The buck stops here

After the wonderful weekend retreat and all the exultations, excitement, exploration, messages, prayers etc something still lingers in my soul. Back in my mind I still have the vivid image of a 21year old boy breaking down trying to narrate how painful it is not to have a father active in your life. With every tear that he tried to wipe away I saw inches of layered pain laced with bitterness. I thank God that it was a Christian retreat camp and men were able to rally around the young man and urge him to fight the shadows and be the one to first forgive even if he deems himself the most wronged and hence aggrieved.

This left me thinking. It seems many, if not all of us, have issues. The thorny point is that these issues have found no closure and they continue to rage like a septic wound. Be it an absent father, an uncaring spouse, an abusive boss, a bad neighbor – all that still obtains is that as long as there is no closure, the obtaining matters affect and impede our ability to go forward.

Despite the information high-speed that we are travelling in it is becoming more difficult for us to communicate and barriers are being built even between spouses. Despite that we speak in tongues and pay our tithes religiously we seem to be having no faith even in our nearest of kin (read skin).

One thing with issues is that they may start small but arrogance, pride, anger, malice and vanities blow them into big flames. How many siblings does the reader know of who are not on talking terms because of what someone said about one of them to the other? Has it ever occurred that if one of the two feuding parties (even the aggrieved one) took the initiative to just sms a greeting and enquire on the other’s health this might open the much awaited channel required to help clear these issues?

How many bitter sons and daughters are we raising on the poisonous bile arising from the issues that went unresolved between us and our parents? How many employees or subordinates suffer brunt because of the unresolved issues we have with past brutal employers and bosses? How many spouses suffer pain because we are enacting the pain inflicted on us by the lovers who left us on the altar or jumped beds to be with our best friends? Why should the lack of closure on these matters affect and negatively shape innocent people?

It is my conviction that most of us have issues. Issues that are painful to even think of, issues that seriously hurt and have gone for long without any serious attempt to address. It is my conviction that the more we delay from closure the further we take ourselves from the goal of progress and happiness. It is not possible to move forward when your feet are tied with barbed wire. You will tumble and fall. The same obtains for many of us – we still bind ourselves in the pride and arrogance of saying we are the wronged ones hence we have a right to play dead!!

It is my conviction that sooner than later this generation has to address its issues. I have resolved to clears my grudges diary; I have made up my mind to empty the poisonous bitterness bottle. I have resolved to forgive even those who will wrong me and refuse to acknowledge their error. I have resolved to play my role and be man enough to deal with all my issues than to ghost them onto my children, siblings, workmates etc.

As the sun rises tomorrow, whatever issue is at hand, deal with it decisively. Forgive for no recourse, play your role, love your beloved ones and the topmost benefit will be; more happiness and uncluttered hearts.

I FINALLY DID IT

Today I got to home group late. Late enough to almost be assured I was going to be asked to give the closing prayer when I entered. Late enough to walk into a simmering debate with the Pastor trying to quell, calm, rationalize and stabilize faith and emotions. It appears the group had pointed out how difficult it is to forgive when people hurt us. A senior mother remarked to the Pastor how difficult it is to forgive the woman who stole your husband, happiness, love, joy and at times your health.

But the Pastor was adamant that we ought to FORGIVE as the Lord commanded us to. Everyone pitched in with their non forgivable scenarios done to them and the man of God was on the verge of being swamped. When we thought we had won, he raised his head and clearly stated that in as much as we would want to vaunt our bitter nesses and inability to forgive, the onus is on us to proffer the forgiving hand and move on. 30 minutes pat dismissal time it was still difficult.

But something struck me. It is his last sentence before we left for home. He alluded to the fact that to fail to forgive is akin to harboring an acidic bitterness in our hearts and it is difficult for God to pave a way of light through such darkness. It reminded me of the favorite saying that draws parallels to bitterness being similar to drinking poison and expecting someone else to die!

When I got home, his words really struck me and I finally got it. I picked up the phone and dialed a number I had erased in my phones (but from bitterness it still obtained in my mind). I called the number of a person who hurt me so badly that my faith took a detour. I called a person who cost me so much I cannot quantify in all available terms. I called a person whose pain to me made me at one time to believe that God would forgive me if I took a gun and blew their brains out. I called a person who at their best still saw it good to do me irreparable harm.

I called a person who hurt me so badly it still physically hurts today and most likely will do so till I am interred in the ground barring of course, the occurrence of a miracle.

When they answered I only asked for two minutes and explained that I had come to the realization that my being angry with what they did to me was holding me back and festering an inhibiting bitterness. I told them that despite all the pain, the hurt, the harm, the losses, the humiliation etc I WAS FORGIVING THEM AND THEY WERE NOW FREE TO PURSUE THEIR LIVES WITHOUT THE FEAR OF NQOBILE NCUBE LOOMING OVER THEM AND SEEK REVENGE.

I was met with stunned silence. No slur, no insults, no swearing, no hung up phone. Just silence. 30 seconds later all they could say was ‘THANK YOU’.

When I hung up, a burden lifted. Of course I still bear the physical scars but I have dealt with the bitterness shadow and there is space for more light in my heart.

Tomorrow as the sun rises and as you battle shadows and mountains, pause for a moment and check if the mountains hindering you are not out of bitterness and unforgiving pain. If so, one call, one visit, one sms might heave a mountain away for you. It just did for me.