Have you suffered injustice or abuse in your past? It's quite natural to become angry, bitter, and vengeful. Over the years, my path has crossed with many suffering from the wounds inflicted by others. One plaguing commonality is the desire to somehow rid one's self of the destructive toxic inner turmoil that comes from conflicted emotional injuries. Many I've known try over and over again to halt their feelings springing up from their troubled pasts. Often the question is posed, "How do I overcome my feelings of animosity, guilt, hate, low self-esteem, self-hatred, depression, shame, and blame?" Here's something I've learned which comes to my aid often.
Put-Off is the desire and attempt to take measures necessary to remove or overcome destructive emotional thought processes. How often many say, "I am not going to hate any longer. I am not going to be vengeful. I am not going to be angry any longer because of that person." Only, many find themselves battling over and over again returning to the source of their pain.
In my own personal life, I've discovered that simply trying not to be angry, for example, is not enough. Simply attempting to remove something out of one's emotional DNA seems to create a vacuum of conflict. Another step is needed:
Put-On attempts to replace destructive feelings with more powerful positive thoughts which fill a vacuum created while trying to remove negative destructive emotions.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 1994 in South Africa. After the demise of Apartheid, South Africa was on the verge of a blood bath in retribution for the heinous acts committed by the National government against the black peoples of that beautiful country. I lived in South Africa during this incredible moment of history.
The country was on the precipice ready to slide into an abyss of destruction. However, leaders like Desmond Tutu helped the country Put-Off hatred and vengeance by replacing these emotions with another more powerful expression. Forgiveness was Put-On! When the blood shed of Apartheid ended many stood guilty of crimes against humanity. Yet, as the guilty confessed before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission forgiveness was granted by those injured, surviving family members, and the government.
In his book, The Book of Forgiving, he states, "Ultimately, forgiveness is a choice we make, and the ability to forgive others comes from the recognition that we are all flawed and all human." Never have I witnessed the Put-Off Put-On principle more vividly!
In the eve of the 1994 elections, a white South Africa police officer whom I had befriended told me, "Unless I receive forgiveness I will hang for the things I've done." This officer Put-Off his hatred by confessing to the horrible acts he committed looking into the eyes of the very black people he victimized. In return, his victims who suffered by his hands Put-Off their hatred and Put-On forgiveness! The path to reconciliation began for these two parties. Confession and forgiveness was stronger than revenge.
What about any destructive emotion that troubles you? Try replacing it the an opposite more powerful emotion. Put-Off one and Put-On another. Give it a try! You can do it!
Part One# Find Good Remember Good!
Part Two# Become the Opposite of the Which You Disdain!
Don was born in North Minneapolis, Minnesota. Having served twenty-two years in South Africa as missionaries with his wife Kathy, and eight years pastoring in the United States, he shares unique perspectives about life, family, relationships, and ministry.