I recently had a conversation with my friend about how we heal from our past emotional wounds. While we talked he shared some of his that he is still healing from. Toward the end of the conversation my friend shared a quote he had heard at a conference. The speaker said something along the lines of, “I don’t care about your past. God doesn’t care about your past. So we need to stop worrying about our past and just get over it.”
You know those times when someone says something so profound that it drives down deep into your heart? This was not one of those times. Instead I immediately felt that everything about that statement was wrong. Specifically I have two issue with this statement.
First, I do not think it is biblical. I looked for this idea in the bible and could not find it. My friend did not explicitly say that the speaker referenced a specific verse, but my assumption is that this comment is based on taking scripture like Philippians 3:13-14 out of context. In this verse Paul talks about “forgetting what lies behind.” This passage speaks to God’s promise and our need to forget our past transgressions, or sins, for the purpose of moving toward God unrestricted by them. This passage also reminds us to not lean on His past mercies, but instead depend on His new grace for today. His mercies are new every morning.
Whether your audience is one guy sitting across from you at Starbucks or a stadium of 10,000 people, you have to be aware of what you are telling them. When you step into the role of counselor, or in this case leader, what you say matters. Chances are the person is coming to you because they trust what you might tell them. If what you tell them does not line up with scripture, then stop and consider the implications of your advice before you say it. In almost every situation, “Just get over it” is likely poor advice and will only serve to make the situation more difficult.
Sadly, I know all too well that trying to “stop worrying about and just get over” deep emotional wounds is nearly impossible, if at all. There are some wounds that are so deep that they require Jesus and an intentional approach toward seeking healing. As a trusted leader, teacher or coach you must be careful in what you say because people will take it to heart.
The Truth About your past
There are parts of our past that God forgets about, but those parts are our sins, not our hurts. And to be clear, Him forgetting is not the same as Him not caring. In fact, God cares so much about our sin that He sent His son to earth to die and atone for our sin because He could not bear to be without us. That is how much He cares. In our confession Jesus, God casts off our sin. That is the extent of God’s forgetfulness.
Just as with our sin, God cares about our hurts. God does not need or want you to “just get over” your past; He wants to heal you from it and provide purpose for it. God’s desire to heal us from our past is most evident in the fact that He sent Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Routinely Jesus makes allusions to Himself being the Great Physician, sent to heal us. When speaking of the Holy Spirit, Jesus refers to Him as a Helper and the Amplified translation includes the variations on the translation of that word: Comforter, Advocate, and Counselor. If God aimed for us to “just get over” our past then the characteristic of Healer and Comforter would not have been present in Jesus or the Holy Spirit.
God cares about our hurt and even more about healing them. Our inability to “get over” our past is not an indictment of God’s ability heal it. Nor is it one of His faithfulness to us, but rather it reveals our deeper need for Him. We heal as the Holy Spirit gently moves us through the difficulties of our past, revealing purpose, intent upon us coming out the other end whole and closer to God.
Healing takes a lot of time and prayer, but take heart for “surely He has borne our grief and carried our sorrows.”