You know, it’s funny how we tend to forget things. When I was a child, I used to walk around our property at night and talk to God. I didn’t really realize that this was different because it just seemed natural to me. We didn’t go to church when I was growing up but I always had a knowing within me that He was real and that He cared. I would walk down the driveway at night and talk with him about all the things going on in my life and would talk to Him about the stars that He created. Later, as I got older, there were times that He would send people in my life to talk me about Him but I never really realized that until many years later when I got saved and gave my life totally over to Him.

I really wish I would have had a stronger relationship with Him growing up, you know, a knowledge about who God was and how He had spoken to His children throughout the years. I also wish that I had not gone through the things that I had gone through as a child, though I know now that it has helped me to help others and formed me into the person I am today. Things like being molested when I was 9 up until I was 12 years old. Losing my grandmother at the age of 12 who was always there for me and I loved so much because she was my best friend. My sisters and one of my brothers moving out about by the time that I was 7 years old and basically being raise as an only child, even though

I had 6 sisters and 4 brothers, I always wanted to be close to my siblings but unfortunately that wasn’t my reality. Being picked on in school and driven to a point of anger that I did the only thing I knew to do and that was to fight back and then turning to a life of promiscuity in order to fill a void that could only be filled by God. In reality, all this could have driven me away from God and I guess in a way it did, since I came to His saving knowledge at the age of 13 when visiting my brother and then quickly got sucked back into the world because I didn’t have a church home. I believe it was God’s mercy that kind of blocked me from remembering that time in my life so that I wouldn’t become seared to Him. At the age of 26, after many years of running, I came back to the Lord and started following Him with my whole heart. I was baptized at that same age and became a minister at the age of 29. As I look back over the years, I have still gone through some stuff but one thing I know, God was never the cause of my hurt, people were. One thing remains true through all of this, though there is evil in the world, (most) people tend to hurt others due to learned behaviors and not because they are trying to be mean.

Forgiveness is hard at times but we don’t have a right to hold unforgiveness toward another. It may seem that we do because hey, they intentionally hurt us but remember, we intentionally hurt Jesus and He didn’t give us what we deserved. As a matter of fact, He said “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.” I didn’t reveal all of this in order to have anyone feel sorry for me, but to show you that we all go through things and it is up to us whether we will let go of past hurts and move forward in life so that we can help others, or hold onto the past and drink the poison of unforgiveness. I say that it’s poison because you’re not hurting the person, emotionally, by not forgiving them, you are hurting yourself. There is a scripture, John 20:23 that says, whatever sin we hold onto against someone will not be forgiven a person but whatever sin we forgive will be forgiven (my paraphrase). Of course, don’t think that gives you a right to hold onto what someone has done either, because in Matthew 6:15 the Word also says that if you don’t forgive then you won’t be forgiven. I am not sure about you but I want to see Jesus face to face one day and have Him tell me “Well done, thy good and faithful servant.” I don’t want to hear Him say “depart from me for I never knew you.”

I have let go of the things that happened in my childhood because I know that it does me no good to hold onto the past and plus those that harmed me where hurting themselves or it never would have happened. I have also let go of things that have happened later in my life as an adult because again, hurting people tend to hurt people. Learn to pray for those that have harmed you in some way. It doesn’t mean that you have to hang out with them or that you become their new best friend but it does mean that God can use what happened to you to help you minister to others who are in need. I pray that my transparency helps you in some way and that you will ask God how your past can be used to help others to improve both their future and yours. God loves you and He knows, let it go.