By Chaplain (Maj.) Miller Eichelberger
Have you ever felt paralyzed because of pain? What about a past pain; something very painful from your past?
If so, you understand that this kind of pain can become so overbearing that it can consume a person’s life as he or she tries to reduce and/or stop their pain inside.
In my experience as a Family Life chaplain, I often have people that share with me their past hurts. It often starts by saying, “When I was young, this hurt me” or “he or she did this to me, and I just want the pain to stop.” The common question that follows always seems to be, “Chaplain, how do I get past this pain?”
When people are struggling with past pain, I suggest that they, “Let the past, pass.”
I tell them to do a metaphorical “drive-by.” Imagine being in a car and driving through a city, let’s call it “Pain City.” When your mind starts leading you back down memory lane, and you find yourself seeing the buildings of injustice, hurt and abuse, just keep driving through.
You don’t have to stop and spend the night.
You don’t have to circle the block again and again.
You just have to keep going through and leave that town. And the key to the car used in the drive-by is forgiveness.
So, what are you doing as you drive through the city of pain? Do you circle through the town seeking revenge? Well, the best avenue is to give up your perceived right to get even. You can do this by asking God to forgive them and help you as your process the wrong.
God’s love is the road map to your healing.
But what if you are the person in the wrong? It may be that you need to turn that car around and apologize. That apology is the first step in filling that “love tank” (see “The Five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman) of all individuals involved and putting “Pain City” in your rear-view mirror.
Remember, God forgave you for all your wrongs and it is good for you to forgive, as well.
Today, receive forgiveness, and give it, and set yourself on the road to a life of the proverbial refreshing Sunday drives.
(Editor’s note: Eichelberger is the Fort Leonard Wood Garrison Family Life chaplain.)