Part 2 of 4 – Getting Past Your Past… Series
With memes as prevalent as they are in our society, most people have likely seen the meme of the cute toddler (Sammy or “Success Kid”) with his fist balled, making a face that portrays intense determination, but few people know the inspiring story behind the image. Sammy was born premature, with fluid on his brain, during the same period of time that his father suffered from end-stage kidney failure. The family could not afford the antirejection medications needed after the surgery so Sammy’s dad could not be on the transplant list. Things were looking bleak for Sammy’s family. Jesus tells us that during the inevitable trails of life, we should be comforted in knowing that He overcame His trials and will show up during ours.
John 16:33 (NLT) I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”
God showed up for Sammy’s family in the most unexpected way. Using the “Success Kid” image, the family surpassed their GoFundMe campaign goal of $75,000. God blessed this family with over $100,000 in donations! Sammy’s dad got a new kidney and Sammy went on to live a happy, healthy life.
Yet, people try (and fail) to outrun their pain or hide their hurt under a smile and a “positive attitude”. These strategies never address the problem, they just prolong the suffering. When life seems too burdensome to endure, we must have patience in God’s plan and in God’s timing. Immense spiritual growth can occur when we maintain a strong faith during our difficult times…
1 Peter 1:6-7a (NLT) So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. 7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine…
Pain Is A Part Of Living
I Have Been Hurt. Nobody makes it through this life without a few scars. In fact, the bible is FULL of people who have been hurt by others. When we run from the people and things that hurt us, healing cannot happen. Healing is both a conscious choice we can make and a new hope that we can pursue.
I Have Hurt Others. Hurting others is as inevitable as being hurt by others. Often, people become defensive when called out for their wrongdoing and a defensive attitude does nothing to heal the pain inflicted. We must first own our mistakes and then use them to grow. Pray for God to heal what was broken in us and in others.
Isaiah 61:1 (NLT) The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.
Grief Is A Powerful Healer
Happy are the Mourners? Grief is the mechanism by which we “let go” of our pain and end that chapter. Without mourning and grief, it’s difficult to move forward into new and better things.
Matthew 5:4 (NLT) God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
How is Grief Healing? Grief is a deliberate choice in surrendering to the loss. Until we make the choice it is just there, unresolved, aching but unacknowledged. When we enter into the brokenness, we find that God is there waiting for us. Holy Spirit has been there the whole time. Then the work of comforting begins.
Psalms 34:18 (NLT) The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.
We need support. We cannot let go without something to hold on to. Further, grieving without support is impossible. It takes vulnerability to share one’s pain, thus beginning the healing process. Jesus and His followers suffered terribly before and during His resurrection, but then there was a new day. Grief always brings us ultimately to a new life.
Forgiveness Sets You Free
Unforgiveness hurts me. Refusing to forgive somebody of their wrongdoing is like drinking poison and hoping the one who hurt you gets sick. Nothing can heal in the presence of unforgiveness..
Hebrews 12:15 (NLT) Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.
I need forgiveness. Excuses often stand in the way of forgiveness, but how can we ask for God’s forgiveness, if we are unwilling to forgive others?
Matthew 6:14-15 (NLT) “If you forgive those who sin against you, your heavenly Father will forgive you. 15 But if you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.
How do I forgive someone who has hurt me?
- PRAY FOR THOSE WHO HURT YOU. Pray for their blessing and their relationship with God. Praying for those who have wronged us thaws the heart to forgiveness,
Matthew 5:43-44 (NLT) “You have heard the law that says, ‘Love your neighbor’ and hate your enemy. 44 But I say, love your enemies! Pray for those who persecute you!
2. FORGIVE AS YOU’VE BEEN FORGIVEN. Often we struggle both forgiving and accepting forgiveness. In remembering that Christ forgave us, we must choose to forgive others as well. Forgiveness is a gift that is equally beneficial whether it is given or received.
Colossians 3:13 (NLT) Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
3. REMEMBER FORGIVENESS, RECONCILIATION AND TRUST ARE DIFFERENT THINGS.
Forgiveness requires a mindset within me; “I am forgiven and I will forgive others.”
Reconciliation requires a relational conversation with the person involved; “How can we move past this situation?”
Trust is a process that takes time to develop after forgiveness and reconciliation have taken place; “Let’s work together and commit to righting the wrong that occurred.”
Talk About It…
- How do you typically handle the hurts that come in your life?
- Have you ever been surprised to learn that you have hurt someone? What did you do?
- What did Jesus mean in Matthew 5:4? What are your feelings about Grief in general?
- Have you ever been supported by others in a time of grief? Why do we need others to grieve? Discuss Romans 12:15.
- When you think about the people you need to forgive, who comes to mind? What is keeping you from forgiving this person?
- Why is prayer such a vital part of forgiving others? How have you been set free by the power of God’s forgiveness?