~A husband exasperatedly says, “Just let it go, already!” to his wife who is still angry about an offense he committed early in their marriage.
~A woman, angry at her best friend for some hurtful comments following her miscarriage tearfully says, “No matter how hard I try, I just can’t let it go.”
These are just two examples I’ve heard in session* recently about the challenge of letting old hurts go.
Letting things go is one of the hardest relationship tasks we all face. For Christians in general, there is even more involved in the challenge of letting go. For instance, two of the 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy (which, along with the “Corporal Works of Mercy” offer specific examples of what it means to live as a person-of-faith in the world) involve “Bearing Wrongs Patiently,” and “Forgiving Willingly.” And Catholics, specifically, have often heard the counsel, “offer it up” (i.e., use the offense as an opportunity to grow in patience and generosity), when they complain about how others have treated them poorly.
But as my post on St Gregory the Great’s counsel regarding the need to sometimes speak up shows, placing a premium on letting go of some offenses doesn’t mean that it’s never appropriate to address others. So, how do you know when to speak up and when to let it go? And once you’ve decided to let something go, how do keep it from coming back and haunting over and over again?