As I prepare for the next phase of my life, I realize that many wounds still exist from earlier personal experiences. The past has an uncanny knack of showing up at the most inopportune moments – like when you are trying to focus on something very important (like work, for example), or while praying (that’s important too), or even when you’re trying to relax. Old memories that seem like they occurred only yesterday impose their presence with little warning.
Then the feelings flood; what you thought was a done deal resurrects itself in your bosom. Why did I think that comment no longer bothered me? When will I stop feeling this way? I don’t want to cry now – why are my eyes stinging and burning NOW?
I usually surrender to the feelings/memories, but only briefly. I remind myself (sometimes out loud) that it is time to move on, and that God has already fixed it. I will murmur to myself – “When are you gonna get past that?” I may even whisper a prayer on behalf of the person (or on my behalf) and invoke God’s wisdom, healing and deliverance. I will also ask Him if there is something else I need to do or say to liberate my spirit.
Getting past the hurt, disappointments, injustices and pain may take a long, long time. Forgiveness is definitely a progressive work. I may be able to forgive A (i.e. a person or situation) today, but it may take another 3 months for me to forgive B. As much as our very spiritual friends may try to tell us otherwise, God is walking with us through this journey from bondage to true liberty. He will not abandon us as we face our daily giants and, like David of old, pick up our smooth stones and swing our slings to kill them and gain new freedom.
As we rid ourselves of these obstacles, our healing begins to take place. We can genuinely face some of these people, smile at them and hold a decent conversation without it becoming a tongue-lashing session or breaking out into a fist fight. We can chat with them freely without dreaming of slashed throats or imagining ourselves behind bars. REAL TALK!
Sometimes we are given the impression that forgiveness and healing means we can resume life “as usual” before the breach in our friendship/relationship with that person. Nothing could be further from the truth. If that person has not sought help or it is not safe to resume “business as usual” then you can love them from a distance. What matters is within our hearts there is no place for hate, arrogance or vengeance on the matter. We have voluntarily placed our hearts in the blessed hands of God and we are allowing Him to mend the broken pieces back together. Rage begins to melt away, and we may even realize we had a part to play in the mess – or we are 100% innocent and cannot take on any guilt or blame legitimately.
Healing must come before we experience complete freedom. Deliverance can happen in stages or all at once, but it never happens without our conscious efforts and deliberate actions. To say to that person “I forgive you” is part of your deliverance. To let him or her know you were hurt but you chose to forgive and move on is an act of freedom. No longer can that situation or that person hold you hostage. They cannot “rent space” in your heart or mind anymore – after all, you should be in control of your thoughts and feelings, correct?
Are you ready for complete deliverance? Are you looking with longing at what lies over on the other side of your current situation? Take my hand, friend; let us walk together through this difficult, thorny path to healing and freedom, one step and one situation at a time. It will be well worth it in the end.