PARADOXICAL

The faith chronicles

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

 

Healing


The road to healing, they say, is paved with forgiveness. But every soul who has ever been broken knows this is easier said than done. Forgiveness requires no less than sainthood itself. One wounded soul may say he forgives and yet remain unhealed. You may forgo your bitterness towards the one who hurt you yet you remain in bondage. Where's the missing piece to this mysterious puzzle?

The answer, they say, is in forgiveness of oneself. Forgiveness as a road to healing comprises of two lanes; one lane leading to the one who hurt you; the other to yourself. Of course every soul who has ever been broken knows this is easier said than done. Once you hurdled this one last obstacle, however, you may pronounce yourself, "Free at last!"

There's this scene in the movie Good Will Hunting where the psychotherapist character played by Robin Williams confronts the troubled genius played by Matt Damon, who is in a period of denial about the things troubling him. In a father-son-like moment, the psychotherapist hammers the message on the kid repeatedly until the latter bristles then breaks down, into tears. "It's not your fault. It's not your fault," the psychotherapist jabbers at him until the hurts he has dammed up for many years burst into a healing torrent of tears.

I am not sure about that it's not your fault methodology, but last night, I had a long impromptu 'counseling' talk over the phone with a friend who's been into the habit of having a self-centered, co-dependent, sexually consummated affair. He sounded tormented by guilt and confused by the intricacies of the conflicting affairs of the heart and the soul. He wants to follow God yet he is too weak not to give in.

My friend had been haunted by a dark past which I once pointed out to be at the root of his present predicament. His case was one of having been sexually abused as a child. But he claims everything is all behind him now. There's no bitterness left between him and his past tormentor. "So what's wrong?" he wondered. "I'm in a terrible mess. I don't think God will still forgive me for what I am doing," he said.

In my rare counseling mode, I told my friend that "it is in your most wretched moment that God loves you the most." That He came not for 'clean' people but for troubled souls like us. That it is us who condemn ourselves and never God. That He never willed you to be in this mess after all, as much as you never wanted to be in it, too.

"How you wish everything were happy and normal, right?" I said. "The Lord understands you. He loves you. Don't be too harsh on yourself. All you have to do is ask forgiveness."

There's the rub. My friend has forgiven everyone except himself. "It's not you fault. It's not your fault," I almost hammered in his head.

Oftentimes, we heap on ourselves the blame for our many troubles. While this may be perfectly logical and even necessary at times, it is not so for those certain problems that we were born into: unexplained addictions, mysterious sexual obsessions/aberrations, compulsions, neuroses, etc.

We may never discover the root cause of these evil things in our lives but we must realize what the devil is constantly up to: deceive us into condemning ourselves. Because once we condemn ourselves, the die is cast; what would stop us from doing the things we ought not to do? What would stop us from condemning ourselves even more?

Forgiveness is a key step to the healing process. Especially forgiveness of one's self.

3.21.2000


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