Healing Our Memories

"Forgiving does not mean forgetting. When we forgive a person, the memory of the wound might stay with us for a long time, even throughout our lives. Sometimes we carry the memory in our bodies as a visible sign. But forgiveness changes the way we remember. It converts the curse into a blessing. When we forgive our parents for their divorce, our children for their lack of attention, our friends for their unfaithfulness in crisis, our doctors for their ill advice, we no longer have to experience ourselves as the victims of events we had no control over.
Forgiveness allows us to claim our own power and not let these events destroy us; it enables them to become events that deepen the wisdom of our hearts. Forgiveness indeed heals memories."

~Henri Nouwen

Healing of memories and wrongs in our society, even in our churches, is an issue that deserves attention.  How many have been disillusioned as a result of wrongs suffered and still hold the pain and grudge?  I bet many.  In a culture where it is far too easy to leave a church for another when wrongs are suffered (or where there are relational issues), the problem of hurts with unhealed memories continues unabated.  It seems the last thing people want is to forgivingly work through wrongs toward healing within community.  We mostly want to hold our grudge against the offender as our way of exacting justice and then move on.  This is a tragedy. How might we foster an ecclesial culture that encourages the level of communal intimacy that can facilitate healing of hurts and memories?

I have in my posession Volf’s work, "The End of Memory" and I anticipate he discusses this issue in great depth.  I look forward to reading it; perhaps reviewing it in the hopefully not too distant future.

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