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Thursday, June 19, 2014

When To Bury, When To Carry--The 7 x 70 Question

Turn the book over; its second title is "Caring Enough NOT to Forgive"
When do you completely stop talking about, or dealing with, something that has been troubling you for a long time?

Some are inclined to say we should never bury things, period. Stuffing things down, they say, can only make your problems worse, and they're sure to come back to trouble you later.

Others are prone to say, Let go of your past hurts and grievances in your life and in your relationships quickly, along with any angers or resentments eating at you. You can't afford to keep obsessing about things that will only make your life miserable.

When this question came up in a recent counseling session I had one of those light bulb moments that occasionally come to me when I am seeking insight and help with my clients. That maybe the answer is very simple: Bury whatever is truly dead, but keep working at whatever is still alive and needing to be healed or resolved.

In relationships, this means that whenever we ask for, and grant, real forgiveness, that both parties must agree to never bring that matter up again. In other words, bury it deeply, just as God does when we are granted amazing grace and true pardon. If the same offense reoccurs, of course, that may need to be dealt with that in a decisive way, but we don't connect it to what has already been buried.

When it comes to our negative emotion, we need to address those with the kind of truths that set us free. If we can, by faith, affirm our own worth in God's sight, we declare negative feelings of self-deprecation to be over. They are now dead. Or if we choose to let go of negative feelings of hurt and/or resentments over other people or situations over which we have no control--and do so from a position of strength--we can declare that by faith those hurtful emotions and impulses are behind us. We're done with them.  They too are dead.

So we continue to deal with our internal distresses as long as they are still alive, transforming them, with God's help and the help of others, into something alive and positive, or choosing to let them go, no longer allowing them the opportunity to make us miserable. In other words, we let them die.

Simple rule: Never bury anything alive, but never fail to bury things that are dead and gone.
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