For those of us blessed with a good memory, things that stung our heart and left us wounded in the past can come around again and pierce our armor of self-assuredness even years later. What can we do about it?
1. Seek forgiveness from the one you offended and then go to God. It is the other person responsibility to forgive you. If they refuse, do not let that rob you of your peace of mind. You do not need their forgiveness to be forgiven. It is your responsibility to seek forgiveness. It is the other person’s responsibility to be “forgiving.” “Forgiveness,” however, belongs to God.
2. No longer own the embarrassment. Perhaps you were not at fault in the first place. If you weren’t, then you can shake free from the negative emotion that still tries to entangle you and hold you captive.
3. If you have sought forgiveness, then believe that you are forgiven. Don’t pick up that bolder and try to carry it again. That burden is no longer yours.
4. The hardest person to forgive is you. Do not re-inflict pain on yourself every time you think of the original offense. Let it go. You are free. God said you are.
Old Grandfather was right. Old hurts can continue to stab at the heart. Only you can stop the pain by not claiming ownership of them. Millie and Silvia, in Smoke from Distant Fires, learn that things that happened in the past by kinsmen do not belong to them. Native American month is a good time to learn to leave the hurts of the past where they belong and embrace the beauty, traditions and lessons of love that remain.
Doris Gaines Rapp
Smoke from Distant Fires