Your Lie in April, Episode 9: Healing for the Sick

As much as I feel that Your Lie in April (Shigatsu wa Kimi no Osu) is a joy to watch, there are portions of each episode that make me cringe, in a way that the show means us to.  In episode nine, there were a lot of these moments as Arima took the stage and saw all the demons of his past, and in particular a moment from his childhood in which his mom abused him horribly, to the point of bloodshed.

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The episode start innocuously enough, though.  We see the remainder of Emi’s wonderful performance, before Arima makes his way to the stage.  And as he approaches the piano, and even into his performance, flashbacks from Arima’s youth flood his mind and eventually overwhelm him.  In particular, we see that despite Arima’s loving attempts to help heal his mom through music, she responds by beating him severely with her cane in front of a host of people in the lobby of a concert hall.  He stands up to his mother after this, and soon afterwards, she passes away, which is perhaps a large part of the reason Arima carries such guilt and pain with him.

Although there was much think about in this episode, my mind kept drifting back to the mother.  Because Arima is a good kid and because there are such light touches to the series, I think I keep expecting to see redeeming qualities in her, but as each episode passes, further and further does she move toward the Gendo Ikari “parent of the year” path.

Until this episode, I felt a lot of empathy toward her character.  Although she pushes Arima very hard, you see that perhaps she was once kind, but had become blinded and twisted by the bitterness laid upon her through a disability.  Her heart must have once been in the right place, right?

But after this episode, in which we now see the daily physical reminders of her abuse (bruises) as well as the violent, bloody beating she lays upon Arima, it’s hard to feel any type of compassion toward her any more.

And this episode also made me think that, even worse, there are people just like Arima’s mom.  There are people who are even worse.

So what are we to think about such people?  The obvious answer is to treat them with disdain.  Once a child is injured, there’s a switch that seems to flip on – kindness and rehabilitation take a backseat to the alternative of detention and punishment.  These kinds of people surely cannot be forgiven.

And yet, the gospel message teaches us otherwise.  I think we often think of God forgiving us personally, and, in practical terms, we don’t always consider ourselves so bad.  In fact, we’re downright good compared to Arima’s mom, and beautiful compared to pedophiles and murderers.  But it’s not the “good” that Christ came for – He came for all of us, even people like Arima’s mom.

He would offer forgiveness to her, too.  But would we?

And the answer to that – whether we could forgive a woman who brutally abuses a young boy for years – reveals a whole lot about God’s heart, and just as much about our own.


Husband. Dad. Occasionally Korean. Enjoys Star Wars, ASOIAF, and Meg Ryan movies. Tweets before proofreading. Ghibli. Oregairuuuuu. Jesus is King.

7 thoughts on “Your Lie in April, Episode 9: Healing for the Sick

  1. “And yet, the gospel message teaches us otherwise. I think we often think of God forgiving us personally, and, in practical terms, we don’t always consider ourselves so bad. In fact, we’re downright good compared to Arima’s mom, and beautiful compared to pedophiles and murderers. But it’s not the “good” that Christ came for – He came for all of us, even people like Arima’s mom.

    He would offer forgiveness to her, too. But would we?”

    My answer to this question has been, as long as I can remember, yes. But I’m not sure if being able to forgive a person like that actually makes you Christ-like. Because….If you only think of a person in terms of how they act around you, and not how they act around other people…Sometimes there’s nothing to forgive them for. To feel forgiveness toward someone who’s done something horrific to someone else, you have to possess a morality that condemns them in the first place. It’s assumed that everyone has this in a society built on religious values, but that’s not always the case. What happens when a really terrible human being happens to really like you? Moral complication, that’s what.

    I think a much harder thing to do, and something that requires real sacrifice….would be to forgive someone who actually did something horrible to you. 🙁

  2. You bring up a really important point (don’t you always?), and something that I probably should have addressed in my article, which is forgiveness when a wrong is done to you. I read a chapter in a book a while back that discussed a situation where Person A strikes Person B, and Person C comes in and says, “I forgive you, Person B.” It wouldn’t make sense, except in perhaps the larger societal context, which is the angle I took in this article – how we condemn or forgive people based on their actions toward others.

    On a person level, yep, it can definitely be hard. And directly parallel to this episode, particularly tough when it’s your own flesh and blood. How many of us have trouble forgiving our parents, for things that range from relatively minor to cases of abuse and neglect. It’s so difficult to forgive – it runs contrary to our natures. But when it happens, forgiveness almost always helps the person showing mercy and oftentimes, can change the other person’s life as well.

  3. I barely need to comment here except to add that we are only called to forgive those who offend us (including ourselves in no small measure). Everyone else we are called to /love/ – and possibly, forgiveness would be easier to find. (Mt.22:35 – 40)

  4. Except….Love never judges anyone harshly enough to even successfully get offended. Forgiveness cannot work with an emotion as crazy as love, which worries about the psychological health of your best friend the murderer while he’s dragging in a dead body. Love drives a guy who did nothing to suffer and die to save people who hated His guts and cursed His name. Love is pretty close to being a form of psychosis. Love is the Doctor going, “You betrayed me and everything I ever stood for, but do you really think that means I wouldn’t help you?”

    I have never once seen how love and forgiveness could even coexist. One necessarily precludes the other. Except when the latter happens because of the former, where once love temporarily ceased to exist because of Wrath and morality.

    I wonder if loving everyone is what He really meant by saying, “Judge not.”

  5. I say we should do are best to forgive others no matter the situation. It may be though, but that’s where God, prayer, and the Holy Spirit come in to change our old ways. 🙂

    ” “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” ” – Jesus in John 13:34-35 (NIV)

    1. Absolutely. Forgiveness is so unnatural that it takes an act of God, or God Himself in us, often to push us toward forgiving others.

      Thanks for the comment!

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