By: Kacie Starr Long
I leaned in to get a better view as I enlarged the photo on my phone. Oh, why hadn't I examined the photo on my laptop which had a bigger screen, and would allow me to see the photo more clearly, I silently fumed.
I saw what I needed to see and I snorted. She was pretty, and him...well he looked the same and I refused to extend any benevolence or silent kindness his way.
Have you ever come across a photo or video of an ex-boyfriend, ex-husband, or former friend that made you roll your eyes in disgust, or in my case, snort like a horse in exasperation?
It had been over 20 years since I had encountered an ex-boyfriend in person, and yet it was a random photo shared by a mutual friend of him and his wife, to reveal what still remained harbored in my heart after all these years. Despite both of us, moving on with marriages, careers, families, and living in different cities; the Holy Spirit revealed how bitterness, anger, and resentment still existed in my heart, which of course prevented me from truly moving on and being at peace.
Let me clue you in on a secret - there is nothing like a social media photo or a random encounter with someone from your past, that will reveal what is truly in your heart.
Perhaps you are nodding your head in agreement with me because you know through experience, the emotions a picture, or conversation can bring; especially if your past relationship with that person was less than ideal.
Maybe it's a former friend who betrayed your trust.
Perhaps it's a jealous co-worker, who made life difficult for you; or an ex-husband or boyfriend who hurt or betrayed your trust by taking your heart, ripping it out of your chest cavity, stomping on it, then twisting it, then stopping on it again....and well you know the story.
If I am honest, I would have never (ever) publicly admitted that I still resented an ex-boyfriend. After all, I am now married, I'm in my 40's, I'm a licensed minister, and Christians are supposed to forgive, right? And there's this saying that says "the past is the past" and I should be able to bat, and wave away dismissively former hurts and pains.
Thankfully, I didn't need to publicly admit a thing. God knew my heart and used my reaction to seeing an old flame, to serve as an x-ray of what was deep in my heart.
When triggered, what shows up on your heart's x-ray?
Maybe you don't see the person or people that hurt you often, nor do you think about them a lot; but when the opportunity avails itself - whether its a random photo on social media, or an abrupt encounter at the grocery store; you suddenly find yourself annoyed, angry and resentful. It's as if all the bubbling emotions come out, and you can't help but roll your neck, stamp your feet, or suck your teeth.
If that's you, I want you to know that God has me vulnerably sharing my experience, so we both can be set free.
Despite how long ago the pain occurred, whether it was by a family member, friend, ex-spouse, romantic partner, or stranger, God wants us to experience freedom. He doesn't want us shackled to anger, pain, or resentment from those from our past.
He wants us to finally say goodbye to the painful memories, and lead a life of true peace and contentment.
I recently came across an article by New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and recently divorced Lysa Terkeurst who wrote about saying goodbye God's way.
In her article, she shares God's perspective on saying goodbye in a God-honoring way, and not in a worldly way that screams: "Good riddance!" or "...don't let the door hit ya, where the good Lord split ya" kind of way.
"It's interesting that the original phrase of Goodbye in the late 1500s was "God be with you." The contraction of that phrase was "Godbwye" which eventually became "goodbye."
Lysa then goes on to explain how we can model Jesus when it's time to say goodbye to people who may have hurt us or betrayed our trust.
She shares that when people left or rejected Jesus, He didn't respond in a huff or disgust; He instead always displayed compassion, mercy, and forgiveness.
Friend, what would it look like if we began to view individuals from our past with a "God be with you" instead of anger or resentment?
How greatly can God be glorified if we make the decision to speak a blessing, instead of a curse, hard eye-roll, and an exasperated sucking of teeth when mentioning that former friend, boss, or co-worker that did you dirty.
This isn't easy, but I realize it's time for me to bless up than diss down.
It's time for me to let go of the anger and for me to pick up forgiveness.
While I'm not actively searching for more photos of former boyfriends, or individuals that have hurt me, I'm getting prepared. Should I come across another photo, or person at a party; or painful memory that pierces my heart... I am committed to declaring a blessing over that person, photo, or memory, instead of releasing words of bitterness, and exasperation.
I want my heart x-ray to be clear. I don't want deeply hidden issues like unforgiveness and resentment to show up as tumors.
I want to be sweet like Jesus.
I want to forgive, and extend grace to people who have hurt me; just as Jesus has done for me (over and over again).
I want to say Goodbye with a smile, and not a sarcastic one.
I want to say: "God be with Ye", and really mean it.
I'm working on it, and God is working through me.
PS: This year I really want to fall in love with God's word. Therefore, I am committing to memorize scripture each week. I invite you to join me on this journey, where I will email you the scripture for the week along with a short devotional. To receive these emails, please subscribe to my blog and receive an email from me each week. Let's go deeper into God's Word this year!
Hi, my name is Kacie Starr Long. I am an author, and speaker and I love to use my voice to point people to Jesus. When I'm not writing, I'm either working out at Orange Theory Fitness or sewing. God delivered me from food addiction and I have a sewing ministry, called the Sew Hope Community Sewing Room. I am the proud wife of Alfred T. Long, Sr and together we lead a non-profit that serves prisoners and their families. Connect with me at www.InspiredOverflow.com and via my YouTube page for Christian teachings and encouragement.