Two days back, a concerned family brought their 10-year-old boy to our office. The parents said he was so gripped with fear. Even to go from one room to the next, he would ask his mother or sister for assistance.
My wife Ancy and I had a lengthy talk with the boy. We asked him what he was afraid of. He said he was afraid of ghosts! We enquired why he was thinking about ghosts and from where he got the information. He told us that every evening, after school, he used to play with his neighborhood friends. While playing, they talked a lot of ghost stories.
They talked about the weird thing that happened last week in such and such a place and what the ghost did to such and such a girl last year. He told them he didn’t like these stories. But the more he told them, the more they told him – about ghosts. Those ghost stories oppressed his mind. Everywhere he went, he was suspecting ghosts waiting to attack him!
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Unfortunately, there are many precious folks who are ‘haunted’ by ‘ghosts’ – not puny creatures with horns on their heads, but painful past experiences that make them quake or cry even today. It may have happened two years back, some even twenty years back. But those ‘ghost memories’ linger in their minds and keep coming back.
Now the vital question is: what is the way out? How to permanently solve this recurring problem?
Here are five helpful tips from Philippians 3:13-14 “…one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus”.
1. Accept that the past is past. Many people complain that the past is holding them. But the truth is, they are the ones who are holding on to the past! Understand that we cannot repair our past. It’s a done deal. It’s over and out. Only those who accept this truth can find true freedom from the past. Apostle Paul termed this as “…forgetting the past…” (Phil 3:13).
2. Be secure in Christ. For anything to stand strong, there needs to be a solid foundation. Christ is the surest foundation on which a solid life can be built. When everything else shakes, you stand and keep standing secure, because you are standing on the solid Rock! That’s what Paul meant when he said about his desire to “…win the prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us…” (Phil 3:14).
3. Remember to live today. One dangerous fact about dwelling in the past is that it stops people from living in the present. One cannot have the ‘luxury’ of having ghostly memories and still enjoying the blessed today. Be intentional about living today. Paul said, “…I press on…” (Phil 3: 14). It’s a now thing. It’s living in the 24×7.
4. Know where you are running to. The easiest way to waste life is to simply run without having any destination! However a smart way to break painful memories is to set your life toward achieving a specific goal. Goals bring focus and purpose. That’s why Paul said, “…I press on toward the goal…” (Phil 3: 14).
5. Look through heaven’s glasses. However long your life can be, still it is short compared to ‘heaven’s days’. We can enjoy God’s richest blessings on this earth but what God has for us in heaven is much greater and richer. Jesus is getting ready to take us home! When past ‘ghosts’ try to intimidate you, understand that they have lost their power over you since you are gripped by a glorious ‘upward’ vision. That’s what Paul meant when he said, “…God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward” (Phil 3: 14).
That 10-year-old boy needed to understand that he was not haunted by ghosts but by his own fears. Similarly, know that your past pains can’t hold you or haunt you anymore!
Question: What else do you like to add to this list for helping someone from past wounds? Add your comments here.
– – – written by Joe Abraham from www.joeandancy.com