James 3:6 – The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
Regret is one thing in life that can literally hold you back. You have a conversation with a family member, and it starts to spin out of control. Words fly out of your mouth and out of the mouth of the one you’re speaking to. Then out it comes – Words that you can’t take back.
There you have it. It’s engraved in stone and there’s no way to erase it. How do you get past this?
Here’s another wrinkle – What if you have no idea what you said or did that has caused this large breach in your relationship. You scan your memory banks wondering which memory is from the day you hurt the one you love.
I think a lot has to do with whether or not the person you care about will forgive you when you ask them too.
But forgiveness doesn’t mean you forget what happened. Forgiveness is for you, the one who was hurt. If you harbor bad feelings toward someone it may not upset them, but it can continue to upset you, the one who was hurt. The only way to freedom is to forgive the person who vomited out hurtful words, and then begin the process of reconciliation because sometimes there is hope and there is a way back. You can’t take your words back, but you can let go of the past and wait patiently for your family member to heal and are ready to move past the words that were spoken.
Sbs.com.au in their article, “Separated and Hurting: How to Reconnect with Estranged Family Members,” talks about how no individual is perfect and neither is anyone’s family unit. Family estrangements occur in all cultures. When trying to decide whether you can reestablish some form of conversation with the hurt party, you have to decide if it’s a good idea to open up old wounds. You need to look past thinking that you’re going to have a happy family where everyone gets along. We may need to realize that some families never reconcile.
I know this is difficult to face, but it is a possibility that there truly is no going back. It all may feel like it’s out of control. The article above also discusses steps to take if you want to reconnect such as it will take time and effort to rebuilt trust and respect. Considering family counseling may be the best choice for all parties.
Our tongues truly are a fire that can corrupt the whole body and set the whole course of one’s life on fire. That tongue may cause a situation where you can’t take back your words once they are spoken and regret may put up a stop sign preventing either party from moving forward. It is here, in the midst of the storm, that life has a chance to more forward, or where you may have to accept that your family is going to remain estranged. But there is hope. God can send out a life raft to provide a way out of the storm and find love in his presence where you don’t find any in your family.
Karen Dalske is a freelance writer, public speaker, is active in her church and writes her blogs out of her own experiences of pain, illness and loss.