Clean Slate

Overcoming a Painful Past

By Linda Canup
  • January 01, 2015

Was 2014 tough for you? Were there painful moments you just can’t seem to come to terms with? Or maybe your hurt occurred a long time ago, but you never experienced closure with the issue.

In this month’s From the Pastor’s Heart letter, Dr. Stanley tells a story about how he realized he had unresolved pain from his past and how God used it to teach him about His love. He also shares these four tips for overcoming a painful past:

  1. 1. Be honest with yourself (Psalm 51:6). Don’t try to ignore or deny the truth of what you are feeling. Our tendency is to try to ignore our past and bury our pain. However, if you don’t face what God wants to reveal within your heart, you’ll continue to suffer the harmful effects of these damaging emotions.

  2. 2. Stop blaming others (Psalm 51:3-4; Col. 3:12-13). As long as you find a reason to shift the responsibility to someone else for whatever is missing or wrong in your life, you delay God’s healing. Even if your hurts run deep, it is vital that you forgive anyone who has wronged you (Col. 3:12-13).

  3. 3. Ask the Lord to heal the broken places in your life (Jer. 17:14). Specifically name each area and confess any sinful responses to these emotions. Then cooperate with God’s healing process. The Holy Spirit will restore and transform you into Christ’s image as you yield to His authority.

  4. 4. Realize that emotional healing takes time (Psalm 25:4-5). You can’t simply decide not to feel those painful emotions anymore. God will work steadily and lovingly to help you overcome your hurts so you can become the person He desires you to be and accomplish what He’s called you to do.

Life isn’t easy. We will experience pain, loss, and difficulties, but that doesn’t mean God wants us to suffer. As Christ told the disciples, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

The miracle that God performs is that He turns our mourning into gladness (Psalm 30:11) and our grief into joy (John 16:20). No matter what happens this year, we pray you receive great gladness and joy from the Lord and rest in His promises and love.

Dr. Stanley talks more about overcoming past hurts in this month’s From the Pastor’s Heart letter.

Related Topics:  Mercy  |  Forgiveness

6 Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.

3 For I know my transgressions, And my sin is ever before me.

4 Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight, So that You are justified when You speak And blameless when You judge.

12 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;

13 bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.

14 Heal me, O LORD, and I will be healed; Save me and I will be saved, For You are my praise.

4 Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me Your paths.

5 Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."

11 You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; You have loosed my sackcloth and girded me with gladness,

20 Truly, truly, I say to you, that you will weep and lament, but the world will rejoice; you will grieve, but your grief will be turned into joy.

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