Because sometimes the only way through, is through.
As I sat in Thursday midweek service roughly 2 months ago, I prayed for revelation. The topic was deception. Throughout bible study, I tried to understand what relevance the topic had in my life. I left midweek service that evening wondering if the message was for someone else in my life.
Later in the week, I would come across another message speaking on deception, and then my close friend would call me to pray that I would not be deceived. It was strange, but I knew that my hearing about the same issue 3 times could not have been a coincidence.
So I started digging. In my silent time, I became aware that I’d actually deceived myself into believing I’d released and forgiven people, organizations, or even loved ones, for things I’d buried deep down in my heart.
You see, if someone does the unthinkable to me, I simply delete them from my life…that’s forgiveness, right? Well come to find out, sometimes the only way through the pain is through. God challenged me to face my pain, old and new alike, so he could truly heal my heart and emotions.
Here are some ways I have learned to push past deep, personal pain.
1. Acknowledge your feelings
You cannot uproot what you will not acknowledge as a weed in your heart. Oftentimes, it’s not the major flaws that do us in, it’s the little foxes. A little unforgiveness, a little vengeance, just a little silent treatment. These are molehills that grow into mountains of bitterness if we refuse to deal with them.
2. Say what you need to say
The bible teaches us that if someone truly hurts us, we may need to pull them to the side and let them know the impact of their actions, words, and behavior. They may genuinely not know what they are doing. My sister and I also recently discussed this during the latest episode of the podcast, “A Better Way to Love”.
Ok. What does forgiveness actually look like when someone has hurt you so deeply, there is no way forward in the relationship? It looks like praying on your knees daily, trusting God to be a God of justice, believing he is able to heal and restore whatever has been broken.
Some offenses are easier to forgive than others. It gets harder when we get to physical, emotional, sexual and mental abuse. It is hard when acts of violence or carelessness take the lives of those we love deeply.
I remember when my daughter Sophia died. A healthy, growing baby, dying suddenly in the care of doctors. I wanted blood. I saw red. I wanted every license, every board certification on a platter. But then the Lord told me to let it go. I knew that seeking revenge for my daughter would result in my heart going into a deep dark place I might not return from.
Now, as God begins to deal with generational patterns of unforgiveness in my life, I realize why he didn’t allow me to go down that path. It would have destroyed me.
4. Make amends where possible
It is possible for God to renew relationships, or ask us to forget certain offenses. Some people have been called into our life, no matter how imperfect they may be. In those instances, we have to pray for the grace to walk cheerfully in God’s will, not our own.
5. Let go
Is forgiving the same as letting go? Not exactly. See, I can forgive and choose to keep a person in my life, or, I can choose to let them go and acknowledge what he had has past its season.
The hardest thing to do is to release people you care about, who have overstayed their time in your life. If you hold onto people longer than you should, the relationship could turn sour. So, learn to be a good "releaser".
Release people into their next season, friendship, or whatever the next step is on their journey.
We go through many things as human beings and each trial can be seen as an opportunity to make us bitter or better. Resist the bitterness. At different points in my life, I have found myself having to revisit my journey back to love.
Choose love, even if you have to go through the fire to get there.
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