Holding onto hurts keep us looking back.
“Do not call to mind the former things,
Or ponder things of the past.
“Behold, I will do something new,
Now it will spring forth;
Will you not be aware of it?
I will even make a roadway in the wilderness,
Rivers in the desert.” Is 43:18-19
We get hurt. It happens. It is part of life. It is part of the fall. It stinks. Sometimes the hurts are devastating from someone sinning against us, causing overwhelming pain. Sometimes the hurts are inadvertent and accidental, not through sin but through ignorance. Sometimes the hurts are huge and destructive to our very soul, sometimes they are small and even silly. But when we hold onto them, they keep us stuck – stuck in the past, stuck in the point of pain, stuck in the suffering. God wants to deliver us from that and bring us forward with Him. Forward into freedom; forward into joy.
No matter how big or small, when we hold on to hurts, the one who is damaged is us.
The idea behind holding onto these hurts is that we are not letting the offender off, we are not letting them get away with what they’ve done. We are, metaphorically, keeping them in a prison cell in our minds. The problem with that is that we spend the next however many years dragging them around with us, still in that prison cell in our minds. WE become the ones enslaved to this prison and to keeping them there. We actually are the ones who become imprisoned. They weight of the chain connected to that prison grows and grows until we are so entrenched we can barely even function, let alone hear the Lord and His desire to deliver us. We perform a great imitation of Jacob Marley, complete with wailing and anguish.
How can we break this pattern, smash the chain and destroy the prison?
I am not sure if we can even contemplate this until we understand the justice and forgiveness of God. We are so afraid that this other person will get off scot-free that we don’t see how we can let it go! The point we don’t really consider is that OUR holding on to our hurts has absolutely no affect on the offender. They have no clue that we are putting them in our mental prison. They are paying no recompense for their actions. It is only us who think so. But part of walking in freedom with the Lord is allowing HIM to be the Judge, and accepting His judgement in another’s life.
Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written,
“Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” Rom 12:19
The judgments of the LORD are true; they are righteous altogether. Ps 19:9b
Not trusting that God’s justice is right and good, holy and true is at the heart of this dilemma.
We know about forgiveness; we’ve experienced His forgiveness and have felt the riches and beauty of it in our lives. But there is something in the back of our minds that believes forgiveness is too easy for the hurts we have experienced. We are afraid that God will simply forgive this person who has injured us. And we think they have to suffer for what they’ve done to us. We become like the slave in the parable in Matt 18:23-35. We freely accept the forgiveness of God but require that others pay us what they owe us!
‘Should you not also have had mercy on your fellow slave, in the same way that I had mercy on you?’ Matt 18:33
If God is righteous enough to deal with OUR sin, can’t we trust Him to deal righteously with someone who has hurt us?
- We must throw ourselves at His feet and surrender our hurts, and cling to Him.
- We can faithfully trust that our hurts do not go unnoticed by Him and that His love for us is deeper than our pain and suffering.
- We can trust that, as Corrie ten Boom used to say, “there is no pit so deep that Jesus Christ is not deeper still.”
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,
casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:6-7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Phil 4:7
How does God want to free you today from the prison you’ve placed yourself in?