越早越好! 无需等到最后一刻,最后一次机会! 为什么要等?

Sourcing

https://leewoof.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/thieves_on_the_cross.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Academy_of_the_Fine_Arts

Uncle Reggie Stories: Pretty things can cause trouble: guilt and repentance, with or without the confessional room.
美丽事物造成的麻烦:罪恶感与悔改 (庄文菁翻译).

I was 7 or 8 years old when it happened. I saw a very pretty book that somehow attracted me tremendously. I’m sure it was the cover of the book that made me want it, badly. I told my mother about it, and she said no. I was very upset, but kept it really quiet. My parents gave me a very small allowance every week, and I managed to save and hide little amounts from the allowance. Then one day, I found out that I had saved enough money to buy the book myself. But, knowing fully that my mother did not approve, I secretly bought the book.
这件事发生在我七岁至八岁的时候。我被一本精美的图书深深吸引。正因那本书的封面,让我极度的想要拥有它。我跟母亲提起这本书,但被她回绝了。我因此很不开心,但我没有说出来。当时我的父母每周给我的零用钱很少,直到我存够了钱的那天,我终于有能力购买那本书。于是,明知没有母亲的同意,我偷偷买下那本书。

Photo 1: Children’s books are too pretty and tempting
图一:童书太过精美,甚至引人犯罪?

It was great fun reading the book without anybody knowing my secret. At least, that I knew of. Until, one day, my mother noticed the book, and challenged me. I tried to lie with some lame excuse, but I could feel my whole body change color, and I knew that the game was over. Guilt and shame overwhelmed me, and I can still remember the scene painfully. However, I was also relieved that I did not have to keep the awful secret any longer. Mom gave me a severe tongue-lashing about lying, I shed a lot of tears, but the resultant confession and repentance made me “scarred for life,” about the severe consequences of lying. Which was very good.
读那本书带给我极大的乐趣,因为没有人知道我的秘密。至少只有我知道。一直到有一天,我的母亲发现那本书来询问我。我用一些差劲的借口试图带过,但是我能感受到我全身涨红,我知道,这下完了。我被罪恶感与羞愧包围,我依然记得那痛苦的感受。但同时我也松了口气,因为我终于不必隐藏这个可怕的秘密。妈妈对我说谎的行径严厉斥责一番,我泪流满面,由此产生的罪恶感使我留下永久的创伤,这说谎的后果,其实是对我有益的。

My parents did not physically lash out at me, for sins I had committed, but tongue-lashing was quite effective. Far more effective than nice encouraging words like, “you’re such a nice kid, you wouldn’t do it again, would you?” that some advocate today. I would have done it again, except for the stinging shameful experience of that day.
对我所犯的错,我的父母并没有因此痛打我一顿,但是那顿严厉斥责却是十分见效。这远比鼓励的话语,像是今天人们会说的:「你是个好孩子,下次不会再犯了吧?」还要有效。若不是那刺痛羞耻的经验,我是可能再犯的。

I was joking one day to my staff in the research laboratory, because they were working really hard. My senior assistant, Donna, was working especially hard, because she had a very keen sense of responsibility. I saw her working so intensely, that I specially complimented her. I joked with her that she was working like that because she felt guilty if she did not work so hard. She agreed with me, so, I made a perceptive comment to her, that “guilt is good!” To which, she agreed again (she’s a very agreeable person). If it were not for guilt, a lot of work would not be done well! Bosses in particular like that. Thank God for giving us a keen sense of guilt, I concluded.
有天我和实验室的同事开玩笑,因为他们工作太认真了。我的资深助理丹娜,是最认真的一个,因为她责任感非常重。我见她工作如此认真,特别称赞她。我开玩笑说,她如此认真工作,是因为不这么做她会有罪恶感。她同意我的说法,对此我评论说,「罪恶感是有益的」,而她也同意了(她真是容易深表同意的人)。若没有下属的罪恶感,很多事情就没办法做好,这句话应该深得上司们的心(开玩笑)。因此,我的结论是,我感谢上帝给我们对于罪恶感的敏锐。

Photo 2A. I didn’t realize you could write a book on “how to” for a confessional.
图二A:难以想像会有一本书教人如何忏悔。

I lived for 47 years in the city of Cincinnati, which has a very strong Catholic tradition. We often say that Catholics have a very solid sense of guilt and shame, and a historic tradition especially of confession before their priest. Every 2 months we would bring a team of scholars from China to visit famous landmarks in Cincinnati. We would always visit at least one or 2 churches. Since Catholic churches seemed invariably the prettier churches, and there was always beautiful art work inside that I could use to explain faith issues, they were great places to visit. And I would always show the scholars the confessional room, since they might have seen it in movies in China. Repentance and penitence are great themes in the history of Christianity, and have strongly influenced the Western world for thousands of years, consciously or unconsciously, with or without the confessional room.
我住在辛辛那提四十七年了,这个城市保有非常深厚的天主教传统。我们通常说,天主教徒对于罪以及羞耻心非常敏锐,其中一项传统就是对神父告解、忏悔。每隔两个月,我们会带一群来自中国的访问学者,参观辛辛那提的著名景点。其中一定会参观一到两间教会。天主教堂是个很好的参访点,因为天主教堂似乎比一般的教会更漂亮,里面还有华美的艺术品能让我讲述信仰的课题,是很好的参观景点。我一定会带访学门看「告解室」,因为他们在中国一定在电影里面看过。不管有没有设立告解室,悔改与忏悔是基督信仰历史上两个重要的主题,有意无意地对西方世界产生强烈的影响

Photo 2B. Catholic confessional in Basilica cathedral, visited on regular China Scholars’ Cincinnati Cultural Tour. Photo by Amy Zhao, Cincinnati.
图二B:天主教堂的忏悔室,摄于中国访学在辛辛那提的文化之旅。 Amy Zhao摄于辛辛那提。

Today, we hear about the sequence of shame and guilt in a negative way, since some families seem to use it in a very harsh way to discipline, or even terrorize their children. I know of friends who felt that the sequence of shame and guilt, followed by harsh physical punishment, amounted to abuse, during a very vulnerable time of their lives. They often still bore their emotional scars even today. So, this issue of guilt can become distorted, and abuse indeed can have long term serious consequences.
在现代西方的社会,我们听到羞耻与罪的结果都是以负面方式表达,因为有些家庭用这观念来严厉管教、甚至是恐吓他们的孩子。我知道有些朋友觉得,在他们生命脆弱时,經歷严厉体罚所带来的羞耻与罪恶感,已成为精神暴力。他们至今仍带着那内心受创伤的疤痕。

I was once asked to be on a committee to investigate a charge of fraud for a very prestigious researcher in our institution. He was accused of publishing a paper that included nonexistent data. It wasn’t a lot of nonexistent data, but there was an unexplained gap in the data somehow. During the course of this investigation, the researcher was defensive, and tried to explain away the whole situation. However, it became clear that he could not explain away the gap. After one long difficult session, I sensed a change in the atmosphere. In my attempt to get at the truth, I asked him a very frank abrupt question, “Robert (not his real name), why did you do it?”
我曾受我工作机构的委托,对一位有名望教授涉及造假做调查。他被指控以不曾存在的资料发表论文。其实并没有太多所谓不存在的资料,但是资料里面有解释不清的漏洞。调查的过程中,这位研究员极力辩驳,并试着解释事件的情况。然而,他无法解释资料里的漏洞却是不争的事实。经过一段漫长困难的对话,我感受到气氛的变化。为了要取得事实,我问了他一个坦率的问题:「罗伯(化名),你为什么要这样做?」

The reason I asked him this question was, subconsciously, I felt that his “game was up,” and we had all better get to a philosophical understanding of the situation, since in my view he had so “little to gain” from continuing to cover up this apparent fraud. He was already “king of the hill,” and this “little paper” was practically “inconsequential,” at least as just one more paper of 400 papers. And maybe deep down, I was hoping he would “confess,” so we could move on the next, hopefully “punishment,” and then “restorative,” steps. I had always been taught, in my own faith, that the final hoped for goal of any guilt investigation, was restoration, but it had to be preceded by confession and likely punishment to be truly just and effective, and I was certainly operating under that assumption.
我问他这个问题的原因是,在我的潜意识里,「他已经玩完了」。而且我们彼此最好能够对这种情况有个理解,继续掩盖这种明显的欺诈行为,对他没有益处。他的学术成就已经是「山中之王」了,而这篇「小论文」实际上是「无关紧要的」,它只是400份论文的多一篇论文而已。也许在内心深处,我希望他认罪,这样我们才能进入下一步的惩处,才能挽回大局。在我的信仰中,我一直被教导,任何的犯罪调查的最终目的都是要恢复正义,但是这必须紧跟随着认罪与处罚来确保公正,但这都是我的假设而已。

For a brief moment, he was “caught”, and I could see that he was clearly ready now to answer truthfully….. he was about to say something…, but after a pause of a few awful seconds, he caught himself, and in a moment of pure pride and defensiveness, he shouted, “I never did anything wrong!” My attempt to get at the truth failed, the temperature froze in the room, and I could see that the game was indeed over.
在一刹那间,他露出了马脚,我可以看到他已经准备好据实以告,他正准备说些什么,但经过几秒可怕的的停顿之后,基于骄傲与防御,他喊道:「我从来没有做错任何事!」我本来试图了解,却没有得到真相,温度在房间里冻结,我明白,这一切都结束了。

The committee knew the truth, even though Robert couldn’t face it himself, and it was downhill thereafter. I am guessing, from the temperature of the room, that, before that outburst, the committee had been willing to hear his confession and any contrition, and even to think positively about some restoration after that. But, it was not to be. There was no confession, and no contrition. He was severely punished by the University, and the fall was precipitous, clearly from the highest heights of academia, to the lowest point possible. I could practically not believe the severity of the punishment, including removal of professorship and directorship, and barring from National Institutes of Health grants. Confession is good for the soul, but denial of the truth can bring harsh judgment.
委员会知道真相,尽管罗伯特自己无法面对,事情进展因此更加恶化。我猜测,从房间的温度来看,在事件急转直下之前,委员会一直愿意听取他的认罪和任何忏悔,甚至积极思考如何事后挽回。但事情并未如此发展。没有坦白,也没有悔改。他受到了大学的严厉惩罚,从学术界的最高点骤然跌至低谷。我几乎不能相信惩罚的严厉程度,包括取消教授职位和担任主任职务,以及中断国立卫生研究院的研究经费。忏悔对灵魂有好处,而否认真理会带来严厉的处置。

One of the amazing things to me about the end of World War II was that the Germans were willing as a nation to confess and repent of their corporate horrendous atrocities. Even today, decades later, the Germans have generally gone to great lengths to show their genuine national repentance, and abhorrence of atrocities like the Jewish Holocaust. So that practically everyone in Europe knows that phase of history was tragic, but basically over. However, in Asia, one of the greatest scars that still remains is the ambiguous stance often shown by postwar Japanese leaders towards genuine confession and repentance. There is something practically “magical” about confession and repentance, without which scars often remain, and shadows are cast in strange and sometimes ominous ways over relationships.
有件关于二战结束的事情,我始终不敢置信,那就是德国愿意承认和忏悔他们的过去集体可怕的暴行。即便在今天,几十年后,德国人仍然竭尽全力展示他们真正的民族忏悔,以及对犹太人大屠杀等暴行的憎恶。因此,几乎每个欧洲人都知道那段悲惨的历史,但基本上它已经结束了。然而,在亚洲,仍然存在的最大伤疤之一,是战后日本领导人对认罪和忏悔的模棱两可的立场。忏悔和悔改的神奇之处在于,没有它们就会留下疤痕,那阴影会以一种难以理解,有时是不祥的方式投射在双方关系。

There were 2 robbers crucified at the same time as Christ, on either side of him. You might remember the crucifixion scene is often shown as 3 crosses, and that is why. These 2 men were likely very evil robbers, since Roman crucifixion was reserved only for big time criminals. One of the robbers ridiculed Christ on the cross, even though Christ committed no crime, whereas he himself likely was deservedly there for terrible crimes. Even in his last moments, he had no intention of confessing and repenting, preferring to mock an innocent fellow being suffering together.
有两个强盗与基督同时被钉在十字架上,他們各在基督的兩邊。 你可能记得基督被钉十字架的场景,经常列著三个十字架,这就是原因。 这两名男子可能是非常邪恶的劫匪,因为罗马釘十字架的刑罰仅限于重大犯罪。基督没有犯罪, 但其中一个劫匪,即便在受應有的懲罰時,他仍在十字架上仍嘲笑基督。到了這罪犯的最后的时刻,他也无意忏悔与悔改。宁愿嘲笑一个无辜的同伴在一起受苦。

The other robber however tried to stop him ridiculing Christ, by reminding him of the reason why he was on the cross, while Christ was there unjustly. In fact, he then appealed to Christ, to remember him, the second robber, to which Christ made the very dramatic promise, that, “today you will be with me in Paradise.” This robber’s “deathbed confession” provides the precedent for which many people down the ages have been grateful, that they can have a last-minute chance before death, to confess and repent!
然而另一个强盗试图阻止他嘲笑基督,還提醒他上十字架上的原因,以及基督所受的刑罰不公正的。 事实上,他接著向基督求助,要基督记得他。對於第二个强盗,基督作了非常戏剧性的承诺,「今日你要同我在樂園裡了」。这个强盗的「临终认罪」提供了先例 ,自当时迄今许多人都很感激,他们可以在死前有最后一刻机会,承认和忏悔!

Photo 3: Two robbers on the cross, 2 choices. Some say something unfair happened that day: what was the real “unfairness”? That one could confess at the last moment, or one can reject God even then, or that God was crucified for us (sobering thought)?
图三:两个强盗在十字架上,两种选择。有人说那天发生了不公平的事情:但什么是真正的不公平?是那个人在最后一刻认罪、或是另一人即便在那样的时刻也能拒绝上帝、还是上帝为我们被钉在十字架上(发人深省)?

Maybe you, and many others, think this robber got off easy, since he got to go to Paradise, and it’s “unfair.” But, remember, both robbers had the same chance. And other confessing people have a last chance also. The most “unfair thing” that happened that day, clearly wasn’t the grace given to one for his “last chance,” but that Christ, with no sin, had to die, “totally unfairly.” Christ however never declared it as “unfair.” Indeed, he claimed, remarkably, before this happened, 17 times in the records of the Disciples, that, He was going up to Jerusalem to die. And that the whole purpose of His coming to this world was to die for the “sins of the world.” Meaning, He clearly did it voluntarily, for you and for me, since everyone sins. I would think that is certainly amazingly “unfair,” but it happened, was recorded extensively, and is believed by 2 billion people. Why? Think about that for a minute. Why?
也许你和其他许多人都认,簡直太便宜這名强盗了,因为他因此能上天堂,这是「不公平的」。但是,请记住,两个劫匪都有相同的机会。 其他忏悔的人也有最后的机会。 那天发生的最「不公平的事」,顯然不是因为耶稣給人临终前的恩典,而是基督没有罪,卻必须死,這「完全不公平」。然而基督从来没有宣称這 「不公平」。的確,他在上十字架之前就已經声称,在门徒的记录中有17次,他要去耶路撒冷赴死。 而他来到这个世界的終極目的,就是为了「世界的罪孽而死」。意思是,他確實自願為你與我犧牲,因为人人都有罪。 我当然認為這樣是難以接受的「不公平」,但它确实发生了,被广泛记录,并被20亿人所相信。 为什么? 想一想。 为什么?

One of the greatest stories that Christ told was the well-known story of the prodigal son. Many cultures have a similar story, so it resonates well with many people down the ages. But the key point in the story was not just a wayward son and his return. When the young man had wasted his father’s money on evil purposes, he had the sense to confess and repent, and his return to a loving father is the basis, indeed the key point for Christ’s call to everyone to turn back to God. It is the eternal message of hope for everyone, that “home” is where we are supposed to be, returning back to a loving father who is constantly waiting for us to “return home.”
基督所讲的最伟大的故事之一就是这个浪子回头的着名故事。 许多文化都有类似的故事,所以它与許多人能產生共鸣。 但故事中的关键点不仅仅是一个任性的儿子和他的回归。 重要的是,当这个年轻人浪费了他父亲的钱在邪惡的事物上時,他有了懺悔和悔悟的感觉,並回归慈爱的父亲。的确,关键点是基督召唤每个人回归上帝。对于每个人来说,这是一个永恒的希望信息,「家」就是我们应该去的地方,回到一位慈爱的父亲那里,他一直在等我们「回家」。

Photo 4: The prodigal son is a universal story, but the returning home part of the story is the best….. a picture symbolizing repentance that leads to the great embrace by our loving father. The Prodigal Son (c. 1857), by Joseph Mozier (August 22, 1812 – October 3, 1870) Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
图四:浪子回头是常听到的故事,但是回家的那段是故事最精彩的部分。照片显示忏后所迎接的是我们慈爱父亲的深切拥抱。浪子雕像(西元1857年),约瑟 摩西尔Joseph Mozier(8/22/1822-10/3/1870)作品,收藏于宾州费城的宾系法尼亚艺

We might not think we are a “prodigal son,” but according to Christ, we have all wandered far away from God, and need to “return home.” Confession and repentance trigger this return, and start us on that road to return home. At any time. Any time. Though, it would seem logical that the earlier, the better! No need to wait till the last moment, the last chance! Why wait?
我们可能不认为我们是「浪子」,但根据基督的说法,我们都远离上帝,需要「回家」。忏悔和悔改引发了这种回轉,并領我們走向回家的道路。 随时、任何时候都能回家。 虽然,更合乎邏輯是越早越好! 无需等到最后一刻,最后一次机会! 为什么要等?

Sources

https://leewoof.files.wordpress.com/2016/01/thieves_on_the_cross.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pennsylvania_Academy_of_the_Fine_Arts

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