When the wounded wounds back ...

By Terry Wardle

February 7, 2011

I love reading Miroslov Volf. He is a theologian who teaches at Harvard and has written some wonderful books on theology. As I say that, don’t conclude that it is heavy academic stuff, hard to read, and even harder to relate to life. His writing hits deep and is rooted in real life experiences. Great reading!

One of my favorite Volf books is called, “The End of Memory.” It is fundamentally about the place of forgiveness in dealing with destructive memories of traumatic events. Volf is Croatian and experienced persecution at the hand of the communists. He knows trauma and the toxic effect of remembering past wounds in a destructive way. His book is about seeing memories turn from harmful to redemptive, all by the power of Christ.

There is one point he makes, of many, that is particularly profound. Volf says that it takes two acts for evil to take root. The evil act done to someone (you) and an evil response from the person wounded (you) toward the offender. When the wounded wounds back, evil has a stronghold. But if a wounded person, instead of wounding back, turns to the Lord to grieve the loss and experience the healing power of Christ, evil has lost its perpetuating power. Light and love can win the day.

So, let’s pray for each other that when wounding words and actions, no matter how small or large, come our way, we do not wound back. Not with words, thoughts or action. But instead may we turn to Christ, allowing his deep love to bring healing and hope.

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