We all experience setbacks and disappointments in life. Sometimes they are small ones that we shrug off or learn from, and then we move on. But sometimes disappointments have more impact. They stay with us, causing the past to haunt our present … and bleed into our future.
The setback could be anything: bankruptcy … a failed marriage … termination from a job … a poor decision … a friendship gone sour. It might be losing a parent at a young age, or the death of a spouse or someone else we cared for deeply. It could be being a victim of various kinds of abuse. Rejection, whether small or large, from parents, teachers, peers, the popular group, a crush, or an employer inflicts wounds. Unless really processed (and who can truly do that as a young kid?) these wounds will periodically be opened and ooze when we experience present day hurts. Theses hurts could be in our own lives, noticed in others, or seen in the media.
A natural tendency when we have suffered a wound is to try to place blame on someone. Perhaps we hold another person responsible. Sometimes we blame ourselves. We might even get angry with God. Anger is OK, but bitterness, revenge, or helplessness is not. These are a few signs that real forgiveness hasn’t taken place yet.
God has promised us a future and a hope. But not forgiving the offender can block our ability to experience all the freedom and healing that He has planned for us – healing for our past wounds, and worse yet, their insidious ripples. As long as we are unwilling to forgive, the hurt of the past has control over our lives, and we cannot move forward. You see, forgiveness is the salve that will soothe the wound and make it ready for the powerful healing that the death of Christ and the grace of God will ultimately bring.
Today, for some of you, it’s time to focus on forgiving those who have hurt you. For others, it’s probably time to forgive yourself. God has, so don’t be so prideful as to think you could never forgive yourself. It’s time to open our hearts to the love and forgiveness of our heavenly Father. And then you will be set free from some of your past and it will be time to move on to the wonderful plans He has for you.
Father, help me to truly put the past behind and look forward to what lies ahead. Thank You for forgiving my sins. Help me to walk in the gift of forgiveness … for others and myself. Help me search those past wounds with different lenses, those of an adult, growing in the knowledge and skills of Christ. Guide my learning and help me to apply what I learn so I can produce the good works, inside and outside, that you have prepared me for, even through those past wounds. I pray this through the one who gave his life to have my sins forgiven, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.