For years I carried a hidden wound inside of me. I pretended that it never happened. Every time that a memory would pop up, i would tell myself, “That never happened. It was just a dream.” I buried it deep to the point that today I struggle remembering if some things really happened. I didn’t know it, but even though I had buried it, it was still affecting my life, my thoughts and my actions. Beneath all the layers I had covered it in, this pain was festering and affecting my relationships, my job and my walk with God. Every once in a while someone would say something or be in a situation that would touch that nerve deep inside me, and it would send me on an emotional roller coaster.
One Sunday we had a man named Dave Roever preach at our church. His face and hands were disfigured from a phosphorus grenade that went off as he was trying to throw it in the Vietnam War. One of the things he said was, “Some of you look like me on the inside.” I was pretty sure he was talking to me. Then a little later he said, “Don’t be afraid to show your scars for in them others will find their healing.” Immediately I knew what I had to do. I felt God ask, “Are you ready to deal with the problem?” So I began uncovering this deep wound layer by layer, exposing it, dealing with it, seeking forgiveness and allowing God to heal it. My life began to change for the better.
Hebrews 12:1 says, “As for us, we have all of these great witnesses who encircle us like clouds. So we must let go of every wound that has pierced us and the sin we so easily fall into. Then we will be able to run life’s marathon race with passion and determination, for the path has been already marked out before us” (TPT). What wound do you need to let go of?whats hidden deep inside of you that is affecting your life? It’s not easy, but it needs to be opened up, dealt with and healed. Only then can you truly run your race well. God wants to set you free and to heal it, but you have to remove the layers you’ve put over it. Once it’s healed, the scar will remain, but it won’t be as painful. Then, as you share your scar with others, they will find their healing too.
When you’ve been hurt by someone, you can either forgive them or you can hold a grudge. Holding a grudge makes you look at the chain reaction of what they did to you, and then blame them for how you ended up where you are. It creates “if / then” statements in your mind: “If they hadn’t done that to me, then I wouldn’t have been in this miserable place in life.” Anything bad that happens in your life gets blamed on them. Your mind becomes consumed with how bad things are, and you create a perpetual cycle of a downward spiral.
When you forgive someone for hurting you, you set your mind free. You no longer give that person power over you and the direction of your life. You are no longer consumed by the bitterness that creeps into every area of your life. You no longer dread waking up each day, and your perspective changes. You can look back at that moment and see how God used it to get you where you needed to be. You also quit despising the life you have, and begin to see it as a blessing.
If anyone ever had a reason to hold a grudge, it was Joseph. His brothers beat him, threw him in a cistern, and sold him as a slave. That event took him away from all he had known. His freedom and all he had were taken from him in an instant. He was accused and spent years in prison because of their betrayal. Bitterness could have linked it all together and made him hate his brothers. Instead, he chose forgiveness, and God blessed him for it.
Forgiveness is about remembering we aren’t perfect ourselves. We make mistakes and hurt others too. God wants us to give people room to make mistakes and then to forgive them. Colossians 3:13 says, “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others” (NLT). If you’ve held onto a grudge towards someone because they’ve hurt you, let it go and forgive them. Quit giving them control of your life and your mind. I’ve found that when we choose to forgive and give it to God, the things that have hurt us the most often become the things God can use the most effectively.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
If you’ve interacted with people in your life, you’ve been hurt by someone at some point. The people closest to us seem to hurt us the most. When we get hurt, the easiest thing to do is let that pain turn into hate and bitterness. We want to hurt them back worse than they hurt us. If we’re not careful, the pain inside of us can consume us. I read a story this week of a 73 year old who found a high school classmate and killed him because of how he hurt him over 50 years ago. He lived his whole life wanting revenge for the pain this person caused him.
In Genesis, Abraham’s son Isaac had twins, Jacob and Esau. Esau was very hungry one day and Jacob had prepared a meal. He asked for some of it, but Jacob made him pay for it with the birthright which meant he would inherit his father’s wealth. Later, when Isaac was about to die, he summoned his firstborn Esau to bless him. He sent him out to kill something wild and cook it first. Jacob found out, and beat him to it. Esau hated Jacob for it and wanted to kill him. He let the anger consume him and the only way to console himself was to plot revenge.
In Genesis 27:40, Isaac told Esau, “You shall live by your sword, And serve your brother; However it shall come to pass when you break loose [from your anger and hatred], That you will tear his yoke off your neck [and you will be free of him]” (AMP). If you’re still carrying the pain from someone hurting you, it’s time to break loose from it. Get their yoke off your neck. Forgiving them is the way to do that. Ask the Lord to help you. I know personally this is easier said than done. It’s a process that starts with you forgiving in your heart first. The pain will go away and a scar will remain, but you will be free.
It’s Free Friday! What are you going to let go of today? What’s holding you down that you need to be free of? Today’s the day you can make that choice to let go. To celebrate the last Free Friday of 2013, I’m giving away the “Circle Maker” Bible Study DVD. Keep reading to find out how you can be entered to win it.
The day after Christmas is one of the busiest days of the year in the retail world. Everyone is out returning what they got for Christmas. Either it didn’t fit or they didn’t like it, so they returned it. Today, you and I have the same opportunity in our lives. We have the choice to send back the things that we don’t like in our lives and exchange them for the things we want. It boils down to a choice that you make. You can hold onto the things you don’t want in your life and accumulate a bunch of junk that weighs you down or you can return it.
This is the last Friday of 2013. Each of us have picked up things in our lives this year that we don’t want. Each of us have had things happen that we didn’t see coming. Each of us have held onto something too long and it’s keeping us back. In order to make 2014 the year we want it to be, we have to let go of the things that are holding us down. You can’t pick up the good things that will come your way if your hands are full of the things you’d rather return. You can’t be free unless you let go of the things that are keeping you in a self imposed prison. You make the choice to stay locked up in the past or to be free to receive what the future holds.
I’ve got a closet full of things that I’ve never returned. I didn’t want to offend people by returning their gifts for what I really wanted. Every time I look in my closet, I see things that were given to me that I don’t like. They are hanging there taking up space and collecting dust. The same is true of the closets in our lives. It’s time to clean them out and make room for the new things God wants to give you. He doesn’t want us to look into the closets of our lives and see regrets. He doesn’t want us to be thinking of the things that could have been. He wants us to exchange them for what He has to offer.
Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on The Lord releasing the weight of it and He will sustain you (AMP).” He doesn’t mind you returning the things that weigh you down or hold you back. He wants you to release the weight of those things that are holding you back and He will strengthen and support you. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus tells us to go to Him when we’re weary from carrying the things that hold us back. Give them to Him and take His yoke. In The Message, Jesus says, “I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.” What He gives fits and is perfect for you. Get Free today by exchanging the things in your life that you don’t want for the things He wants you to have.
In order to win “The Circle Maker” Bible Study DVD, go to my Facebook page for Devotions By Chris here and “like” it. I will choose a winner at random December 28, 2013 from the names of people who have liked the page and post it on my wall. If you win, private message me how you would like to receive it. If you know someone that needs to hear this message, please repost or share from your own wall.