"I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."--John 16:33
Earlier this year, Dr. Laura Schlessinger's newest book, Bad Childhood, Good Life hit the shelves in bookstores everywhere. People who have read the book have flooded her email box with words of praise and stories of how the book seemed to be written just for them. Although I have not read it, the main point of the book according to its subtitle is "how to blossom and thrive in spite of an unhappy childhood." As a regular listener of her radio program, I am certain that the contents of Bad Childhood, Good Life offer a no-nonsense approach to living a fulfilling, productive life free from anything from the past that needlessly weighs us down.
Childhood experiences aside, I think each of us needs the reminder that our past hurts cannot and should not dictate how we live in the present. Unfortunately, many of us tend to feed our selfish "woe is me" attitudes far beyond what would be considered a reasonable reaction to a hurtful event. I personally have nursed the grudges that stem from painful seasons in my life--even to the point of letting them take control of my emotions and my attitude. This is not how God wants me to live.
Naturally there are times when it is reasonable to feel hurt or upset. This is justifiable. However, when we let our emotions take over, we let them rule us and take precedence in our lives rather than turning things over to Christ. This is not to say that when we put our hope fully in the Lord that our lives will become immediately pain-free. As long as we are on this earth we will have to endure heartaches and trials that are the result of sin in the world. The hope we have in Christ can heal us emotionally and restore us, but we need to surrender our will to His. The most painful episodes of our past, the things that were done to us at the hands of others, even the shameful sins we commit out of our own selfish desires--each of these become fading scars where open wounds once festered.
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