Ever notice how our culture promotes forgetting the past and forging ahead?
Take the theme song from the Disney film “Frozen.” Kids of all ages know “Let it Go” by heart. Even my two-year-old grandson sings along with the movie.
(You’re probably groaning right now because I just activated your brain into replaying it. I’m sorry.)
The message of this moving ballad appeals to us. We like the idea of tapping into our inner strength. We’re Americans. We’re independent, resilient, resourceful. The best thing to do when life hurts is to forget about it, get over it, and move forward.
Or so group think tells us.
Heard any of these comments lately?
• “I’m moving on.”
• “I’m over it.”
• “No regrets.”
• “The past is the past.”
• “Just let it go.”
The issue is almost always relationships. Going through a break-up or divorce? Just move on.
Wounded by a friend’s gossip? Decide you are over it. Slept with someone you just met? No regrets.
In other words, treat relationships as though they don’t really matter. Practice denial, emotional anesthesia, and apathy. Bury your bitterness.
Believe pain has nothing to teach you about your decisions or your character.
The cold never bothered me anyway.
Jesus promises that those who follow him will suffer. He does not ask us to deny, minimize, or redefine personal pain. Rather, he asks us to face it, embrace it, and place it in his hands.
He alone can absorb suffering and send it out of the universe.
Let’s look at a practical example. Matthew 18 offers specific steps for when someone offends us.
First, we go to them privately and explain how we were hurt by their actions. If they won’t listen, we bring in another person as a witness. If they still won’t listen, we involve the whole community of faith.
We lean into Jesus’ strength to be honest and vulnerable.
This approach is completely different than pretending the offense didn’t hurt. It requires time, effort, and courage. It gives the other person a chance to make things right.
And it leads to true healing.
Truth is, denying or minimizing suffering does nothing to relieve it. No matter what we tell ourselves, we are not capable of overcoming personal pain in our own strength.
If you’re hurting, may I encourage you?
Face the pain as real, embrace it as part of life, and hand it off to Jesus. It’s too much for you all by your onesies.
In the end, you’ll be rescued – not by retreating to an icy kingdom of isolation, but by the love that dares to rescue you from it.