Get rid of all hard feelings, anger and rage.
Stop all fighting and lying.
Put away every form of hatred.
Ephesians 4:31 (NIV)
Last Wednesday, Pastor Christopher B. Wolf shared on facebook that he would be discussing the issue of forgiveness and letting go on his radio program, Walk with Me, that night. He asked for our input.
I shared I had been bitter for many years toward my stepfather because of the way he had treated me as a child and teenager. He was emotionally abusive. I carried this dead weight with me for years. It was like wearing a ten pound necklace. It was around my neck in the prayer circles and in the sanctuary. I had never surrendered it to God until about twenty years ago.
Once I did, I asked God to forgive me and help me let it go. Not only did he forgive me but he showed me the truth of the circumstances. I had wanted my stepfather to love me like a father and he could not. God helped me to see that I was expecting my stepfather to be able to show me a father’s love, but that was foreign to him. He had not received this kind of love as a child.
God also showed me that even though I had been mistreated, I had not responded in a manner becoming of a Christian. In part, I responded like any child would, but I didn’t ask God to help me in my struggle. I was too hurt and angry. All I could focus on were the wrongs done to me. For years I clung to the hurt and poured salt in the wounds by dredging up the tumultuous years in conversations with friends and anyone who would listen. It was not productive. If I had been able to let God have it (let it go), the healing process would have begun much sooner.
My stepfather and mother divorced when I was 19, but when I was in my early thirties, our paths crossed again. I had somewhat matured emotionally and so had he, but it would take a few more years for me to heal spiritually (let it go). However, we were able to show each other mutual respect that day. Now I keep him in my prayers and only hope the best for him.
In sharing with Pastor Wolf, I also realized that the pattern of holding on to hurt that I developed as a teenager still has a slight pull on me. In listening to his message, I was able to reflect on this hurt a little more and God revealed to me a few remnants still present in certain attitudes in my life today. I am thankful that Pastor Wolf’s message highlighted the need to let go of the past to let in the new.
In order to be used by the Lord, we have to let Him cleanse us daily. We have to be willing to let go of all hindrances. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.”
God has our new wardrobe all ready for us. Colossians 3:12-15 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” It is the gift of walking in the Spirit. Jesus wore it daily and led by example.
To make room for all the new, Christ-like patterns and the best that God wants to give us, we must be willing to clean out our spiritual closets. The junk, the hurts and the bad attitudes must all go. As we begin another new year, I pray we’ll all be ready to discard the old and let God clothe us with the new, His finest.
By His Grace,
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