Free Will and Its Repercussions
My greatest sin was not that I beat her. Those wounds would have healed. No, my sin was that I sucked all the love and trust from her so that she was never able to love or trust again. She stayed with me, because she had no choice. But in the end she became cold and hard and bitter and angry. I stole her joy. She never got it back. I made her path hard, and directed her away from more fulfilling paths she could have followed.
If she had managed to save herself from the disaster of being married to me, this weight would not be so heavy upon me now. It’s true, she had free choice. And I suppose it’s also true that we were put together to torment each other in this way; to gain the lessons therein.
We are each always free to choose our own path, but we are never free of obligation to those who cross our paths.
While we are not responsible for the feelings and expectations of others, our treatment of others and how they respond to us reflects positively or negatively upon our own journey. It colors how we perceive and are perceived by the world. This shapes our character which in turn influences our behavior. Our behavior defines our path.
We have free will. We are free to change our behavior. We are free to choose how to treat others. We are free to behave nobly or selfishly. These choices, for better or worse, have repercussions across many lifetimes. Pain inflicted upon others is not a debt quickly worked off.