We were discussing Joseph’s story. Joseph of the bible. When someone asked, why did Joseph cry that much when finally he decided to reveal himself to his brothers? The guy wept until those in Pharaoh’s house heard of it. From the way the bible describes it, it seemed like it was a loud messy kind of crying. The kind that one can’t control since its coming from the deepest part of your heart.
It was interesting to note that Joseph had been wronged by many people, including some woman who wanted to sleep with him by force, to some guy who promised to get him out of prison but disappeared when he got out himself. Yet we don’t see Joseph holding a grudge against these people. Unlike his brothers.
I could relate to that. I’m sure we all can. We’ve been wronged many times. But some wrongs hurt more than others. They may not even be the worst thing that happened to us, but they cause us much pain than the tragedies we’ve gone through.
The Church tells us to forgive. It teaches on how forgiving is hard and how to go about it. But it stops there. Like forgiving is the end of the story. Yet its only the beginning.
There is something called healing. This is different from forgiving. And if we forgive but we don’t heal, then we’ll stay hurt for the rest of our lives. You may ask, what’s the difference between the two? I think forgiving is majorly about the other person. The one who wronged you. For example, when Joseph forgives his brothers for selling him, he’s saying” you did me wrong, but no hard feelings, we can move on from that situation. Its okay, whatever you did to me was traumatising, but I forgive you. Let there be peace between us.”
Forgiving let’s go of the other person. It sets them free and opens up a better relationship for those involved if they so wish. If there was a punishment to be given, forgiveness makes it null and void. And even when whoever wronged you isn’t there physically, it sets us free. Free from holding grudges with another person.
So what is healing? Healing has everything to do with us. Its a 100% on ourselves. For example, out of all those people who have wronged you, why does it only pain when you remember how that specific person hurt you? Like why didn’t the rest of the wrongs pain the same way? Why was Joseph more mad at being sold a slave by his brothers than being thrown into prison for things he didn’t do by strangers in a foreign land?
Healing requires us to look into ourselves and find out why we were that hurt by the thing that hurt us. I always tell my sister that if someone insulted me, I wouldn’t even be bothered. They can say all they want. I won’t feel a thing. You could as well be hugging a tree- it has zero impact on me. On the other side, I hate anyone shouting at me. That makes me angry. It hurts.
Healing requires me to sit down and analyze aspects of myself that made that wrong hurt that much. Its like taking back power from your assaulter. Whatever they did made you feel worthless. Like garbage. But are you really garbage? Are you worthy of better treatment? You ask yourself this hard questions and build yourself up from there.
For example, if your mother kept on calling you useless, it hurts and you forgave her. But healing asks of you to look within yourself and find out if you are useful, if your are important to yourself and the society at large. If you are awesome. And from whatever answers you find within yourself, you keep on assuring yourself and building up your self esteem. If you forgive your mother but you don’t heal- you’ll be remembering what she said and tears flow from your eyes. Imagine your own mother looked at you and found you useless. Imagine your own brothers wanted to get rid of you so badly that the only one who had compassion on you could only sell you as a slave in a foreign land. Can you imagine…?
But after healing, you’ll be thinking ,” my mother might have called me useless, but see how worthy I am, without me this awesomeness wouldn’t exist in the world. I’m one of a kind, I’m important, I’m useful, I’m worthy. ” After crying his heart out, I’m sure Joseph was thinking, ” my blood brothers wanted to kill me. They sold me as a slave. Its not that I’m worthless, maybe those years ago I did look valueless to them, but not anymore. I no longer derive my worth from what people do to me. Including my family. My worth is from within me. People might treat me badly, but I won’t let that make me lose hope in life. I’ll keep on being me and standing by my virtues even when being me almost got me killed by my brothers “.
You take back power from whoever wrongs you. So next time you remember what they did or said, it won’t be with that much hurt. It will be unfortunate that those people wronged you but you moved on from that.
Healing is way hard. It can even take years. Sometimes you even need to seek for help from whatever quarters suit you. But its extremely necessary if you are to have a quality life.
And no, making it in life doesn’t make it okay. You know the way we say that when we get wealthy or successful, those who hated on us will now see us lifted up and that will make it okay? It doesn’t work that way. You can be the prime minister of the only country in the world that has food- officially making you the greatest man on earth- but still be way hurt by things that happened to you when you were a boy. So making it in life doesn’t make you alright. Getting a husband, and a good one at that, doesn’t lessen the hurt your ex caused you- you still need to heal from that. Being a great person doesn’t take away the hurt you feel when you remember the words they used when your life seemed hopeless. Being called the most important man in Africa, won’t take away the pinch of your teacher telling you that you’ll amount to nothing.
You need to heal. We all need to. No wonder we forgive each other in between the years but during the general elections, we all over sudden remember how Kalenjins killed Kikuyu’s in the Rift Valley. We forgave, but we didn’t heal. It will forever haunt us.
Forgiving helps us to set others free, it helps us to let it go. While healing, lets us go. From pain, hurt and our pasts. It lets us go.