Friends, we might need to remind ourselves, talk about the inner life, and nothing is more “inner” than a wounded self — a person who has been damaged to the core by wrongdoing. Miroslav Volf’s The End of Memory (chp. 4) discusses the wounded self and healed memories.
Perhaps it is good to consider such a topic during Advent, for it is a time of hope, peace, joy, and love.
Here’s the danger of being wronged. Our memory of the wrong may lead us to “name” our self and identify our self by the wrongdoer. One of the central dangers of being wronged is what it does to our identity.
Memory is not just passive; remembering is something we do. What we do is either beneficial or detrimental.
Here’s his major point: the goal of memory is to redeem our memories. How can we redeem our memories?
1. We have to attribute meaning to the wounds by integrating them into the overall story of our life and identity. There are, of course, some wounds that are “horrendous” and all we can do is “label” them and assign them to a memory file.
2. We learn to shape our story and our self by our identity in Christ rather than the identity that tempts us through the wrong.
3. We can learn to create new possibilities by shaping our story and self in light of God’s final future and promise. God’s promise to make all things New can create new possibilities for us as we learn to live in light of that promise. We can live “into” that promise.
4. But, no healing can be complete until we are reconciled. Why? Because the self who is wounded is by nature a “social self” in search of social reconciliation and love.