When good people experience bad things

Updated: 2011-07-21 16:22

By Huang Shuo (chinadaily.com.cn)

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Fourth, at some point in our healing process, we need to decide to get on with life. If we don’t carry on, then we’re choosing to let our offender win, and we’re choosing to be our offender’s victim. While this can be difficult to hear when we’re in the depths of a painful experience, being a "victim" is a choice, it’s a mental state, and it can be terribly crippling.

Usually when people struggle with life's hurts and pains, thoughts of revenge enter into their minds. In the heat of the moment, many arguments can be made to seemingly justify getting back at a person, but is it the right decision? Acts of revenge are never considered a consequence. Revenge is one type of offense being exchanged for another. People who harbor desires for revenge are people who struggle with the aspect of forgiveness.

While talking with a close American friend, our conversation took on a more serious note. She began to share with me her situation of a serious internal family conflict between her and her brother. The situation had become so difficult my friend was considering buying a gun to use against her abusive drug-addicted sibling, if necessary. Her hurt was real, but the use of a gun is not a solution, for the act of pulling the trigger and ending the life of her brother would haunt her in years to come at every family reunion, family wedding, family birthday, or family holiday. Her drug-addicted brother would end up owning her emotions from his grave. There are many people in serious situations like my close friend, and it's for this reason I share her story. In this particular case, and as I advised her, my friend's solution lay in forgiveness, then seeking out a local "safe friend" in the law enforcement or legal community who could help her establish safe legal boundaries with this sibling, until he gained control of himself. For my friend, her boundaries might take on the form of cutting him off from his drug source by giving him jail time. This may sound extreme for a family member to do, but remember, "Better alive in a cell, than dead on the street!"

Inevitably, life sometimes really hurts, but there are positive solutions that empower us to live life to the fullest in spite of our wounding. We may change friends, and distance ourselves from reckless and immature associations, but we can bounce back, we can smile again, we can laugh, and we can rise above our circumstance. In the end, the final decision should be made by ourselves.

The author can be reached at larryhuangshuo@gmail.com.

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