Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the Lord will do great wonders among you. Joshua 3:5Those who deal with addictions, hurts, hang-ups, bad habits are often dealing with luggage from our past. That luggage is different for everyone. And OFTEN is stems from childhood. We are abused in some way or see someone we love being abused and that trauma leads into a life where we are trying to cope with it. And for those of us who make unhealthy choices, it often leads to a life that we are not so proud of. Because of someone else's sins, we enter a world of addictions and sin and choices that we will regret. Until we begin to heal that is.
During the steps for both Celebrate Recovery or a 12 Step program (or just by working with a counselor too), there is no healing if we don't address our past. And just as we need to ask for forgiveness for the choices we made and those that we hurt, we need to think about our pasts and how we need to offer forgiveness for those who sinned against us.
I believe part of purifying ourselves involves forgiveness but also reprogramming the events we choose to remember. Yes, I can choose to remember my mother passed out from too many drinks. Or I can choose to remember my mom cowering because of the abusive hand of my father, OR, now that I have chosen to forgive them, I can choose to remember how supportive my parents were of my music. And how my mother would buy me special treats at the grocery store as a child. Or how my father encouraged me to do well in my studies and would help me when I just didn't get something. Or how my father had a strong work ethic that he passed on to me.
See, I can't change the past, nor can I change the past lives of my parents and the trauma they lived through to act like this. But I can purify my mind and remember the positive. This only happens when forgiveness takes place. I am not saying those painful memories will ever truly disappear because they won't. Sorry. It's just a fact of life. But I can choose to replace what comes to my mind when I think of my parents.
The verse talks about the great wonders God has in store for me when I purify my heart. I can honestly say I would not be the person I am and have the type of relationship with my parents if I didn't go through this process. It has helped me realize they are human and not superheroes. And so I love and appreciate them all the more.
I can't guarantee that there will be a silver lining for every family, every person who enduring trauma. But Jesus still calls upon us to purify our hearts. So, I think it's worth a try.