"One of the hardest decisions you will ever have to make
is when to stay and try harder and when to just take
your memories and walk away."
I have walked away. I have done it when I should have, and I have done it simply to satisfy myself. Those times I was justified often involved situations that threatened to harm me or my loved ones, but those times in which I acted selfishly, I did so from strictly hoggish desires. And, walking away with narrow vision leaves haunting memories and permanent scars.
Sometime after purposely neglecting and hurting others I used to consider ways to make amends, yet after many years of making mistakes, I now realize some things are best left alone -- forever. Seeking atonement from others can be very selfish in itself. Many times I used to attempt to "patch up" the past not to alleviate the injuries of others but to restore my own ego. Thinking I could rectify what had already been done, I wished to clear myself of fault. Now, I realize I need to bear my own crosses. I am a sinner who will always commit my share of sin.
I don't believe that apologies and reparation are wrong. I do, however, believe sometimes bad situations should just be left alone. Perhaps, the deeper the cut a person inflicts, the more he should consider creating greater distance between himself and the victim. Rather than attempting to apply sloppy, self-satisfying redress that causes the wound to fester and potentially become worse, a guilty party should consider doing nothing. As we all know, time can be a healer,
Finding the courage to live with my sins and faults is difficult. I find myself hardening to some situations that I used to attempt to appease. I also regret the more-insensitive person I have become. Still, I have learned to understand no one can control or change another person's conceptions. At times, it is best to consider how ludicrous and hurtful muddling in someone else's past can be. At some painful junctures, I feel I must swallow all the fault, all the ugly damage, and merely walk away in silence.
I said earlier that memories and scars from selfishly walking away remain with me. And, they do. These are the remnants of relationships and affairs I deeply regret, but they are mine, a part of my endowment as a human being. The fact that I must deal with this reflection hurts me and also gives me hope. That hope lies in the belief that I can better understand my own faults by reliving memories. Sadly, I see I often repeat the same errors of judgment and fall off the same egotistical cliffs. I wonder if others are as ignorantly repetitive with their errors.
I think rather than attempting to cover my faults with some cosmetic camouflage, I have to live openly with all my gnarly features. This is not to say I should stop being a work in progress. I know I can be kinder to others. I want to be a better person. I cherish the friendship of those much more mature and wiser than I. And, still, I cannot in good faith promise never to walk away.
Not everything can be healed, yet almost everything can be treated. It is my belief that some heartaches I cause in others are best left to the treatment of someone other than me. When I am so worried about forgiveness and pardoning myself for my own mistakes, I further injure the wounded party. I should pray that they find help for treating my unkind behavior.
Expiation is defined as "the atonement for wrongdoing representing acknowledgement that relieves and reduces feelings of guilt." The English word atonement originally meant "at-one-ment," that is being "at one," in harmony, with someone. It is used to describe the saving work that God did through Christ to reconcile the world to himself, and also of the state of a person having been reconciled to God.
Often the best policy for expiation and atonement is to go directly to the person wronged and to ask for forgiveness in a sincere and heartfelt way. Sometimes, this is impossible, and, to me, sometimes it is selfish and simply wrong. I must take full responsibility for my wrongdoings as life continues. Knowing that, I must vow to go on despite my sins.
And, in these cases when I misbehave, what about the person who has been wronged? Likewise, unless the wrongdoing is extreme or has caused irrevocable damage, the wronged person has a requirement as well: they are considered to be cruel if they do not forgive the wrongdoer. Of course, I am not to be concerned about their judgments. I have enough to handle on my own plate.
Above all, I must remember God succeeds where Adam failed. And, believe me, I am much, much more like Adam than the Man upstairs.
"And I do believe in miracles
And I want to save my soul
And I know that I'm a sinner
I'm gonna die here in the cold ...
"I thought I heard an angel cry
I thought I saw a teardrop falling from his eye
"You'll never make a saint of me"