Conflicts are literally the way of the past. Conflict often arises when our minds are focused on the past: we bring to bear stories of grievance, injustice, and victimhood by which we are then held captive.
It’s not that these things didn’t happened. We may have been deeply wronged and damaged and may genuinely still be carrying the wounds of what has taken place. Being told to “get over it” or “move on” is counterproductive to the healing journey.
The grief must be shared and received, and those who have been wronged must be seen and heard and received.
And yet, the stories we tell about our having been wounded can also be used to justify our own wounding actions, thus perpetuating the sins of the past through the present into the future.
In the Jewish Passover ritual, the story of the ten plagues is read, and with each plague, a drop of wine is spilled. A tear is shed. Says Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, “For a moment, we allow ourselves to think of the victims of our victories, the pain of the other side, who were enslaving us, but they were still human and they were still suffering. It’s when you can feel your opponent’s pain that you’re beginning the path that leads to reconciliation.”
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