image by Forever Cowgirl
Wounds. We all have them. Deep ones that we can’t seem to get over. Not really unexpected in a world of fallen people. Wounds that stick and never fully heal. Wounds that try to tell us something about us. The wounds may come from friends or family members or anyone that touches our world. They may come from our own bad decisions that shatter our lives (see last week’s post). And they arrive by chance. Life happens. Some heal with time, but many persist. And often, the closer the wounder, the deeper the wound.
But like the quote in the pic above, God intends that past wound to be a lesson, not a life sentence. So how do we start the healing, and learn the lesson? Let’s look at four tips.
1. Acknowledge the ache. Don’t ignore it, don’t pretend, because it’s real and present. And, if appropriate and possible and safe, go to the person that wounded you and talk it over. I appreciate Jesus’ advice, “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over” (Matthew 18:15). If you caused it, then have a good discussion with yourself. 😊 If life caused it, just stay alive.
2. Forgive the wounder. Forgiveness has many layers, and their acknowledgment plays a key role. But even when they don’t, we can only put the wound behind us by having an attitude of forgiveness, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (Romans 12:18). We may not be able to restore the relationship, but forgiveness shoves the damage from the present to the past.
3. Evaluate the present. How did the wound change you? What positive lesson can you get? How can you change—in a godly way?
4. Rewrite the script. Often, when a wound from our past hits our present, we focus on the pain and loss and injustice. Those are real, but staying there merely lets the wound fester. So we rewrite the script. Instead of bemoaning the bad, we thank God for the lessons learned. For the forgiveness that flowed. For the ability to transcend the pain.
Easy? Not a bit. But the process turns a pain into a gain.
Kick Starting the Application
Think of one or two deep wounds from the past that still plague you. Why has their pain continued? How have they continued to impact you? Have you tried any of these steps with them? If so, did they make a difference? Pick out one wound from the past that you can begin to work on, and use these four steps. Consider sharing this with a wise friend, share with them what you need to do, get their insights, prayer support and encouragement.