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  • Dear Slavic Christian, do you want to forgive those who hurt you but don’t know how?

    Dear Slavic Christian, do you struggle with feeling bitter due to pain that you’ve experienced in the past that you may not let go of?

    How long do you want to hold on to it? Are you willing to let it go and forgive the person that hurt you?

    If you’re willing, I’d love to help. 

    One way I encourage clients in my practice to heal bitterness from past, painful trauma is by letting them know to bring it to the Lord. I know it sounds counterintuitive since people might say, “No, that’s not enough, you always have to go and confront the person directly.”

    Yes and no.

    If the individual that hurt you is willing to talk about the pain, is loving, patient, kind, and validates your story, do so. 

    On the other hand, if that person inflicts even more pain when you express your vulnerability and sorrow to them, it’s okay not to bring it up around them anymore, especially if you’ve already tried and nothing changed. 

    So what does it mean to bring it before the Lord and surrender the pain?

    It goes something like this…”Dear Lord, my heart has experienced a lot of pain in the hands of [this] relationship. I want to talk to them, but every time I try, I get rejected and my pain gets invalidated. I feel guilty for even bringing it up. I bring my wounded heart before you right now and pray that you take this pain away. Please cleanse this wound with your love and help me move forward knowing that I’m already loved and accepted by you. Help me forgive that person the way you forgave me as you died for my sins on the Cross. Help me set healthy boundaries and speak up for myself as well. I want to have healthy relationships because I don’t want to look at all my relationships through the lens of this hurting one. I trust that you already have victory and will help me move forward, amen.”

    When you pray in faith, asking your Father to heal your heart and forgive them the way He has forgiven you, the Bible says, He who is faithful will forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness, in this case, bitterness and unforgiveness (1 John 1:9 ESV).

    Relationships were supposed to be filled with love and reflect the love that the Father gave us. So even in these painful moments, He allows pain to take place so we could look to Him instead of idolizing our need for relationships that may try to take His place. 

    Some might ask, “How can that be? Why would my relationship with my parents, [spouse, children, friends, etc.] hurt so much? Why why would God allow that? Aren’t I supposed to honor my father and mother?”

    Let me ask you a question as well, ”Has there been a time when you idolized and valued your father and mother more than you valued your relationship with Christ? Maybe, just maybe, God is allowing all of these rough storms to take place in your relationship with them so you could turn your heart back to Him. He doesn’t do it to hurt you. He does it to make sure you know who is the most important person in your life. As you seek Him, I can only imagine how your relationship with others will heal.

    …Or maybe as you seek him, you can finally let go of the other destructive relationships because you will start to understand that you’re loved and valued by Jesus.