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Pointers along the way #389

Overtaking our past
- Jacob Ninan

A sizeable part of who we are now is the result of what we experienced in the early years of childhood. Our personality has been partly moulded by what we observed from our parents and other caregivers in those days when we were not able to analyse what they did and said. We stored it all in our memory without differentiating right from wrong, and now, years later, our behaviour is strongly influenced by those (hidden) memories. Our self-image also depends to a great extent on what we felt they thought about us.

Even well-meaning parents are imperfect, just like we ourselves are now! If they haven't told us we were useless, they may have compared us unfavourably with our siblings or someone else. They may have shown us love only if we were good. They may have tried to motivate us towards better performance but ended up making us feel that we were never good enough. Some of us may have had major experiences of neglect or abuse. Now we may be withdrawn, having buried our talents in the ground (Mt.25:25), or we may be always trying to prove to ourselves that we are really someone to be reckoned with. We may be seeking to get from our marriage partners the acceptance and appreciation we missed in childhood, which drives us to dissatisfaction and unfulfilled expectations. We may be upset with God for making us like we are, and not like someone else we admire, and for allowing us to go through traumatic experiences. Such unhealed wounds from the past hinder us from being what we can be, and spoil our relationships now with other people and God Himself.

But the truth that sets us free is that in God's eyes we have no comparison and we face no competition for His favour from anyone else (Is.49:14-16). He created us as unique individuals with our own set of strengths and talents. If He wanted us to be like someone else He could have easily made us that way, but He wanted someone exactly like us in every way! He has also watched over us as we went through hurtful events in our life, with compassion in His heart and confidence that He will one day turn them around to work for our good (Ro.8:28,29). Many times the pain we have gone through and the subsequent comfort we have received equip us to comfort others (2Co.1:3,4).

It is the increasing knowledge of God as who He really is, and our relationship and fellowship with Him which is becoming stronger as He touches us through His word and Spirit, that can heal the wounds of the past and equip us to be what God wants us to be and to accomplish what He wants us to. The confidence that we belong to Him and that He valued us so much as to give up His life for us gives a true sense of self-worth. This will naturally transform our relationship with other people also. We can blossom to become the kind of people God had planned for us to be before we were even conceived (Je.29:11). We can begin to enjoy life and also bear fruit that can bless the others and glorify God (Jn.15:8).


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