How many times have I said that to myself when dealing with a painful situation? It's as though I minimize what was said or done simply so that I can make myself move forward in strength and maintain some sort of dignity in the process. Really, more than dignity, I want my power back.
In a way, saying "it doesn't matter" is like saying that the person(s) who hurt me don't matter enough in my personal world to be able to get to me ever again. It's a way of hardening the heart and devaluing the other, so that I have a kind of power over them inasmuch as it removes from them the ability to approach my heart.
Never again will the arrows of their words penetrate the armor I've placed around my heart. I will immerse my inner being in kevlar. I will make myself bulletproof. Becaues I have made myself bulletproof, it doesn't matter what is said or done by anyone else. They can't get to me ever again.
That's the thinking. It may not even be conscious thinking, but that's what's going on internally. And I am fairly certain that I'm not the only person who has this sort of self-talk. I daresay there are many of us who chant the "it doesn't matter" refrain in the hopes of eliminating heartache.
Reality is that it does matter. They do matter. If that were not the case then we wouldn't hurt.
Eldredge has this to say:
We must forgive those who hurt us. The reason is simple: Bitterness and unforgiveness are claws that set their hooks deep in our hearts; they are chains that keep us held captive to the wounds and the messages of those wounds. Until you forgive, you remain their prisoner. Paul warns us that unforgiveness and bitterness can wreck our lives and the lives of others (Eph. 4:31; Heb. 12:15). We have to let them go.Do you see what he said? "It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply."
Forgive as Christ has forgiven you. (Col 3:13)
Now - listen carefully. Forgiveness is a choice. It is not a feeling - don't try and feel forgiving. It is an act of the will. "Don't wait to forgive until you feel like forgiving," wrote Neil Anderson. "You will never get there. Feelings take time to heal after the choice to forgive is made . . ." We allow God to bring the hurt up from our past, for "if your forgiveness doesn't visit the emotional core of your life, it will be incomplete." We acknowledge that it hurt, that it mattered, and we choose to extend forgiveness to our father, our mother, those who hurt us. This is not saying, "It didn't really matter"; it is not saying, "I probably deserved part of it anyway." Forgiveness says, "It was wrong. Very wrong. It mattered, hurt me deeply. And I release you. I give you to God." (Captivating, 102-103)
What difference would it make in our lives if we actually believed that? If we actually believed that our hurts, our heartaches, matter? Not just because we feel them but because of something else. Something that speaks of value. My value. Your value. Their value.
Because there is something true there, too...