Monday, October 10, 2011

Some Thoughts on Spiritual Pain, Harm and Healing

1) "The incorrect traditions of their fathers" doesn't apply only to those outside the Church. It applies to the Church, as an institution, and it applies to each individual in the Church, as well. (See the allegory of the vineyard in Jacob 5 for a good description of that concept.) "Incorrect traditions" are interwoven into every organization, from the largest to a single person living alone. That doesn't excuse the effects of those traditions, but it's critical to realize - since it helps blunt the natural tendency toward exclusive harshness when one is hurt by someone or something, particularly "the Church".

2) Believing in infallibility (or holding totally unrealistic expectations) hurts much more than accepting fallibility. Those with lower expectations are harmed less than those who have their unrealistic expectations shattered.

3) NOTHING is strictly an academic issue. EVERYTHING has an emotional element to someone.

4) Those who are hurt severely by someone or something have every right to be mad and want to strike back - and, in some cases, they have every right to strike back. Likewise, time and distance are necessary for healing to occur. However, when time and distance don't heal, other proactive steps must be taken. Striking back and lashing out never is the final solution, and they rarely are the best solution.

5) I personally believe that about 75%-90% of the hurt we feel was not intended by the ones who hurt us - even in many cases where the pain was deep and lasting. In many of those cases, someone was acting in a way that they felt was "right" or "necessary" - or it simply had been drilled into them over their own lifetime. In many other cases, the person actually is totally unaware of the pain or harm they caused.  I can NEVER know exactly and comprehensively why someone acts as they do, so I simply can't judge or condemn THEM - even when I am required to judge and even condemn their actions.

6) Many bad things are the choice of the lesser of two evils - or, at the very least, not a choice of one obvious good and one obvious bad.

7) Finally, time and distance can bring healing, but, conversely, time and distance also can distort and push toward extremes - to the end results of both condemnation and denial. Therefore, healing is most likely when initiated as early as possible after the original harm. Festering emotional and spiritual wounds are no different than festering physical wounds in that regard. If left untreated, they will become cancerous.

Total objectivity ultimately is impossible, but attempted objectivity is important.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful,Ray.This is why we need an atonement.Each of us is an ignorant sinner doing inestimable harm to one another.Whilst we have a responsibility to become as conscious as possible,we can never actually achieve total consciousness of our impact on one another.

I thank God that the ignorant mischief I have achieved in my lifetime can be somehow be put right.

Gwennaƫlle said...

"I personally believe that about 75%-90% of the hurt we feel was not intended by the ones who hurt us - even in many cases where the pain was deep and lasting. "

Agree YET I also know that many hurts are caused because people don't want to change something that they know deep inside is wrong.
They don't hurt us on purpose, they hurt us because they don't want to change their ways.
Is asking them to change actually right? Isn't it a matter of being comfortable? Inflicted pain is one harsh way we can grow. I don't think we are expected to succeed every time but when we do we feel the growth. Why? Because we have set ourself above the pain; above our own and old self.
Yep I can write about this because this is one subject I have been pondering a lot lately but to me the price of this growth is partly sadness cause I have the feeling that now I see better and clearer than I used and better and clearer than the offender and I don't take any pride in it. I don't find any joy in it.
I guess I need to do some more pondering to find a way to set myself at ease with this baby step I have taken toward what is expected from me. Cause yes, although I can feel the growth I can also sense I am far (to say the least) from the point I am expected to reach even in this life.

Papa D said...

"I thank God that the ignorant mischief I have achieved in my lifetime can be somehow be put right."

Amen, Anonymous - and amen.

Beautiful comment, Gewn. It is a great example of why I value your comments so highly - especially about topics that deal with pain in some way.

Yes, I think it is OK to ask people to change - but I also think we can't expect everyone to be able to change, and I don't think we can condemn them automatically if they can't do so. Even Paul, the Apostle, said that there are thorns of the flesh with which we will struggle until the day we die.