Lately, it seems like I’ve been encountering people who are supposed to be already dead coming back to life. I’m not sure if I just became aware of it after watching Now You See Me 2 on cable TV, with Atlas’s line stuck on my head: coming back from the dead is the most difficult kind of magic one could ever perform… or something to that effect.
Or, maybe because I’ve been reading The Traveler’s Gift: Seven Decisions That Determine Personal Success by Andy Andrews, where the main character travels through time to meet prominent figures in American and world history to learn a very important lesson from each of them. Obviously, these people are already dead, literally, but they’re the kind I would love to meet and learn from myself. I imagine meeting them, with the experience being fun, exciting, and enlightening.
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same thing for the other kind of dead ones that seem to have resurfaced recently too. Take for example our enemies who live next door to us. Somehow, I’ve become adept at tuning their noises that I was no longer bothered by them. Further, it has also been a while since I last saw any of them walk in the streets, much less hear their taunts. I have come to regard them as long since dead.
A few days ago, however, I saw the wretched male creature looking at our house as he passed by and murmured something unintelligible while wearing a wicked grin on his idiotic looking face. I immediately recoiled at the sight of him, and the incident ruined my mood the whole evening. It seemed all I could do then was look up to the heavens and wonder why he’s still alive. Seriously, I wish he would just vanish into thin air by some very powerful magic! I don’t think anyone would miss anything like him anyway.
Of course, the wretch must still be around because God is giving him a chance to reform, to change. That must be the only logical reason, especially that the poor soul is known to have many enemies and could really be dead anytime now. Yet, as I thought about it, something was impressed on me: Malot, instead of spending your time and energy hating this poor soul, why not pray for him? Better yet, pray for his live-in partner, the owner of the house he lives in, that she would come to her senses, get to know Jesus and follow Him…
Brilliant! If the woman becomes a true Christian, then she would most likely kick him out and hopefully, that would mean we’d finally be at peace in this neighborhood, with him gone, right? Or, she would most likely finally influence him and her lot of wretched relatives in a positive way, at least?
I think this would be the first time I’d be praying for someone’s salvation so my family and I (and the community) could ultimately benefit from it, and not because I genuinely care for the person. As you can see, I have used a few colorful words when describing the creature and I’m not even big on adjectives. And, no, I can’t even begin to call it a man or a person. I guess you’re not being blessed right now by what you’re reading; pardon me, but I really need to let it out and I need your help too–pray that I would be able to forgive fully these vexatious neighbors and trust God (and the law of the land) to deal with them.
Curiously, after this incident, another seemingly dead person has resurfaced: my eldest brother’s ex-wife. Apparently, she has saved my old mobile number and has started to contact me. Interestingly, it has probably been five years since she sent me a text message, and it was not even on a positive note. Now she’s asking me to help her. I was tempted to recount to her the past and how she continues to put in danger my brother and nieces’ lives with her waywardness.
However, something tugged at my heart and I felt compassion for her. I somehow felt compelled to help her in any way I could, except give her money. I knew it’s what my parents would do too, help her, that is. They always told me to help those who are in need, especially family members or relatives, regardless of how poorly they have treated us (and do not deserve our help). So far, I’ve only been helping her through prayers, that she would realize how much she needs Jesus to be her LORD and Savior.
Lastly, there’s another kind of dead that I wish would remain dead, but I must now simply dig up and acknowledge if I were to start healing properly and thoroughly. These are the painful memories that I had since birth, which I must recall now and write down. It’s one of the activities I must go through at Glorious Hope, a Christian recovery program that intends to “…help liberate families from the bondage of destructive hurts, habits, and hangups through our LORD Jesus Christ…”
By acknowledging my past, including getting to know my ancestors, I have begun to understand myself more, even forgive the relatives who had hurt my parents and me, as I go through the process. I have also learned to control my temper, especially around my kids, knowing now where it’s coming from and how it is triggered. Indeed, this is the only kind of meeting with the dead that could be a truly life-changing encounter, helping me deal not only with the present but also with the future.
It’s interesting that despite their differences, there is only one way to deal with these dead ones effectively: acknowledgment and forgiveness. I need to acknowledge the fact that they are real, things really did happen, and I got hurt in the process, with or without these people involved meaning to.
I also need to acknowledge that I am a sinner, I live among sinners, other sinners have sinned against me, and I have sinned against them and God, too. I need to acknowledge that as much as I need forgiveness for my sins, they need forgiveness too. No one is perfect or sinless, and I shouldn’t be so hard on others, even on my own self.
I can’t continue living in the past, thinking about what I should have done instead in certain situations, either. That means I must forgive myself too.
As I see it now, it looks like I’ve been standing by a grave for too long already, making sure that the ones I’ve tried to bury there do not miraculously rise and try to hurt me again. But by doing that, I’m actually giving them power over me, as I’m always worried about what would happen if… No, this must end now and be buried like a real dead one for good. I need to decide to forgive all these people who had hurt me or anyone in my family.
I can no longer allow their sins to occupy both my time and my mind and affect my emotions and my relationships with the most important people in my life. I have already started to acknowledge all the things–both good and bad–that happened to my family and me. Now I need to learn to forgive (fully) and move on.
I guess having the dead come back to life is a good thing then. So long as you know how to deal with them, that is. Besides, what am I really afraid of, when I know for sure that God would take care of me, not to mention vengeance is His?
(Featured image by JJ Thompson on Unsplash)