My wife likes to claim I’m a packrat. I like to explain that I am a collector. One of the random things I like to collect are old bullets. The photo shows some of my favorites: flintlock pistol balls from the English Civil War, Brown Bess musket balls from the US Revolutionary War, bullets and balls from the US Civil War and bullets from World War I. The one I find the most amazing is a Confederate musket ball (second from the right on the top) that still carries the teeth marks of a soldier. He must have been holding it in his teeth as he loaded his musket. As I hold them in my hand I think how incredible it is that the wars that these were used in ended so long ago and yet the bullets are still here, virtually unchanged.
Aren’t these like the unkind words we say? I know that I am guilty of firing off words in anger, words that I usually don’t really mean, but that end up wounding those around me. The arguments are long since over, but the words I’ve said still linger on buried in the hearts of those around me.
The worst are those that I’ve said to those people I love the most. Those words, just like the tooth-marked musket ball, bear my personal marks. Because I know those people so well I know just how to harm them the most. Those are the comments that I regret the most and yet it seems that they are the easiest to say.
Thinking back in my life, I’ve never regretted not getting angry at someone. I’ve only regretted saying or doing things in anger that have hurt those around me. That’s why I’m striving to hold my tongue a little longer.
I’m also working on prying out those bullets that are lodged within my soul by forgiving others for unkind things they have said about me. It seems that in most cases those that have offended me don’t even remember firing off those words and yet I have such a hard time letting go of those same words. It’s as though I expect forgiveness for the things I say and do, but don’t grant that same forgiveness to others. Of course, it doesn’t work that way – in order to be forgiven we must also forgive.
One of the aspects of the atonement that brings me the most peace is that it is not just for sinners, it is for those sinned against. Not only can the Savior help us to put down our guns because He is the Prince of Peace, but He is also the Master Healer. He is perfectly able to heal the wounds that we bear because of the wounds that He bore for us.