It could take pain to get to know oneself. We all have a part of ourselves whom either we do not know or we do not want to acknowledge. This part of us was formed by some wound or unhappy event in the past. Because of that, we ourselves could be oblivious about this fact or if we do know it, we want to cover it up completely. Therefore, if this area is exposed, it is natural for us to experience pain.
In such a case, we normally react in the following two ways. One is denial. We commonly deny saying, ‘You are not right about me.’ or ‘I am not that kind of person.’ We make excuses like, ‘I had some good reasons to act in such a way.’ Etc. We always have many good excuses. However, as long as we have excuses, we cannot see our problems correctly. That is why theproblem would not go away and stays there.
The other common reaction is retaliation. When someone point out my problems, it could bring shame to me. Usual response is, ‘Ha, who do you think you are? Do you think you do not have any problems? I can see that you have worse problems than me. Who are you to judge me?’ I think that is a fairly true statement. We are weak and we all have problems. We can see others’ problems but not our own. In such a case, how can we point out others’ problems and argue about it? However, the point is, as long as we react in such a way, we cannot see our own problems. That is why we cannot change after many years.
We all have a deep rooted fear about criticism and review. That is why we have to fight against our own natural tendencies of denial and retaliation remembering that is our natural reaction. We need to learn to accept the truth without excuses. Also, we need to fight against our normal reaction of retribution. Often, it is painful, but it is the first step toward seeing our own problems objectively and toward being healed. Once I realized that I myself reacted according to the above two patterns, for a while, my prayer was ‘not to make excuses nor retaliate in my mind when I was criticized.’ I am not sure how long I have prayed about this, but it seems that I am forming a new habit.
It is always painful to acknowledge my problems. House church should be a place to experience the pain of seeing oneself. Please do not make excuses nor retaliate. When you can see yourself objectively, the healing will take place and a freed self emerges.
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