Baggage Handling

“The hardest thing I’ve done in my life is forgive. But hate is self-destructive. Forgiveness is healing.” ~ Louis Zamperini

Ohhhhhhhhh the past. It’s out there isn’t it? It’s helpful and it’s haunting. It’s true and it’s false. It’s decades old and it’s yesterday. And the baggage stacks up. I know a woman who was abandoned by both of her parents. Michelle’s mom changed her identity and vanished. Her father remarried and told her she wasn’t welcome in his new home. Imagine how often Michelle asked herself, “What’s wrong with me? Why am I unloved?” Still, Michelle has found a way to forgive.

We all know someone; maybe even you reading this now who struggles with a painful past. Some are victims of other people’s bad choices. Others are struggling to forgive themselves for self-inflicted wounds. But how do you forgive?

There are countless ways. I chose three. I would never suggest they are easy. They are not; the deeper the wound, the harder these are.

1. Celebrate Your Struggle
Because you went through what you did, you now have qualities you otherwise wouldn’t possess. You have been given a superpower and you can use it for good.

2. Do It for You
Make a conscious decision to forgive, not for them but for you. It doesn’t excuse their bad behavior. It does free you from the chains they put on you. Bust out of them.

3. Words Matter
Do you know someone who constantly stays in the past? This one seems like tough love, but watch your language! You are what you talk about. Don’t give yesterday too much of your today. You can’t let go if you can’t let it go.

Maybe you think what’s happened in your life is God’s fault. Maybe you’re mad at Him. You may even doubt His existence. That’s cool. He can handle it. Talk to Him, a lot. Whenever you’re ready. He’ll wait. Remember, it’s a relationship and He’s crazy about you. You’re His kid. If you have kids you know exactly what I mean.

“In the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ~ Mother Teresa

Your past is just that – past. You have an assignment – a future, a purpose. Trust Him. Trust yourself. It’s not easy. Nothing worth achieving ever is.