You may be wondering why there is so much deep rooted pain in your life, this pain can take many different forms from Alcoholism or drug addiction to sexual immorality, gambling, violent outbursts or even physical sickness. There are countless ways in which the pain from our past can intrude upon our present… and never in a positive way.
UNLESS we heal those past wounds.
It doesn’t matter if you were abused physically, sexually or emotionally, it doesn’t matter how badly you were abused or for how long. It doesn’t matter if YOU were the one abusing someone else or doing bad things in your past (who among us is innocent?) none of these things matter.
The only one thing that matters, is how do we recover from our past? How do we heal the wounds given to us by other people, or given by us? How do we move forward and not be hindered by the past? How do we break free of the spiritual, physical or emotional bondage our past has us trapped in?
There is only one way, and here it is. FORGIVENESS.
You see until we truly forgive those who have hurt us, or forgive ourselves for our actions we will NEVER heal from those wounds. We might be able to suppress them, push down those feelings by sheer will power or through chemical dependency of one sort or another… but mark my words. The hurts and pains will resurface in your life. There is nothing short of total FORGIVENESS that will prevent this from happening.
So what does it mean to truly forgive? When God forgives us of our sin, he doesn’t even remember our transgressions (Hebrews 8:12)… not because God is forgetful, but because he chooses to forget. This is the example God has given us on how to forgive. For humans, it’s much more of a struggle to forget the wrongs that have been done to us… especially when it comes to abuse from our childhood. Sometimes those memories are the most vivid of all.
So how do we forgive?
There is one way that has worked for me, and I am no expert, I am just offering you my life as an example. What I found when I went through Celebrate Recover (a Christ-centered 12 step recovery program) was that the person I had to forgive the most, was myself. For years I hated the man I had become and the things I had done to hurt others. It wasn’t until I was able to fully forgive myself and learn to love myself as God loves me that I could truly heal the wounds of my past.
So how did I forgive myself? By realizing that Jesus forgave me over 2,000 years ago when he laid himself down on that cross. You see Jesus DIED to forgive my sins… not just mine but yours too, and not just yours but all those people that hurt you in the past. He DIED for us all… and if we were worth DYING for, then who are we to hold hatred in our hearts towards those that God loves the most?
You are worthy of forgiveness, I am worthy, our perpetrators are worthy… and not only are we all worthy, but Jesus paid the greatest price of all for us. That’s how important it is to forgive others and ourselves.
Whatever troubles you are facing and no matter how deeply hurt you are, when it comes to your past it is time to leave it behind. You have probably heard the phrase “You cannot move forward by looking in the rear view mirror”. Once you discover true forgiveness in your life, the prison door will open and Jesus will shatter the chains of bondage in your life, setting you free to live a life of peace. But as in all things, you have a choice to make.
Continue to harbor the anger, hurt and pain or truly forgive and experience peace and joy. I will be praying that you make the right choice.