I can think of no better time than the beginning of a New Year to think about the peace of Christ. If we ever needed the peace God sent into the world in Christ we need it as individuals and as a world society now.
I have always believed that the peace God sends into the world is in direct proportion to our ability to let go of past hurts and pains. Holding on to past hurt and pains only prolongs Christ’s coming and our eventual liberation.
I say these things because I have a few tips for you at the head of this New Year:
Do not write off hurts and pains experienced as unimportant. All you have experienced in your life is extremely important. Do not forget. Remember that the whole Decalogue is built upon our remembering. Certain religious teachers have been guilty of suggesting that forgiveness cheap. You have no doubt heard it said, “Just forgive and forget, that’s all there is to it.” This is not so. We are formed by our experiences of hurt and pain as much as our experiences as goodness and joy. Didactically, our experiences become our teachers and help us grow in ways we never before thought possible. Please, never write of your hurts and pains as unimportant. God has given all of us the capacity to learn and grow through every season of our lives. Not to learn and grow is to die.
At the same time, do not let past hurts and pains keep you from living in the present and/or into your future. How sad it is
when a person’s life ends when the one they loved, their spouse or child dies, a divorce occurs, or the unimaginable happens. We admire their love for one another. We certainly cannot understand the immensity of their loss. But to stop living, growing, learning, and loving only negates the gift of love freely received from those we have lost.
It was in some devotional literature that I read about how the eagle knows when a storm is approaching, long before it comes. The eagle will fly into some high spot and wait. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it. The eagle does not escape the storm, it simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rides, if you will, on the winds of the storm.
Past hurts and pains may just be those gifts which can help us rise, like to eagle, above those things which normally might defeat us in life. There is some wisdom in letting go, but not forgetting. There is even more wisdom in letting God, the One who liberates us from our bondage, mold us and make us according to God’s will. There is no greater peace!