When others have hurt us, offended us, or caused unwarranted grief or pain, how are we to choose to respond? I think we all know we’re supposed to “forgive”, “do unto others” no matter what has been done unto us, pray for our enemies, and thank God for trials of many kinds. And all that stuff we learned in Sunday school.
But what do you do with the pain? The pain that comes from loving too much? Forgiving, being kind, praying: none of that seems to take away the hurt that comes along with broken relationships and shattered dreams.
Sometime in high school I read a book called Passion and Purity by Elisabeth Elliot. While the book was seemingly meant for teenage girls in the throes of infatuation and subsequent heart-breaking angst, it resonated in a much deeper, spiritual way for me. If you decide to pick it up, I’ll warn you: it’s a pretty deep read.
Chapter 13, entitled Material for Sacrifice, is only four pages long, but a very hefty four pages, offering a solution for the pain that makes so much sense, but is very unrecognized by today’s standards: LET IT GO.
Quit hanging on to the hurt. Quit allowing it to fester. Make a split-second decision to be done with it, to move on. Refuse to harbor the bitterness and anger, further allowing those toxic emotions to brew in your life. And in a second fell swoop, give it to God. Like an Old Testament sacrifice, put it on a proverbial alter to Him who understands perfectly. God considers this to be an acceptable sacrifice. It’s giving Him the broken pieces, so that He can put it back together.
The most simplified way to state it: LET GO and LET GOD. Sometimes I have to do this multiple times with the same problem, but making it a disciplined practice is part of life, I suppose.
The C. S. Lewis quote, above, is in the first pages of Elliot’s book, and is a good reminder that we can’t escape this roller coaster we call life on this side of this earth. I guess it’s all in how we choose to enjoy the ride.