“For we shall verily see in heaven without end that we have grievously sinned in this life; and notwithstanding this we shall verily see that we were never hurt in his love, nor were we never the less of price in his sight. And by the assay of this falling we shall have an high and a marvelous knowing of love in God without an end. For hard and marvelous is that love which may not nor will not be broken for trespass.”
A Book of Showing, Julian of Norwich, Chapter 61
This is a marvelous security. When all is said and done and we see that “all our righteousness is as filthy rags,” it is a great comfort to know that for all our sin and worthlessness, we are still loved.
It’s hard to continue loving after a betrayal. When you look at a person and all you can see is what they have done to you, it is more than hard; it’s impossible to honestly love that person. All they are now is an open wound. It is also impossible to be the recipient of such love. It can break you, knowing that you have only given someone harm and all they have is love for you still.
That is what hard means: you can break against this love, for it is hard and strong as a diamond. It will shatter you to pieces, and it will not let go. For of what price is an open wound? How can you prize something worthless? How is it possible that we are not “less of price” to God? There must be a lessening; justice and fairness demand it. And yet the worthless is still loved; and for that reason there is a desire, a longing, to become something worthy of such love, no matter how impossible it is.
How can one possibly respond to such love? All we do is fall, down and down and down again. There is no response we can give that is worthy, no deed we can perform, in response to this love that came and died for his betrayers.