Friday, 9 August 2019

Voluntary victim?

One of our choices in life is between letting the past haunt us, or letting go into future freedom. Easier said than done, but Jesus Christ taught about forgiveness as liberation. One of his well known stories involved different quantities of wood.

He exaggerates to make the point. It's no good trying to get a speck out of someone else's eye if you have a plank of wood in your own eye. Sort that out first, and then you'll be able to see straight to help someone else. All of us make mistakes, so being honest about our own failures means we can advise others without being self-righteous hypocrites.[Matthew 7.1-5 has the full quote]

Seeing straight isn't just for now, it's about past hurts too. Over the years I've had many conversations with those who have been deeply hurt, and some seem to cling on to the pain. It traps them. Where can liberation be found?

Sometimes it can be as simple as letting go of an object, and in so doing symbolically breaking the bond that has ached for many years. I find this particularly helpful, and it's perhaps no accident that Jesus gave us symbols to help us grow in faith: bread and wine for holy communion, water for baptism, and his presence at a wedding [more wine!].

I might put a stone on a windowsill and let it accumulate all the angst that might otherwise eat into me. Then when it's 'loaded' I throw it out to sea. We're not machines as if we could just throw a switch, so sometimes the 'letting go' has to be repeated perhaps in a different way. Over the years I've become better at not carrying unnecessary burdens, even if they were hurtful at the time.

Healing prayer can help, for example the Tuesday and Friday 7.30pm candlelight services at St Andrew's often have [check page 18 in the Register for details] healing prayer received by everyone there, including the leader. Candles can be lit too. You are warmly invited to join these half-hour services which are a real tonic.

Forgiving others is vital too, but sometimes forgiving ourselves is harder. I imagine sitting at a distance from the cross, and witnessing the innocent Christ humiliated in public, hurting beyond words. But he does speak, 'Father, forgive them for they know not what they do'.