Sunday, March 21, 2010

Dealing with a Past that Hurts

I KIND OF FEEL UNQUALIFIED TO WRITE on this topic but God has led me indirectly to it and I now feel compelled to begin; to explore it. You see, I’ve had a past with plenty of hurts like many people but I feel it’s rather null and void because of the skills of forgiveness that God’s enabled me with; this is his doing and nothing of my own. None of my hurts have lingered the way they have done for some others.

I think part of the reason for this is I grew up in a safe home and my first taste of neglect or abuse came in the workplace. So, I was probably ‘baggage free’ at least until that point, more or less.

It’s so obvious to me that there are many who, no matter how hard they seem to try, “can’t” escape their past hurts and envelope that wonderful and necessary reality of forgiveness and healing.

Added to the pain of not being able to forgive others, is the heart-rending pain of not being able to forgive the self. It can seem hopeless... healing, a distant, unreachable dream.

We forget too easily the role of foreboding truth.

I hear you say, ‘What has truth got to do with forgiveness and healing, come on?’

It’s actually pivotal.

Where we want to get to is a place where the past will no longer threaten; where we can willingly go back there, reminisce and feel entirely at peace—and even experience joy. No matter the past hurts or the extent of them, this is a possibility for everyone. God is bigger than any hurt. His powers of grace encroach over the hurt, empowering us to forgive.

Let’s get back to the truth... Jesus said, “the truth will set you free” (John 8:32b). This is no vacant, hit-and-miss promise. It’s spot on every single time.

The truth—regardless of its pain—saves us. To break through that diamond-hard veneer through into the nuclei of the experience itself is but Step 1—yet a crucial one. Using a baseball analogy this step is the reaching of first base, safe and intact.

Anyone who knows anything about baseball knows that getting to first base is often the hardest thing to do, especially when pitted against a sharp fielding side.

Now at first base, getting around the rest of the baseball diamond of our emotional baggage is made easier because of faith. So, in sum, truth gets us to first base—courage facilitating truth—and faith gets us the rest of the way around—courage facilitating faith.

The process all the way around the diamond in truth and faith, fuelled by courage, is not a short one—the time period is non-negotiable. Healing, the fullest sense of it, doesn’t occur miraculously as many suppose. But, we all have the perfect motivation to become more fully healed, don’t we?

Lack of self-forgiveness usually blocks feelings of pain that can’t be stood. We bear the pain and are healed or are defeated by it, denying it. Yet, push past the pain in a selfless ‘I don’t care’ attitude of courage and you’ll find the pain is—as described above—simply a veneer. Its bark is far worse than its bite.

Reminiscing is good as the past—once it’s dealt with—can’t hurt us. The past, once it’s reconciled, can only augment healing and peace. Yes, that’s right. That hurtful past is necessary for us to go on and more fully become a true person.

This process of healing happens most effectively, in and through Jesus Christ.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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