"It is not the experience that is still hurting us, but the stories that we continue to tell ourselves about the experience....It is so good and wise to...extract the helpful wisdom from them...the useful lessons and then let the rest go." --Melody Ross
When I play hide and seek with my granddaughter she covers her eyes and counts ....1..2..3..5..6..7...8...9 (she always skips 4) as fast as she can and uncovers her eyes before she's even done counting. I've only half-hidden myself in that time, but she stalks around the room pretending she can't find me giving me time to fully hide myself. Then she pounces on me.
We do the same thing when we allow hurt feelings to continue to live beyond their purpose. Feelings are meant to give us information about what we're thinking. Then we can find the source of our thoughts and deal with the situation properly. If they're good feelings, we're happy. If they're uncomfortable feelings we often don't want to acknowledge what we're thinking, so we hide the feelings so we don't have to deal with the thoughts. This usually works until something else comes along and pounces on us. Then the new hurt feelings mix with the old hurt feelings that have resurfaced and we become overwhelmed. At this point the story intensifies and takes on a life of its own.
It is the story Melody Ross refers to. The experience may be long gone, but the story we told ourselves about it continues to make us feel bad all over again. It's like being stuck in a sad movie that keeps playing continuously. The ending is nowhere in sight!
This is why God provided a way for us to forgive. When we forgive we can let go of the hurt because we can trust that God is working in our lives for our good because He is a just and loving Father. He writes a new story on our heart if we forgive those who caused the hurt. It's now His business to deal with the other person, because only He knows what caused that person to be so hurtful and what they need in order to change. Furthermore, by not retaliating we will be assisting God's efforts, and as we forgive, He is able to use us to "melt our enemy into kindness" by "heaping coals of fire on his head" by giving him "food and drink" (Proverbs 25:21-22) or whatever it is they need in order to quit hurting others. Sometimes, in fact, it's only kind response they need.
Father, help me be honest about my feelings so that with your help I can uncover the lies I tell myself that caused me to feel hurt in the first place. Thank you for all the ways You are helping me keep my ego in check because I know it makes up the story that keeps me from forgiving immediately. For I know that your Grace is sufficient.
Link to scripture: Hebrews 4:16