The Scars That Bind Us!
Some years ago in Southern Florida, on a hot summer day, a young boy decided to go for a swim in a lake behind his house. In a hurry to dive into the cool water, he ran out the back door, leaving a trail behind of shoes, socks, and a shirt. A young alligator sleeping on the opposite shore was awakened by the splashing of the boy, slipped into the water and began swimming towards him.
The boy’s father, working in the yard, seeing the danger, yelled to his son as he ran towards the dock. Hearing his father’s voice, the boy became alarmed and made a U-turn to swim towards his father, but it was already too late. Just as he reached his father who was by this time leaning over the dock, the alligator was behind with jaws wide open ready to attack.
With outstretched arms, the father grabbed his son by the arms, just as the alligator snatched his legs. This began an incredible tug-of-war between the two. The alligator was much stronger than the father, but the father was much too passionate to let go. He dug his feet into the dock and pulled back with all his might.
A farmer who was working in a nearby grove heard the screams, quickly retrieved his rifle from his pickup truck and shot the alligator. Remarkably, the boy’s life had been saved. After weeks in the hospital, his extremely scarred legs began to heal. His arms also bore deep scratches from where his father's fingernails dug into his flesh in his effort to hang on to his son.
The newspaper reporter, who interviewed the boy after the trauma, asked if he would show him his scars. The boy lifted his pant legs and showed him what the alligator had done. Then with obvious pride, he said to the reporter, 'But look at my arms. I have these great scars on my arms too. I have them because my Dad wouldn't let go. However, they are fading and the doctor says I can forget about them soon.’
Some can identify with that little boy and may have scars, mental scars that can run deep. Scars of resentment from a painful past may have caused us regret that may be hard to forget. Resentment is a feeling of indignant displeasure or persistent ill will, dislike or even hatred against someone who has wronged, insulted you, or caused you injury.
Understanding the weakness of ourselves and the four major behavioral patterns or personality groups can help free us from nursing petty grudges because of what others have said or done to us! Forgiving, conveys the idea of letting go of resentment. Learning to forgive others and loving our neighbor helps free us from the grip of the intrusive reptile of bitterness and hatred.
However, to forgive is not to condone or minimize the wrongs that others or we ourselves have committed. To forgive involves letting go of resentment. The good book says, “If YOU forgive the sins of any persons, they stand forgiven to them; if YOU retain those of any persons, they stand retained.”
Wise admonition; for retained resentment is a heavy burden to carry. It can consume our thoughts, robbing us of health and happiness. Holding onto resentment is like drinking a glass of poison and waiting for the other person to die. That’s how injurious it can be!
When you retain resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link. In contrast, forgiving others where appropriate, "they stand forgiven to them," works to our own health and happiness. By holding onto hatred and resentment, "they stand retained,” we are only hurting ourselves. With forgiveness, the mental scars heal and gradually fade away, dissolving the link that enslaves us.
Short Stories by Stephen Hall
March 2010 Steve’s Not-a-News Letter
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