Hello again! My name is Terry, and I’m so glad you’ve chosen to join me once again in our study of “Healing the Hidden Wound.” We are ready to begin Session #6 in this series, in which I want to talk about the need to refocus on the future.

Refocusing on the future simply means that you get your attention off the hurts of the past, and focus instead on God’s purpose for your future! I’m sure that many of you have, and perhaps still are seeking therapy; although seeing a Counselor is good, there is a danger in many therapies. If those therapies are not based on the truth of God’s Word, they may actually be harming you more than they are helping you! Many common therapies today are what we call regressive--that is, they totally focus on the past. Now, I agree that it is necessary to deal with the past, but once you deal with it, what do you do then? Do you come to the realization that because of all the “stuff” that has happened in your life, nothing will ever change for the better? I don’t remember a whole lot of what I studied in my High School Chemistry Class, but one thing I do remember: in a cell, for every negative charge, there must also be an accompanying positive charge. You might be wondering, “What does that have to do with this?” It simply means that we take those negative aspects of our past, work through them, and find an accompanying positive aspect that will allow us to shape a healthy, purposeful future from it. Regressive therapy is like trying to drive a car by looking into the rear view mirror! It will eventually bring you to the point of exhaustion, and instead of getting better, you’ll continue to get worse!

I believe in therapy that looks forward; therapy that is designed to give a future, and a hope. One of my favorite verses of Scripture is found in Jeremiah 29, verse 11, which says, “For I know the plans I have for you”--this is the Lord’s declaration--plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Okay, so how does God plan to do that, you might ask. Well, God clearly tells us clearly how to get rid of painful memories; here’s the Biblical approach. It’s found in the Book of Job, chapter 11; God gives us three things that we need to do. (1)“Put your heart right, (2)reach out to God, and (3)face the world again, firm and courageous.” He then adds the result of doing those three things: “Then all your troubles will fade from your memory like floods that are past, and remembered no more.” Let’s look at each of those three steps a little bit closer.

First, He says put your heart right; that means you do what is right! Whether that other person involved in your hurtful circumstance does the right thing or not, you do what is right! That means whether or not they ask for forgiveness; whether or not you ever get their approval. It doesn’t really matter! You don’t need their approval to be happy, and if you’ve not gotten their approval by now, chances are you’re probably not going to get it! Understand that you don’t need it in order to be happy! It says, put your heart right; that means you do the right thing, regardless of what your ex, or your husband, or your dad, or your mom, or whomever it was that hurt you did, you do the right thing.

What is the right thing? You forgive them. You say, “I don’t feel like it!” Let me be a bit straightforward when I say “Grow up!” So what if you don’t feel like it! Grow up! A true sign of maturity is when you do the right thing, whether you feel like it, or not. People who do only what they feel like doing, well, there’s a word for people like that: im-mature. Immature people just do whatever they feel like doing. Mature people do the right thing whether they feel like it or not. So, put your heart right; release, forgive, and do the right thing.

Secondly, you reach out to God. You need to invite Jesus Christ into every room in the house of your heart. Some of you have invited Christ into the front door, but He’s still standing there in the foyer! You need to invite Jesus Christ into every room in your heart. You need to say, “Jesus, I invite You into the bedroom of my heart, because I have many painful memories in that bedroom. Jesus, I invite You into the kitchen, and into the dining room of my heart, because there are many painful memories in that dining room. Jesus, I invite You into the living room of my heart, and into the garage of my heart, where I also have many painful memories.” You see, you’re not going to get well if you just leave Him in the foyer! It’s not just a simple matter of saying, “Yeah Jesus, come into my life!” Invite Him to come into every area of your life, and fill each area with His love and His peace.

There is really an amazing story from the life of Jesus that illustrates this truth. One day, Jesus walks by a man who’s been paralyzed and crippled for years. Jesus looks at this man, and says, “Do you want to get well?” Now, doesn’t that kind of sound like kind of a dumb question?” “Do you want to get well?”--are you kidding me? But Jesus asked the question because He knew that a lot of people really don’t want to get well! Why? Be-cause it gives them the excuse to blame other people for their unhappiness! It allows them to play the victim role, which some people get quite good at! It’s scary to get well! You’ve got to be willing to accept responsibility, and say, “I’m not a victim any more!” It’s a choice, one that starts with asking Jesus to come into every area of your life in which bad things have happened. It gives you the opportunity to start looking ahead.

Thirdly, and lastly, you’ve got to face the world again. That means you don’t withdraw into a shell. You don’t build up fortress walls, and say, “I will never let another man/woman ever hurt me again!” You make a choice to be vulnerable, even if it means that the possibility exists that you may get hurt again! I know, that sounds very threaten-ing, but the fact is that if you choose to never let yourself be vulnerable, you cease to live, and cease to love, and eliminate the opportunity to be loved!

If you take these three steps, you’ll find that your troubles will begin to fade from your memory! Wouldn’t you like that? The principle is this: the way you forget is to refocus. You refocus on something better, and it causes you to forget the bad. “Look straight ahead with honest confidence. Don’t hang your head in shame.” Your past is not your future! No matter what you’ve done, who you’ve done it with, how long you’ve been doing it, or where you’ve done it. So what? It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, it only matters where you’re headed!

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