Two things that I have learned in life, is that people are the way they are because of what has or hasn’t happened to them, and what others have or haven’t done to them. Take a moment to reflect on your own life, and by all means correct me if I’m wrong. Our experiences or the lack thereof effect our mind which subsequently determines our character. We do not control a substantial amount of what happens to us, but we make a choice to become who we are as a result.
Take church for instance. I grew up in a holiness environment under a Pentecostal doctrine. I come from a huge church family filled with singers, musicians and preachers. A lot of what I was raised on are elements that are ingrained into my being at this very moment. I am in no way, shape or form the saved and sanctified Christian I was expected to be, but my faith, knowing how to pray, learning how to forgive, having introspection; those are facets of my upbringing that I try to exemplify.
Nowadays, I stay clear from church. I go to an occasional service here and there, and infrequently tune into one online. I have no knowledge of any of the latest gospel songs or award-winning artists, and do not have the care to. Although I pray daily and have the Bible verse of the day plastered on my cellphone’s home screen, I haven’t worshiped in the House of the Lord since May.
Being that I was primarily exposed to “church folk” since birth, a lot of the pain I experienced at a young age stemmed from them, family included. The constant judging, gossiping, hypocritical behavior, rumors being spread… I was always under a microscope. People formed their own opinions of how a pastor’s kid was supposed to act, never once taking the time to examine their own spirituality or relationship with Christ. I proudly speak on my uprooting without hesitation, but the very same place I used to cry a sea of tears and pour my heart out at, is the same place I push away.
Hurt is hurt. It has the same effect no matter where it stems from. The reason why “church hurt” takes the toll that it does is because Christians are supposed to be set apart from the secular world. Still, when dealing with Christians, we often negate the fact that they are still human, and that following the standards of the Bible is a daily process, not a once in a lifetime kind of thing.
I give this condensed glimpse into my life to say: cleanse yourself. Do not hold onto the murkiness of your past, and forgive others the way that you want to be forgiven. We are not always our choices or mistakes, and who hurt you years ago may have changed for the better by now, and the same goes for you. Work to become the very best version of yourself, even if you have no idea how to do begin doing so. We all make mistakes. We all receive hurt and render hurt. We all make messes of our own, and we all have to clean up the ones others have made.
Sometimes, when life gets dreary, and our emotions are overtaken by our pain, we forget that we have the power to heal. I’m not saying re-enter a relationship with a toxic person, or to re-start a friendship with someone you rightfully removed from your life. What I AM saying, is that hurt people hurt people, and the majority of the time people act, they do not even realize that they’re hurting to begin with.
We often times avoid returning to the place or person that caused so much anguish in our lives; skipping the closure stage of the healing process because our stubbornness and pride tell us we don’t need to. Trust me, I understand that completely. But sometimes, doing so is the best choice we could ever make… Redemption is usually there.