One day I was riding in the car, and it came to mind a question. What would you do if every person who hurt you apologized or the person who did the most hurtful thing apologized to you? How would your life be different? I have been thinking about those questions a lot lately. Truth is maybe this is a conversation about trauma. With the new knowledge on trauma and how it shapes us, especially childhood trauma I have an answer. I don’t think it would change how I react to those offenses if they happened again if the offender apologized. So, what I mean is the hurt is still there and it’s literally sitting in your body. The hurt festers like a sore sometimes it grows and spreads. Now you have an infection, not just a sore. Then it turns into an illness, and you carry it around spreading your hurt. I think that mantra of hurt people hurt people is true. Just like a smile is infectious so now so is hurt and disappointment. Truly hurt can spread. Who hasn’t had trauma? No one’s life is perfect no matter your social economic status or a perfect upbringing.
The truth is we will never walk the earth without offense. So, how do we overcome offense let’s examine our original question of an apology. What is truly an apology? According to the dictionary, it’s:1a: an admission of error, b: apologies plural: an expression of regret for not being able to do something, 2a: something that is said or written to defend something that other people criticize.
Looking at the definition it is clear an apology is an admission of guilt but it’s not healing. Heal means to restore to original purity in addition, to make free from injury or disease or to patch up or to correct. In Old English to heal means “Whole”. In contrast, an apology can be like an alibi, defense, excuse, justification, plea, and reason. So maybe that person won’t ever give you an apology for hurting you, but it doesn’t matter they don’t need to admit their guilt to change your hurt. In addition, just because you receive a justification or plea for the offense will it heal the offense? Therefore, an apology is not necessary to heal.
For some people maybe an apology is the doorway to healing but surely for others it is not. I am a firm believer that forgiveness maybe be the doorway to healing. But now I understand why forgiveness is not for them it’s for you. So, what does it mean to forgive? According to the dictionary, it is:
1: to cease to feel resentment against (an offender), 2a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital b: to grant relief from payment off or give a debt
You don’t have to carry the weight anymore. Yes, it hurts but it’s time for you to grow. You will feel so much better if you don’t have to carry around waiting on an apology. Literally, one of Jesus’ last earthly acts in the flash on the cross was asking for our forgiveness to the Father (God). Luke 23:34 (NKJV) Then Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” And they divided His garments and cast lots.
Here is my confession. I have been that person my whole life pressing the pain down until the hurt was an illness. Sometimes all I see is hurt because I thought I was cool I forgave everyone. Until you mad at every little offense and the small things feel like the world is ending. ((Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16)). It has affected me as a person and how I respond and take things in as a person. Sometimes I feel like I can’t take it anymore. I have forgiven offenses and then picked up the offenses again. I think forgiveness is an ongoing thing and I think I must keep on forgiving as my heavenly father forgives me. I know I don’t deserve anything, but he keeps saving me. God is waiting for me, and I know he is a God of healing. But healing takes time and willingness. Often, I am not willing, and I shut down. How dumb is that to shut down from my Heavenly Father? The truth is God has been healing and saving for eternity. Our minds can’t comprehend his vastness and omnipotence. Hear me out but repentance I believe is almost like forgiveness and an apology. I believe that true repentance is an omission of guilt and God’s grace forgives you. But most of all in repentance you must forgive yourself and turn away from sin. (Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13)
“As long as you keep secrets and suppress information, you are fundamentally at war with yourself…The critical issue is allowing yourself to know what you know. That takes an enormous amount of courage.” (Van, 2014)
My greatest traumas have shaped me to be the woman I am good and bad, I think. Some of the greatest leaders and humanitarians are here for the world because of trauma. Some people’s traumas fuel them, or they use them as motivation. Do I advocate for trauma? NO! Of course not. But I am merely pointing out that maybe it had to happen to you so your family can get wealth. Or maybe it had to happen to you so you can break generational curses. Simply it’s so you can tell others I made it and you can too. Now the internal work begins, and I must examine my heart. What I don’t want is to be the one that causes the trauma. It’s easy to see how others have hurt you but not as easy to see how you hurt others. Be careful of the intentions of your heart. You know if you are wishing ill on a person chances are you need to forgive. In addition, don’t have to give your abuser or trauma giver excuses but accountability. But in all things be lead of the Lord! I will leave you with these scriptures. (Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, and forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. Ephesians 4:31-32)
The Bible 😊
van der Kolk, B. A. (2014). The body keeps the score: Brain, mind, and body in the healing of trauma. Viking.