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What Michael Lapsley Forgets

There is a time for anger and pain. But painful memories, be it individual or collective ones, can destroy a person or group. Only the ones who are able to face and address their anger are able to overcome it and become open to a new beginning. This insight is voiced by Father Michael Lapsley speaking from personal experience. The outspoken opponent of the South African apartheid regime became in 1990 the target of a letter bomb, losing both hands and an eye. Yet Lapsley realised:

"If I became filled with hatred, bitterness, self-pity and desire for revenge, I would remain a victim forever. It would consume me. It would eat me alive. God and people of faith and hope enabled me to make my bombing redemptive - to bring life out of death, the good out of the evil.... I am no longer a victim, nor even simply a survivor, I am a victor over evil, hatred and death." 

Arising from his own journey frorn being victim to survivor to victor, Lapsley developed a 'healing of memories' model and gives workshops to groups around the world, suffering from post-conflict memories and pain.

- Oliver Schuegraf, "Telling God's stories again and again--reflection on remembrance and reconciliation," Modern Believing, July 2006, pp. 31-42.

Source of the Lapsley quote:
Michael Lapsley, "Bearing the Pain On Our Bodies," in H.R. Botsman and R.M. Peterson, eds., To Remember and To Heal (Cape Town: Human & Rousseau, 1926), p. 21.


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