Please answer Yes or No to the following questions:
- Have you ever been angry or critical of someone, outwardly or in your thoughts?
- Have you ever compared yourself to someone else and judged yourself better or worse?
- Have you ever placed your own interests above the interests of others?
- Have you ever broken a heart or vice versa?
- Have you ever felt bad about yourself?
- Have you ever done anything or has anything ever been done to you that you’ve tried to cover up or bury in the past?
- Have you ever been abused in any way?
- Was your innocence ever taken or given away?
- Have you ever been filled with worry, anxiety or fear about anything?
- Have you ever felt hopeless, in despair or alone?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you aren’t alone. Welcome to the dark side of humanity.
These questions are only a few examples of the countless ways we’ve hurt ourselves or hurt others. If you think back on your own life, I’m sure you can think of at least one example of a hurt or wrong in your life.
When I think back on my life, I am saddened by all the mistakes. Some mistakes were made by others and other mistakes were made by me. The ramifications of some of those mistakes lingered and affected my life. But I am overjoyed to share good news! God delivered me from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from pain to joy, from fear to love. And guess what? He wants an abundant life for you, too (John 10:10).
But how can we be free from yesterday when it still haunts us today?
It’s inevitable that hardships will come (Romans 5:3). And as much as we would like to change those circumstances, sometimes they are out of our control. But there is something that can change — our hearts. How we react to hardships reveals what’s in our hearts (Proverbs 4:23). That’s not to diminish the very real pain by those hardships. Hardships hurt. But will we let the hurt fester?
When I became a Christian, I started reading the Bible. What I discovered was the ultimate self-help book. But instead of just self-help, it revealed how God helps. Here’s one scripture I found that I still pray over myself today:
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life. Psalm 139:23-24
The verses preceding Psalm 139:23-24 contain beautiful words about God’s love for us. Because of His unfailing love, He desires us to open our hearts to Him. Jesus wants to lead us along the path of life everlasting, which means we also need to allow Him to point out stuff in our hearts that grieves Him. It’s not just the mistakes we’ve made. It’s also the residue left by the mistakes of others.
Jesus loves you so much and doesn’t want you to be a prisoner of your past.
To be free, He wants you to surrender everything to Him, including your past. Facing something painful can be incredibly hard. We need to resist the urge to bury or suppress it. Sometimes suppression feels like freedom, but it’s not. There’s no freedom in suppression, because the past always seeps out. Freedom is only found in total surrender.
That thing in your life that grieves you? Surrender it to the Lord. You may be surprised at what He reveals, at what erroneous thoughts need to be corrected and aligned with the truth of His Word. When you discover a thought, feeling, or behavior that isn’t in alignment with God’s Word, take scripture, which is alive and active (Hebrews 4:12), and speak it over your life. Will you allow the Light of the World to shine into your life? If so, prepare to say goodbye to the dark side of humanity lodged in your heart.
“I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Because you are what God says that you are! You are enough!
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Vicky Cullison is a full-time wife, a full-time mother, a full-time creative project manager and most importantly a full-time lover and follower of Jesus. She’s also a full-time food lover, a full-time animal petter and a full-time encourager. When not doing these things, she attempts to write stuff. Click here to read her Breath on Paper Bio.