This post concludes the series of posts on Emotional hurt and forgiveness. The first two posts:
Recap from previous posts
Forgiveness is humble love. The purpose of forgiveness is to restore the broken relationship with the repentant.
The Measure of Forgiveness to the Unrepentant: You are not obligated to forgive an unrepentant, but you are obliged to have a willingness to forgive the unrepentant. To have the willingness to forgive means to be ready for any possible reconciliation and not to repay evil with evil, but pray for him/her to repent. To be willing to forgive does not meant to forgive.
The Measure of Forgiveness to the Repentant: You are obligated to forgive the repentant. Cancel his debt. Restore the broken relationship.
God is willing to forgive the whole human race, but He forgives only the repentant. We must imitate Him.
Let’s return to our current post.
The Power of Past Hurts over the Soul
Women are experts at safely keeping past hurts deep down there, and then label it “a no-go area”. To their detriment, they keep these past hurts as treasures.
There was a time in my life when I suffered intense emotional pain. The people close to me whom I trusted, hurt me deeply. The negative impact of abuse on one’s psychological and emotional being is huge. In that season, I cried out to God for help. I did not leave my abusers, neither did I ask God to free me from the pain and the abusive relationships, rather, I asked Him to help my heart to love and reject any evil seed of bitterness, unforgiveness and hatred. I wanted to overcome evil with good. I prayed continuously for my tormentors. I prayed for their well-being and repentance. God did strengthen me. I rose above evil. I suffered evil but did not become evil, rather, I was strengthened in love.
You must not copy my example because everyone does not have the same measure of strength and grace. My advice is this:
If you are married to an abusive spouse, you are not permitted to divorce him on such grounds, but you can and must avoid closeness with Him. You can choose not to live under the same roof with Him till he repents, but you cannot divorce Him. The LORD Jesus does not permit divorce except on grounds of adultery. If you divorce on the ground of abuse, the devil has won over your soul.
If your parents or family relatives are abusive, you must not also stay close to them. Love them, but do not stay close to them nor should you trust them.
God answered my prayer. My tormentors repented of their evil ways and I forgave them. However, my heart was no longer the same. I did not notice that during the years of torture, I had built a wall of protection for myself. Out of fear, I worked hard to keep some of their sins in mind to keep watch for any future possible abuse. “If I completely forget the bad things they did to me, how will I detect and protect myself from any similar forthcoming attack?” I would not let myself forget some events of the past.
It was such a huge burden keeping all these past hurts in my head. It gained a large space in my permanent memory and eventually I became a slave to it. A little idleness, and then boom, the thoughts starts replaying itself. Throughout the day, I walked with dead thoughts. Initially, I worked hard to keep those thoughts fresh in my mind, but later, the thoughts came involuntarily without any efforts. That was when I realized I had become a slave to the past. I no longer had control over my thoughts. Those who offended me were free as the wind, but I had become a slave. Double sufferings: the past pain, and the mind slavery. I called on God for help.
Why Bury Hurtful Memories
To bury hurtful memories does not mean you must forgive the offender. It means you are setting yourself free from the grip of the offender. It means you are freeing your mind to be able to serve God with all your mind. It means you are setting yourself free from the cares, worries, and troubles of the world that wars against your soul.
“Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you by surprise” (Luk 21.34).
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind” (Mat 22.37)
How to Bury Hurtful Memories
To bury your past hurts, you must first forgive the repentant or have a willingness to forgive the unrepentant offender.
When I call on the LORD to free me from the slavery of my hurtful memories, I received some lessons from Him.
- I learned to put my trust in the LORD as my Shepherd to keep my heart pure and safe. His rod chases away wolves, and His staff guides me.
- I learned to cast my cares on the LORD.
- I asked the LORD for wisdom to discern all spirits and know whom to entrust myself and heart to.
- I decided to forget the past hurts and continuously reject any recurring thoughts of the past.
- I kept this scripture, Luke 21.37, in my heart, to watch out not to fall a victim again to this fleshly and evil trap. “Constantly be on your guard so that your hearts will not be loaded down with self-indulgence, drunkenness, and the worries of this life, or that day will take you by surprise” (Luk 21.34).
Be wise as the Serpent. Know whom to trust. Know what measure of trust to give to everyone. In my opinion, I will beware of everyone who is not a Sheep of Christ. To be wise as serpents does not mean to continuously watch out for bad deeds of others towards you. To be wise as serpents means to be careful not to trust anyone who is not a sheep of Christ.
Watch out for all earthly cares and worries. They war against your soul. “Throw all your worry on him, because he cares for you” (1 Pet 5.7)