There are so many things that will hurt each of us in life. You will never be able to control what others will or won't do. However, you can control how you will respond and you can control how and if you heal from the wounds of life.
[featured-image link="null" link_single="inherit" single_newwindow="false" alt="How To Wage War On The Hurts Of Life"]Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/aaronescobar/ (Creative Commons)[/featured-image]
Last week I discussed the 10 life changing reasons you should forgive everyone that has ever hurt you, but I did not cover how to actually go about healing from those hurts. Truth is, forgiveness is only one part of the healing process.
I have learned, and am still learning, that there are multiple steps to healing from your hurt. Some of my learning has come from pastors, preachers, and books. The other, from life experiences and my journey to live in a place of peace and forgiveness. The key with any of the methods to healing lies in the power of choice.
[Tweet "The key to healing lies in the power of choice."]
A power only possessed by you.
One thing that I've learned, is that choosing to heal is very much like going to war. It hurts, it's scary, and not everyone will agree with it.
Another thing I've learned, and have been surprised by, is that the length of time it takes to heal has absolutely nothing to do with the size of the wound.
The idea is that you, and I, will come to know these choices so well that they will become second nature to us; like tying your shoe or breathing. In doing so, you will be able to heal from little white lies and profound betrayals in the same way and in the same time.
So, as I mentioned earlier, everything rests within the power of choice and I've boiled it all down to 3 choices.
1. Choose forgiveness.
I know this seems like a "duh!" statement, but you really do have to make the choice to forgive those who hurt you. In a recent post, Pastor Perry Noble, discussed a situation in which he felt anger and unforgiveness rise up in him over an offense that happened 30 years ago.
He describes emotions that I imagine you and I have felt towards an offender and a list of reasons why they don't deserve forgiveness. In his post, Perry says that he would never tell someone to "just get over it!" and I wouldn't do that either. However, I will tell you that, you are faced with a choice, in the face of your emotions, of whether you will forgive your offender.
Choose forgiveness. You won't regret it.
2. Choose responsibility.
This may seem odd, but you have to accept your responsibility in the offense. I know what you're thinking, "but Kenny, I didn't do ANYTHING! They hurt ME!" You're probably right. But, if there was anything you could have done differently to change the situation, then you need to own your part. Even if it's 1% your fault.
The other part of choosing responsibility is owning how you have allowed yourself to think and talk about your offender. You may have thought something like, "I hope the same thing happens to them so that they will know how it feels" or even thoughts of hate or murder. I won't pretend to know what has happened to you, but I do know that you, and only you, can control your thoughts. Are they producing healing or more hurt in your life?
We also have a tendency to talk to as many people as we can about our hurt in an attempt to bring people over to "our side" of the situation. I know that I deal with this and it's hard not to want to "rally the troops". However, if the intent of your heart is to win the person to "your side" and not to get wisdom, counsel, or healing, then you probably should keep your mouth shut.
3. Choose love.
I almost called this one "choose control", but I think love captures it better. This is the choice you have to make everyday.
Here's why, if you allow yourself to be stirred up about past hurts and let them affect your decisions, then you just gave control of your life over to your offender. I don't know about you, but I don't believe that anyone should have control of my life but me!
Choose to love your offender. This doesn't mean that you let them off the hook or that it never happened. It means that you don't wish terrible things on their life (if you do, did you really forgive them?). If you have experienced pain of any amount, why would want to wish that on anyone? Remember, unforgiveness, if left unchecked, leads to bitterness.
Also, choose to love yourself. This doesn't mean that you get to be selfish or live life constantly over-protecting yourself from people (cause that's freaking lonely!). It does mean that you don't have to put yourself in that same or a similar situation again.
So, will you choose to wage war on your hurt? Will you choose the freedom that will come from your healing or will you choose to be a prisoner of war in the camp of unforgiveness? I pray you choose freedom!
[Tweet "There is freedom in healing."]
I love war movies and few are better than Braveheart. I'll end with this quote from Mel Gibson's character, William Wallace, just before going into the Battle of Sterling.
Aye, fight and you may die. Run and you'll live -- at least a while. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days from this day to that for one chance, just one chance to come back here and tell our enemies that they may take our lives, but they'll never take our freedom!!!
[reminder]What choices do you make when forgiving someone? How do you make it last?[/reminder]