A&E’s show, “Hoarders”, is one of those TV shows that literally draws me in. The psychology behind this obsession intrigues the medical part of my mind. As I was watching this show the other night, I started making the connection between hoarding earthly possessions and hoarding emotional heartbreaks. It made me wonder why we tend to hold on to some of the most painful hurts in our hearts?
Are you a heartbreak hoarder? Do you keep those personal hurts safely hidden away? Sometimes heartbreak is something so hard to let go of, we tend to bury it somewhere deep; a place inside of ourselves that only we can access.
I took inventory in my spiritual storehouse and found that I have indeed been holding on to old hurts. I find that when we bury these unhealed heartbreaks, grudges that blend harmoniously with anger, guilt and resentment tend to grow in their place. This is definitely not the lesson I want to teach my children!
Ephesians 4:31 tell us, “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.”
There’s the whole issue of forgiving others. And in some ways I think many of us have done a great job in being able to forgive the wrongs done to us by others. At least we know that we should forgive others who have sinned against us. Even kids know that they are supposed to forgive those who sin against them. But not all heartbreak is based on something which was done TO us. Sometimes heartbreak comes in the form of a sin WE have committed. A sin which, to us, may seem so large we have been unable to forgive ourselves. I think we call that, “guilt”.
Guilt operates because God has placed within us a conscience. The Apostle Paul said, it is built-in and it “bears witness with our thoughts, alternating and either accusing or excusing” our actions. Rom 2:14-15.
When we are born, we are programmed to sort out right and wrong. When that conscience kicks in, our memory bank sorts through our failure, and like a computer virus, it re-surfaces and torments our emotions. And if we do not have a forgiving covenant relationship with Christ, it can grind away on us until we feel as guilty as we did when we committed the original deed. Thus, it runs in an endless cycle of forgiveness, despair, comfort, and emotional madness.
What a vital concept it is to teach our kids that we are forgiven through Christ–no matter what! How do we know that? Because God’s Word says so — “therefore if we have been buried and resurrected with Him in baptism – our “old body of sin (or body of death) will be done away with, that we no longer SHOULD be slaves to sin”. Rom 6:6
Many hoarders feel that the moment they discard the items that they are holding onto, they will lose a piece of themselves in the process. We Christians who struggle with holding on to emotional heartbreaks can rest assured that through grace, we have been made new creatures! We have nothing to lose other than guilt, anger, resentment and regret itself! Jesus sets us free. Let go of that pain. Forgive yourself…because God has already forgiven you!