Last week as I went through my phonebook, I saw the contact details of a few people who used to be my friends but who are not anymore. As I encountered one after another it got me thinking, ‘what really happened with these people?’
We had problems. Simple.
We disagreed over an issue at some point and so we got angry at ourselves or one against the other and gradually we drifted apart. For some, the hurt is still very much strong making cordial relationships impossible – just people tolerating one another simply because they must interact maybe because they are coworkers, family, in the same religious or social organization.
From an analysis of all the issues and troubles, I have observed that the anger is based mostly on 2 different kinds of hurt.
The 1st are those hurts that need restitution. To appease the hurt, the other party will need to give up some material or tangible thing. For example, someone may be angry and feel hurt because someone cheated them on a business deal, stole from them or damaged their property. (In serious cases, the hurt may be criminal like rape). For peace to reign in this case, the offending party may need to restore the loss that the other party suffered. He may need to make payments or replace what was lost in addition to an apology.
The 2nd kind of hurt are those that need only an apology and sometimes a promise to never repeat the hurt. Unfortunately, most of the hurts that blight our lives fall under this category.
- ‘She or he said so & so to me or about me’. I know a lot of people who have lived in pain and sorrow and have held onto the anguish for years because someone said something to them directly such as ‘you are a fool’ in a heated argument, or they heard that someone said something bad about them in a gossip. Even the scriptures acknowledge the gravity of slander when it says ‘Gossip separates the best of friends’ – Proverbs 16:28
- ‘She or he did or didn’t do so and so to and for me’. Do you know people carry hurt feelings for years because someone didn’t greet them? Speak to them or generally acknowledge or show them respect in a general or special way?
- ‘She or he made me feel bad because of number 1 or 2’.
Considering the fact that the remedy for these kinds of hurts is an apology and sometimes a promise not to repeat the offense, does it make sense to hold onto the anger and bitterness for too long? I know a friend who for over 30 years now still refers to and holds on to what was said to him. I am not in any way minimizing the pain that comes from these kinds of hurt but is it worth the absence of peace we endure to hold on to such anger?
Stop befouling your life because of the hurt you have suffered. If it is an apology that will solve the problem, please imagine that you have received it, forgive the person and move on.
The best way around it however, is to approach the person and explain what you have found out and how you feel and lay out your expectations to your friend.
Granted there are others whose hurt need restitution, but on the whole, I have observed that most offenses can be resolved very simply with loving and kind talk. In fact, a lot of the people I have talked to say that if the other person apologizes they would be ok and will forgive! So go ahead and forgive, and if restitution doesn’t come, move on, don’t let the bitterness continue to poison you!
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