Jesus wants us to have right and loving relationships, especially within our families. He wants us to forgive everyone who has hurt us—seventy times seven times, if necessary.
He asks us not to condemn, not to hold any anger against anyone, but to replace resentment with love. In short, Jesus calls us to love others as fully as he has loved us (John 15:12).
If we were to compare these demands with our experience, we might come to the conclusion that it’s nearly impossible to fulfill them. Our human frailty convinces us that we simply cannot live out such a high calling on our own strength. Some wounded relationships and scarred memories will take a very long time to be healed. That’s why we need to turn to Jesus and ask him to give us his grace, his healing, and his transforming power. During this season of Lent, experiment with this method. Ask God to help you forgive. Give the Spirit a chance to heal your wounds.
This prayer really works. For example, one person was deeply hurt over a division between himself and some close friends in his neighborhood. He wanted to let go of his bitterness, but the pain was too great. He even developed physical pain in his arms and shoulders because of the tension in his heart. When he asked some friends to pray with him for inner healing, he was set free from his bitterness and from his physical pain! We can be tempted to dismiss a story like this as a unique work of God that is beyond what we can normally expect. But God wants us to know that he is prepared to work this powerfully in all of our lives.
Jesus wants to heal the wounded relationships of our past—especially those within our marriages and families. He wants to cover all of our resentments, hurts, and guilt with his precious blood. He wants us all to move forward, with the wind of the Spirit at our backs, in the call to become more like him and to share his forgiveness and mercy with the world.
As long as sin is in the world, we will continue to be hurt by others and even to hurt other people ourselves. The memories of hurtful situations and relationships will remain with us, but Jesus wants to heal them so that they no longer cause us crippling pain. The more we are set free from bondage to our past, the more we will be transformed into Christ, and the more we will be able to have mercy on those how have hurt us.
Invite the Lord into your memories and ask him to heal you. Allow him to set you free from captivity to old memories and move you into the healing and transforming presence of God.