Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Letting Go of Past Hurts

Life is full of hurts. People let us down. People leave us. People hurt us in many ways. I have had my share of hurts, and once hurt, it can be a challenge to let it go. For some reason we hold on to this hurt, and let it affect us for long periods of time. But the hurt we hold on to does no good in our lives. In fact, it weighs us down. I know that in my former church I had some people who hurt me deeply with their words and actions. It took a long time to let it go, and until I let it go, it pulled me down.

One of the challenges of the hurts we hold on to is that often we have limited ability to resolve it. We can try to be reconciled to the person, but if they don’t want to be reconciled, then the conflict hangs over us. We are challenged by how much or how little we are able to fix the hurt. Depending on the nature of the relationship to the person who hurt you, you might not have much opportunity for resolution. So we carry around this unresolved issue.

What are we to do? I believe there are two things we can do: first, we can forget about it. Until we are given the chance to bring resolution to this conflict, or hurt, we need to forget about it. The only thing thinking about it will do is get you all upset again, and lead you to have angry feelings towards this other person.

Second, we need to learn how to forgive. Jesus, when He was on the cross, uttered these words: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Jesus understood that the people who were hurting Him, killing Him, didn’t really understand the reality of what they were doing, because they didn’t understand who Jesus really was. Likewise, those who hurt us don’t have the concept of “relationship.” Jesus commanded us to “love one another as ourselves.” When we seek to hurt someone else, we are not being loving.

So we forgive for two reasons: one, because in the complexity of life, people truly don’t understand the fruitlessness of hurting others. So we forgive them like Jesus, because they do not know what they are doing. But even more importantly, we forgive them so that we can let go of this hurt in our own hearts and minds. Forgiveness allows us to let go of it, and give it to God. We can know that God will take care of it, instead of us thinking we have to.
Letting go is difficult in many ways, but important for our mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.