IS IT EASY TO REFRAIN FROM WRATH AND FORGIVE?

The expression “Virtue + Vice” is deeply pertinent in human life and the Bible profoundly affirms this truth – “No human is perfect, not even one. Each of us in some way or other is fallen by nature and by works as well”. Our contrary characters have always been the factor of the disintegration of our emotions which causes wrath and emotional vacuum in our relationships. At such peak of emotional brokenness, often it is suggested by godly counsellors to ‘FORGIVE ONE ANOTHER’. Is it that easy to forgive someone?

I know Mom and Dad don’t like her now but I’m pretty sure her love and care for them can convince them in the future. What can be more valuable than having a companion like her? In her, I see my future, she is the perfect lady with whom I can fulfill all my dreams, it is with her I can face any struggle. It’s not just a day’s happening; we are in a relationship since so many years. But… how come it is so easy for her to turn me down, were those promises I believed in,  fake? Till yesterday evening she was there for me but what happened this morning? Is a relationship just confined to physical satisfaction, financial stability and fame?

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

With endless promises, sacrifices and in the presence of witnesses in the holy sanctuary we tied the nuptial knot but how come only within a couple of years life has become hell? What happened to those promises and commitments? Is it the same guy in whom I built my trust and dreamt to fulfill my dreams? God has forgotten me, how can I tell Papa about the home violence, the marital rape, my character assassination, the cuts and cigar burns on my body, so on and so forth?

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

He is the most sincere, truthful and hardworking guy I have ever met in my life. I think, he is the right guy to be given the power of attorney in my absence. Alas… after a month when he returns from the foreign trip, his company is sold and he is under bankruptcy!

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

My dream is to make him what I could not accomplish in life. What more I want rather than his happy life. I trust he will hold my shivering hand; she will be my daughter, not daughter-in-law. Oh, how joyous it will be to be called as Grandpa and to hold those tiny little fingers and walk in the dusk light. Well, some dreams won’t be fulfilled, this old age home probably being the last roof!

Is it easy to refrain from wrath and forgive?

Well, the world is not only filled with evil hearts, internal scheming, and abhorrence. The world exists because of the God-fearing hearts, love for one another and forgiveness against wrath. Moreover, by the grace of God.

Thomas a Kempis says,

“Know all and you will pardon all”.

After 10yrs of married life and becoming the father of a girl, the husband always felt insecure and jealous of his wife’s beauty and influence. In his mind, he always thought people give him importance because of his wife’s credibility. As days went by his insecurity and jealousy became giant and finally erupted to crime one evening. Though it was just a fight for extra sugar in the tea but it ended him in jail and her in the hospital and made the daughter a one-parent child. Erupt with anger he threw acid and disfigured her face. After 15yrs to the incident, when the man was on his death bed in the prison, he wrote a letter to her asking forgiveness and making his last wish to spend the rest of his life with her. Out of love, she forgave him but it was difficult for the grown-up daughter to forgive and accept him as her dad. But greater is the power of love that helps to forgive one another. 😊 The final goal of forgiveness is to restore the broken relationship and gives way to renew the lifestyle.

Another remarkable story is the ghastly attack of 23rd January 1999 in the Mayurbhanj district of Odisha state. Some religious fundamentalists burnt alive the Christian missionary Graham Staines and his two sons Phillip (aged 10) and Timothy (aged 6). The court of law convicted the alleged killers for their brutality. But the statement of Gladys Staines (w/o: Graham Staines) is exemplary for the entire human race irrespective of caste, creed and religious boundaries. She in her affidavit before the Commission on the death of her husband and two sons stated, “The Lord God is always with me to guide me and help me to try to accomplish the work of Graham, but I sometimes wonder why Graham was killed and also what made his assassins behave in such a brutal manner on the night of 22nd/23rd January 1999. It is far from my mind to punish the persons who were responsible for the death of my husband Graham and my two children. But it is my desire and hope that they would repent and would be reformed”. It is our forgiveness which gives an opportunity to the other person to correct himself and walk in righteousness which is never possible by taking the path of wrath.

The Bible says, “Forgive one another, as the Lord God forgives your sins. And as we forgive others and leave the wrath unto God, God takes the vengeance and establishes justice for us which can never be hidden to human eyes.”

Yet, the choice is in your hands “to forgive or take the path of wrath”.

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RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: INITIATE AND CONFRONT

I never forget one incident that happened in my life. I was in college at that time. After the class in the afternoon, I used to play Cricket with the neighbourhood boys. And that day also we were playing when a neighbour came between and asked all to go away and stop the play. He shouted at all other boys which were meant for me indirectly. The game stopped in the middle and I walked back to my home. But I was restless and furious on that man. The man and the families surrounding the neighbourhood were all our tenants and we were the owners. I had that pride. And shouting from a tenant that too without any reasons was not acceptable to me.

Minutes passed by… But I was unable to calm myself down. My mom offered snacks but I could not eat. She asked me what happened to you but I just kept quiet without saying anything.

That man was older to me. It will look odd if I would have shouted back at him. It was a prestige issue for me. Again, I didn’t want to make a fuss out of this incident yet, I was annoyed on him because of his unreasonable behaviour towards me and to all the boys who were playing with me.

I am a person who has been always valued all my relationships and above all, I am not at peace in my mind. Yet, it was difficult for me to INITIATE reconciliation.

The Bible says, “…in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”.

Truthfully, I didn’t remember this verse at that time but I simply went ahead to talk to that person – CONFRONT with the man and try to INITIATE reconciliation and be in peace.

When I reached their house, I saw him inside his house talking to his wife. I asked him to come out as I have something to talk to. He came out and I asked politely, “Did I do anything wrong to you that you shouted at all and eventually stopped the game we were engrossed with?” He surely was quite uncomfortable when I asked this question to him. He quickly held my hands and said, “No way… you haven’t done anything at all… I am bit stressed and was not in a great mood so got irritated by the noise of the boys playing here in front of my house. I am really sorry… please don’t mind.

The process of Confrontation – Initiation – Reestablishing a Strained Relationship was executed with ease.

I came back home victoriously and had my food peacefully.

Usually, we feel the urge for reconciliation in our hearts and minds but when it comes to taking the first step, we step back. We always tend to expect the first initiation from the opposite party. The incident that I described above was no way open-ended from both sides. I mean, the man was unaware of my feelings towards him or the relationship we have. For him, everything was fine and closed from his side whereas, I was holding the burning coal in my chest. It was an open sore for me and I needed to rectify it as soon as possible. The process of reconciliation and rebuilding started when I took the first initiation in response to my own need to be at peace. And I know what was the feeling when everything was restored between us and most importantly within myself.

I remember one more verse from the Bible which supports my point: “Leave your gift there in front of the altar. First, go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”

Friends! if you want to reconcile with your loved one then take the first step yourself and attempt the process of reconciliation.

Stay Blessed!

RECONCILIATION – THE NEED OF THE HOUR: FEELING THE NEED

Why these wars?
Why this loss of lives?
If men can love men,
And choose to live as close brethren.

Aching minds and crying hearts,
Longing for peace instead of fiery darts,
To love, indeed is an art,
Which every man must master and strive to play a part.

Reconciliation is a fruit of love. Love in the heart yearns to be reconciled with one who is not deemed to be on the same page as before.

Reconciliation refers to the restoration of previously existing friendly relations. It doesn’t simply mean ‘to patch up with someone.’ It involves much more. Though Reconciliation has been dealt with in Candles Online previously, this week is again devoted to the topic, thus recognizing its significant importance – be it in interpersonal relationships or in global ties. Without a doubt, reconciliation would make the world a better place to live in than it already is.

In today’s piece, I will be dealing with Feeling the Need for Reconciliation.

For any behaviour to manifest, there has to be a felt need. Though we do many things out of sheer habit, the human clock – be it biological, social or psychological – operates out of a felt need. Take, for example, hunger. When the hypothalamus perceives the need for food, it sends sensory signals and so you and I experience what is called hunger pangs. This leads us to go near a source of food and consume it to satiate our hunger. Just like hunger, most other physiological processes are born in the mind and are then translated into physical action/behaviour.

Reconciliation is not a physiological process, though the act of being reconciled with someone is reflected in physical and social behaviour. Unless one feels the need for reconciliation, the actual act of reconciliation doesn’t happen.

When we speak of reconciliation, we assume that there has been a point of conflict which was preceded by good relations. Genuine restoration of previous friendly relations is possible when the conflict is followed by forgiveness (which will be extensively dealt with on another day this week). Forgiveness, then gives way to the desire for reconciliation.

So then, what does it take to be reconciled with someone, why ought one feel the need for the same and how to reconcile? I’ll deal with the what and why of reconciliation in today’s piece. In the subsequent six articles of this week, we’ll talk about the how.

The intrusion of conflict into friendly relations results in the friendly ties being cut off, thus giving rise to enmity, anger, jealousy, a desire for revenge, stress and lack of peace as by-products. A continual indwelling of these vicious by-products results in a sick mind and body, thus affecting one’s intrapersonal and interpersonal well-being. Too much a cost to pay for the one life that is gifted to us!

The Bible says –

“If possible as far as it depends on you live peaceably with all.”

 These words of wisdom are not without reason. Count the costs of conflict and the blessings of peace – you’ll realize it!

So then won’t it make one look like a fool to be reconciled with someone who was only yesterday trying to cause harm? Won’t it make one a weakling before others? Is it not more logical to avenge oneself – tooth for tooth and eye for an eye?

We see this happening. Our newspapers and News channels are full of hate stories – whether social or diplomatic. Is it doing anyone any good? Well, the earth is still rotating and revolving. It hasn’t come to a standstill. But, human life feels the impact of unreconciled strained ties. Hatred breeds hatred and Love breeds love.

How then do we deal with the wrong done to us by a friend?

The easy way out is, of course, to shun all ties. But then, reconciliation is just the opposite of it. The answer to the above question is – deal with love. Sounds a bit impractical, doesn’t it? True.

How do you talk sweetly to a friend who has publicly ridiculed you? How do you go back and love your husband who has hurled abuses at you? How do you love your business partner who has syphoned huge amounts and got you thrown into prison? How do you love your wife who has cheated on you and is romantically involved with someone else? And, do you need to be reconciled with such people at all? ‘Not needed’ – many would say. ‘Not humanly possible’ – I say. Not possible unless we invoke the power of the Almighty to renew and strengthen us from within. It is for God Almighty to avenge the evil, injustice and wrongs that plague humans, and He sure does it in His way and in His time. Not for you and I to think of ways to get even and scheme and strategise the means for the same.

Reconciliation follows forgiveness and needs repentance as a necessary precursor. It takes one to forgive (or seek forgiveness) but, two to reconcile. Unless there are realization and repentance from the erring party, any desire for reconciliation doesn’t materialize.

That gives an easy excuse. Of course, you and I cannot go to such extreme extends to make an erring party realise, repent, seek forgiveness and have the desire to be reconciled. This is being over-ambitious for one’s self. And here again is where we need the power of the Almighty as He alone is the one who transforms human hearts and with God nothing is impossible – absolutely nothing!

Reconciliation not only restores friendly ties but also elevates us to a higher platform of functioning. It ensures a continued flow of love, peace and joy in our heart. It aids our soul to reflect the character of God in us. You see, while we broke away from God owing to our sin, He walked towards us to restore the friendly ties. And so, when we strive to reconcile with others, we strive for a greater goal!

Think about the depths of these words as the next six articles would take the topic to further details.

PROFANITY IN EVERYDAY CONVERSATIONS

“She’s my bitch!” 

“Yo wassup dawg?!”

If you’ve been around in the world (of course you have) you’ve heard the above statements that have become a sort of fashion statement these days. ‘Hip’ girls and boys referring to their friends or their boyfriends/girlfriends thus and without any qualms too. Note that the intent in the above two statements is not to ridicule or slander, but to express affection for a friend instead. I don’t know when and how this started but weren’t those two words supposed to mean an insult? At least I would be very offended if someone called me a bitch. I don’t suppose this shift in how we perceive these cuss words came about because our generation was suddenly swayed by a sense of brotherhood for our canine friends. Nope! But used affectionately or in a derogatory way, the context doesn’t make their usage any less offensive. They’re both representatives of how profanity has permeated into our everyday parlance.

Profanity today has seeped into our everyday vocabulary to the extent that some things are best described only by the use of derogatory terms. For example –

Shit happens.

Life’s a bitch.

What an ass!

What the fuck is that?

Profanity has shifted, or should I say has been promoted, from being something used only to cause offence to something that sometimes conveys an idea best. But perhaps this shift in how we perceive the use of profanity now is the reason why we hear so much of it in everyday conversation.

Remember the time when you would get a stern look from elders for using terms as mild as ‘stupid’ and ‘shut up’, while today ‘shut up’ has become an equivalent for ‘seriously’ or ‘really’? When language starts to accommodate ‘foul’ in the ‘fair’ category it naturally leads to a downfall in the quality of language and the smudging of lines on what is acceptable and what is not. There is a reason why language from old books and period films sounds classy and sweet. Its because such allowances in language were not allowed then; a bitch meant only either a female dog or an insult to a woman; no other meaning to that expletive was allowed and entertained and the usage of the latter was frowned upon. What’s more, people considered it a part of good manners to keep their tempers and tongues in check.

When language is courteous, foul language automatically is kept under control because its use is considered taboo. But when language starts to get discourteous, starts passing off cuss words as normal usage, ‘wassup bitches’ is what you get and since today we are being trained to see these cuss words not as an insult, therefore even a derogatory ‘son of a gun’  sounds like a phrase used for appreciation.

But why do we use profanity? What makes its use so compelling? We’re all humans, we’re prone to getting angry and letting our mouths run loose along with our imaginations and getting creative with expletives. In some cases, it is even considered cool to use foul words, but what I don’t understand is why we use them at all? Forget about all the morally right reasons for not using bad language and just for a minute concentrate on the practical uses of foul language. What do you get?

Beyond the perverse joy of watching someone’s face fall and getting a kick out of it, or letting off steam, foul language really doesn’t serve any purpose because – 

A.  It doesn’t get the point across. The one being abused closes his mind to any attempt at conciliation or a fair argument thereafter.

B.  It makes the user sound uncouth and vile.

C.  It’s a waste of time and energy because it resolves nothing.

Oh, but it feels so gooooooood, did you say?!

I know that! I’ve been there, done that too. But apart from being branded a ‘bitch’, I didn’t accomplish anything else out of using profanity. I lost plenty though – friends, goodwill and face. I was the proverbial smart mouth who everyone liked to steer clear of and it was the reason why I drove myself into a lonely place. Coming out of that place was tough, and I’m still trying to mend the bridges I tore down.

As someone who’s been both at the giving and receiving ends of profanity, what I’ve come to learn is that using foul language is like using sarcasm – it’s perceived as something cool and witty, but is actually an infantile preoccupation of an egotist who does not have control over his emotions. Sure in some circumstances, both foul language and sarcasm are deserved, but I would say in most cases, a greater revenge would be to laugh in the face of your abuser and never give them the satisfaction of letting them get under your skin.

Coming back to the original theme of this article, the allowance of profanity in everyday conversations has led to a degeneration of language because we have taught ourselves that it is okay to use foul words even for expressing our appreciation or love. It sets a wrong precedent for not only our generation but even the ones coming after us who would only learn that there is no ceiling to how foul-mouthed you can be because by then the lines between courteous and uncouth words would have blurred to the extent that terms like ‘bitch’ would be regarded as both an appreciation and an insult. When we ourselves make such allowances in language we do not have the right to point to the younger generations and cry foul. Can you really blame a teenager who calls her friends ‘bitches’ or ‘dawgs’ when he/she has seen others do the same? Its unfair to them.

We should either clean up our own act or shut our eyes and ears to the degeneration of language and consequently the degeneration of our morality. Restraint on language also translates to restraint over temper because the use of foul language is a kind of vent for a frustrated soul, so that if you keep it in check, chances are your temper too will subside quickly, but if you over-indulge it, soon your hurt ego will not be sated by the mere use of foul language. It will deviate to worse alternatives. Not to generalize things but an example is that of an abusive parent and one who controls his tongue.  Who do you think is more likely to beat down his own children?

We need today to teach ourselves and our future generations that while expressing our love or anger is alright, the use of profanity to do so is absolutely unacceptable. The languages of the world are rich and flexible enough to provide enough room for creative expression without resorting to the use of bad words. If your tongue is sweet it will only invite more sweetness from others. Nobody likes a barbed wire.

Featured Image: 1820796 at Pixabay

Quote of the day

Holding on to anger and burning yourself up to the core is what the ego yields.

WHEN IS ANGER “A SIN”?

Hello Everyone,

Anger – an emotion, expressing disagreement exceeding the level of upset, exhibiting disgust to be precise.  This expression could be coupled with raised decibel, raised hand and even worse.

Now the question is can such an emotion be counted as Sin or can it possibly lead someone to commit sin?Well, the answer is it depends.

When Anger Is Righteous:  Everyone would agree with the fact that anger should be controlled.  But there are instances in our life where not getting angry is just unjust.  When we see weak and vulnerable getting hassled and our blood doesn’t get boiled there is a serious problem in us as a human.  When injustice is having its way we must speak against it doesn’t matter if it is our anger, because it is righteous.

Anger and Us:  When we are angry what we do?  Let me tell you my example or experience:

  • It is commonly said where there is love, anger and fights breed naturally, it’s just a part and parcel of relationships.  And I think its true because I fought and fought badly with my mother, father, brother, they are the people who are close to my heart than rest of the world which is obvious.  When my patience gave in I spewed venom in the fit of rage with the intention of putting my point across and being heard.  In the due course of such arguments I ended up saying many things that I feel guilty of later, even today.

We all have such experiences in life where we have used words without understanding their impact.  At the end we all have reconciled because of a bond called love but a sin is committed by our tongues because words once said cannot be taken back just as the arrows released from a bow.

Angry Society We Have Become:  When a society is full of people having less to no control on their respective tempers we have an intolerant society.  The minute but best example is what we see in road rage cases in Delhi.  People don’t even hesitate to kill a person only because they are infuriated by a dent on their vehicle.  Logically that dent can be repaired but a life gone cannot be brought back.   But when anger dominates thinking, logic RIP.  Mob lynchings, road rage killings, vandalism are anger driven sins where logical thinking and moralities are put on the back burner or even flushed down the drain.  On contrary supported by ego, envy, greed.

When the motive inspiring our anger is self-centered – to hurt someone physically or emotionally just because of lack of agreement, we are guilty of committing a sin though we may say whatever we did was unintentional  and in a fit of rage.

There’s one saying in Telugu:

” Tana kopam tanaki shatruvu,

Tana shaantame tanaki raksha”

Which means One’s anger is their own enemy and one’s calmness (as in state of mind) is their protection.

That’s so valid because actions taken with restless and agitated mind may lead one to commit sin/ crime (sin punishable by court of law) and the guilt never leaves heart (of the person is humane enough).  Trying to keep calm in the moment of heat can avert many mishaps.

I shall start managing my anger, how about you?

“I”- LEADS YOU TO SIN

I ignored …. neglected and behaved like a stone.

The act was terrible. but what is done is done. The damage cannot be worked on. Those little eyes looked upon me with broken expectations, enough to drown me in those tears. The pain that propelled in my heart was inseparable. The pain I caused with my deed, my negligence was never an excuse to escape.

The wrongdoing I could have avoided, brought out the agony which she could not bear. It was so inhuman for me to even tell her that. All she did was look at me and weep in silence. Her eyes were haunting my thoughts all along. Even I couldn’t celebrate the victory of my winning argument. The thoughts baffled my head and mind. Finally,  I realized how foolish I was to think of winning over a child with a statement. She was just a small girl, how could she ever even reciprocate to her mother.

The next moments were full of disgrace and shame that I could feel all over. The feeling of shame crept into my mind and all I did was weep. It was like I was captured by the devil for a moment and then as the disgrace came over and conquered my mind, the devil left my side. Emotional turmoils were boiling in my heart, all I just wanted was to run back hug her and apologize. But, yes the ego never lets you do it.

Finally, Motherhood angel swept into my heart, I felt like there was the light beyond. I took up all my courage and went down to her apologizing for “behaving childishly”. The little hands wiped my tears and kissed me. I do not know what exactly I caused to her tiny heart, but indeed her heart was big enough to forgive her foolish mommy.

At times we are so childish that, we think we can fool around and mess with our kids. Ignoring them, their simple needs, their fulfill-able demands, and requests. As they fight with us, we just ignore the fact they are little kids, they won’t understand the depth. Still, we fight with them like adults do, as we cannot surrender to our ego.

Ego, temptations, greed etc. land us in bigger sins which we might think is minute but, are bigger mistakes. The sins are committed to hurt others in an immoral way. A sin is a stimulation that leads us to commit wrongdoing to hurt someone just to win over a situation or even the outcome of a chaotic mind. No one can live with a sinful mind, there will be a moment when even the true heart inside you cannot celebrate the joy of victory that you gained with all the sinful act.

As a mom, I commit a lot of mistakes, but it doesn’t mean that I have to live a downtrodden life. The moment we overcome from the shallow minds and understand the needs of our mind, living would be peaceful. Hurting someone to gain something in life is not a righteous act.  Many people commit sins knowingly and unknowingly just for the pleasure of seconds. The greatest fears in us lead to the commit crimes that can be avoided with a simple smile or a word of apology, even a hug.

Let us wear the smile on of our face and smile from our heart. No one lives a life to win over. We all live for a purpose. A purpose to keep ourselves and our near and dear ones happy.

“The center of Sin and Pride is ‘I’.”