Forgive them, Father! They don’t know what they are doing.

Synopsis (from Amazon): “Welcome to dinner, and again, congratulations on being selected. Now you must do the selecting.”

What do the queen bee, star athlete, valedictorian, stoner, loner, and music geek all have in common? They were all invited to a scholarship dinner, only to discover it’s a trap. Someone has locked them into a room with a bomb, a syringe filled with poison, and a note saying they have an hour to pick someone to kill…or else everyone dies. Amber Prescott is determined to get her classmates and herself out of the room alive, but that might be easier said than done. No one knows how they’re all connected or who would want them dead. As they retrace the events over the past year that might have triggered their captor’s ultimatum, it becomes clear that everyone is hiding something. And with the clock ticking down, confusion turns into fear, and fear morphs into panic as they race to answer the biggest question: Who will they choose to die?

This post will contain spoilers!

Discussion: While the plot kept me intrigued to finish the book, neither my daughter nor I liked it in the end and would not recommend it. The only thing enjoyable was the intrigue, as the characters were also highly unlikable.

Conclusion: one of the main characters orchestrated the entire thing as revenge. In the past, they bullied her little sister to the point her sister committed suicide.

I have blogged often on forgiveness and reconciliation as anger, revenge, guilt, or shame tend to make an excellent plot for books. If interested:

Whose sins you forgive, are forgiven them.
As we forgive those . . .
The ministry of reconciliation

For me, this book wasn’t necessarily about the need for forgiveness, but more about the lack of the Beatitude:

I would focus more on mercy than forgiveness because forgiveness seems to be more about letting go of anger one has towards another. The main character didn’t seem to be angry with them as they were friends after her sister’s suicide and remained friends after the ordeal in this book. The main character needed more mercy which entails more compassion or forbearance towards those who sin against us.

It is essential to have mercy towards others because, as sinners, we will never know the actual effects (both short and long) of our sins. We will always fail to comprehend the evil we are doing when we sin.

She needed mercy towards her friends because they didn’t understand the effects of their actions. They bullied her sister. I think they wanted to hurt her sister, but there is no indication their goal was for the sister to commit suicide. They lacked an understanding of what their sins were doing to someone.

I think the main character’s desire was revenge for her sister, but in her revenge, she became what she hated. Hatred always makes us resemble the hated person. In her plot for revenge, she failed to comprehend the effects of her actions. Her plan ultimately resulted in the death of another teen. She was begging them for mercy and forgiveness once she saw the consequences of her actions.

Rarely in this life do we see the rippling effects of our evil sins. However, we will see during the Final Judgement. If you don’t know this Catholic teaching, you can read about it at Catholic Answers: Why are there two judgments.

I recently had a conversation with a friend about our Final Judgement and how we will understand all the effects of our sins. She tended to despair more about this than me. Knowing how she has genuinely hurt someone and the possible long-term consequences of her actions almost made her fear death.

For me, I focus more on God’s goodness. While I will see all the effects of my sin, I will also see how God brought good out of my sin. I am excited to see in what ways God has allowed evil for some greater good. Similar to the Easter Proclamation:

O truly necessary sin of Adam, destroyed completely by the Death of Christ!
O happy fault that earned so great, so glorious a Redeemer!

The Exsultet

St. Augustine explains why God allows evil, “For almighty God . . ., because he is supremely good, would never allow any evil whatsoever to exist in his works if he were not so all-powerful and good as to cause good to emerge from evil itself.”

If anyone struggles with this concept, I encourage them to study Salvation History from the bible. It pretty much is the entire point – our need for Jesus then and our need for Jesus now.

Whenever I have knowingly sinned or hurt someone, I try to offer a prayer up to God. I say, “I know I have sinned and hurt others, but I ask you for some good to come from it. I don’t know how it will work towards your plan, but please do what you do best and allow some good to come from my failure. Please give me the grace to sin no more.”

May we all have more mercy and understanding toward others, as none of us can ever comprehend the harmful effects of our actions. Most people genuinely do not know what they are doing.

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