In last week’s blog I talked about the difference between forgiveness and reconciliation. This week I begin the journey of focusing on healing a wound that holds your heart tethered to pain.
For the purposes of this article, I am not talking about the unimaginable wounds that stem from rape, murders or living in a concentration camp. While some of the tenets of forgiveness may be applicable, those wounds are beyond the scope of this article.
I am referring here to the everyday wounds that contribute to feelings of un-ease, the varying degrees of brokenness mentally, spiritually and physically which result because of festering resentments. If we focus our attention on the darkness of unhealed wounds, our attention has a way of creating our next life experience. We bring these old wounds into our next encounter and/or relationships. Wounds can seem like small tears or even gaping holes in the fabric of our being. Most of us want to find a way to repair these wounds—and forgiveness can be part of that process.
A wound is a real or perceived laceration of the skin, mind, or heart. Like a wound of the skin, the faster one attends to it, the less chance of it becoming infected. Attending to wounds of the mind or heart can prevent them from piercing the soul or resulting in permanent damage. If you feel a wound has already occurred, I assure you, that a softening it can take place even if the scar will never totally be erased. Permanent scars linger in some cases. Some of my scars serve to remind me of how far I have come in my healing process. They have become like beautiful tattoos, telling their stories.
How can forgiveness be a healing ointment for one’s physical well being? Unforgiven wounds are toxic to our bodies. I have often witnessed heart wounds manifesting as headaches, backaches, stomachaches, depression and/or anxiety.
When you remember an old wound, where in your body do you most feel the discomfort with that memory? I tend to know immediately if I need to seek or extend forgiveness by the way my stomach feels.
How can forgiveness be a healing ointment for one’s mental well being? Unhealed wounds imprison our thoughts behind bars of anger, resentment and fear. When we look backward all the time, we stay trapped in the past. When we choose to forgive, our wounds are cleansed which frees our thoughts toward a more positive future outlook.
How can forgiveness be a healing ointment for one’s spiritual well being? Whether you are of a Christian persuasion or lean more toward the Eastern teachings of reincarnation, the following biblical passage is compelling as it applies to forgiveness.
“Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt. 16:19 RVS)
I understand this passage to mean that I will take my deepest held beliefs and/or emotional state with me when I die. Sheese! I don’t know about you but I want to die free of the chains that have negatively bonded me here. During my time on earth, it has been hard enough dealing with feelings of anger, resentments, and untold fears toward others. Thinking about dragging these feelings along behind me for all of eternity is the driving force behind my desire to learn more about forgiveness.
You might be thinking–what about the parent who goes to court and weasels visitation rights away from the other parent through lies for the sole purpose of revenge? Or what about the adult child, out of sheer greed, that slyly has their feeble parent sign over property rights disinheriting a sibling? There are the unthinkable abuses perpetrated on children by their own parents. The long term effects of such acts are devastating. We want to forgive, but how? We ask ourselves–how do I stop being a house divided against itself?
I will be exploring these questions in future posts—and there are no easy, one size fits all answers. But we can look at how some people have accomplished forgiveness under very difficult circumstances.
Forgiveness as ointment for a lacerated soul is what this blog series is about– exploring a holistic understanding of forgiveness for the sake of our own mental, physical and spiritual healing. I hope it helps you sort out this complex process so you can progress into more freedom and happiness.
There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky: there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul. Victor Hugo
When you remember an old wound, where in your body do you most feel the discomfort with that memory?
Can you think of someone that you would like to forgive but the process seems too challenging?
Gateway to the Indian Ocean