Growing up Catholic, the concept of forgiveness was deeply ingrained in my psyche. According to the Bible, if someone slaps you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also. And how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!
As an innocent girl, I tried to live up to the teachings of Jesus the Savior. And I went on turning my cheek, tried to be a nice sweet, polite girl my mother had brought me up to be. Striving to obey and respect all and sundry, particular the elders in the family, even though they did not care, forget care, they were outright abusive. I was abused physically, emotionally and sexually, and according to the Savior I was not supposed to retaliate. So I just allowed my perpetrators to be released of any responsibility, accountability, repentance and atonement. They were free of guilt or remorse as they did not grasp that had done wrong because I behaved nicely to them, pleased them and did what they wanted. I was a People Pleaser, even when they trampled on my needs and feelings. I went on turning the other cheek.
And so the hurt, pain anger, rage had to be suppressed and stuffed. I pushed the wounds deep inside me, they were covered up, blocked in my emotional right brain. The emotional wound was covered with a thick scar tissue that blocked my normal growth both emotionally and physically. Like when a tree has been cut and bruised and neglected, it grows into a shriveled, pathetic specimen. In his book The Divided Mind, Dr. John E. Sarno reveals how the interaction between the generally reasonable, rational, ethical, moral conscious mind and the repressed feelings of emotional pain, hurt, sadness, and anger characteristic of the unconscious mind appears to be the basis for mind-body disorders. Gradually I realized that unless I changed my beliefs about the world, I was going to kill myself or die prematurely.
I realized that either the people who wrote the Bible misinterpreted the words of Jesus or Jesus did not know the real world. That not resisting evil only makes evil grow, secondly we are emotional beings and being unjustly treated and abused makes us feel morally angry. We are right to protect ourselves by telling the person off or physically stopping the abuse or just walking away. When I think of the years wasted thinking that by being good and tolerating abuse would make me a saint and lead me to heaven.
How naive I was to believe that by not resisting evil, Jesus would see how good I was and would come down from heaven to save me and punish the wicked people in my life. And I waited in vain, gradually I came to the painful realization that unless I did something to help myself, either I would end up killing myself or die prematurely. It has been a painful realization that the I wasted a major chunk of my life believing something which nearly destroyed me. I could no longer accept Jesus as the savior of this evil world. The least one can do in the face of evil is not to turn the other cheek but to turn on one’s heel and get out, which I finally did. It really saved my life.
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me