Mary: Why are all of these people saying these nice things about my father? Surely, they are not talking about the same Robert Smith from Kansas City. That Robert Smith was not a nice guy. He was a mean womanizing unemployed drunk who abandoned our family for the allure of the so called "good life". For years, we did not hear from him. He did not even have the decency to call us on our birthdays or Christmas. Now all of these people are celebrating him as a great father, husband and pillar of the community.
Uncle Marcus: You are right Mary; they do not know the Robert you knew back in Kansas City. They simply know the man he had become after he gave his life to Christ.
Mary: Well, that is not right! Someone needs to tell them about the mountains of heart ache and pain he caused us.
Uncle Marcus: Mary, I understand your pain. We were all hurt by Robert's actions. But I have chosen to Leave the Past in the Past and get acquainted with the new Robert. I encourage you to do the same. Place those past memories and the associated pain that comes with them in the grave with him and move on with your life.
Just like Mary, there are many of us who need to bury some childhood memories. For various reasons that we do not understand, we were hurt by a parent. As a result, we are living with infected emotional and mental wounds. We are unable to fully enjoy our adult lives because everything we do is dictated by the past pain. Our parenting is dictated by the past pain. Our reluctance to love and be loved is dictated by the past pain. Our reluctance to trust and be trusted is dictated by the past pain. Our entire life has been hijacked by the past pain.
Every time we take one step forward, the pain reaches out and yanks us two steps backwards. We want to move forward but we are afraid. We are unwilling to open our hearts to the risk of further pain. We would rather experience mundane love than be hurt again.
If this sounds like you, we encourage you to follow the advice of Uncle Marcus and forgive the person. We know that forgiveness is not easy. However, we encourage you to forgive others with the understanding that people make mistakes and those mistakes can have an adverse affect on us. While, we cannot control the actions of others; we can control our reaction to their actions. We determine if we will waddle in a sea of bitterness and despair. We determine if we will harden our hearts. We determine if our response will be laced with venomous anger or grace filled love
You see forgiveness is not merely for the offender, it is for the offended as well. It allows the offended person to release their cancerous emotions and move on. As with Robert, the person who committed the offense has moved on with their lives. Thus, so should the person who has been offended.
Does that mean that we will never remember the offence again? No, there are situations in our lives that will revive the memory. However the memory does not have to dominate our lives. We do not have to live according to the dictates of the memory. We are in charge of our lives not some action that took place years ago. We Shall Not Be A Victim Of The Past.