Making Peace With Your Past

When was the last time you ran into someone you preferred not to see? What thoughts went through your mind and what emotions did you feel? How did you handle it?
We all have people like that in our lives. In fact it happened to me just recently. I was surprised at my reaction. Stuff from the past I had either forgotten or thought I had dealt with surfaced. I found myself swallowing hard, composing myself and mustering up the grace to make friendly conversation. But there was a reserve in my heart and a measure of self protection that was unsettling for me.
Afterward I could not help but sense that God had engineered the encounter to get my attention and that it was not a mere coincidence or happenstance that I was faced with relating to that particular person. In fact having just given a message (Connecting the Dots) about the Jewish patriarch Isaac making peace with his past, I had been sensitized to the necessity of that process in my own life.
Isaac’s story in Genesis 26 of his conflict and rejection at the hands of Abimelech, king of the Philistines, is really not unlike any of our stories when our relationships with people go south. It thrust him into a season of adversity and adjustments that God ultimately used for good in his life. My previous blog posts on “Connecting the Dots in Adversity” and “When Adversity Forces a Defining Decision” chronicle that journey.
What I discovered when I gave my message was that Isaac’s story was not complete without the closure God forced upon him after he had settled and forgotten all about Abimelech. Abimelech shows up unexpectedly, accompanied by both his personal advisor and the commander of his army. Talk about an intimidating encounter and one that Isaac would have preferred to avoid. All of the past hurt and personal offense surface immediately and Isaac reacts with “Why have you come to me, since you were hostile to me and sent me away?” (vs. 27) He wasn’t as adept at hiding his emotions as many of us can be when confronted with the remembrance of past wounds in relationships.

Making Peace With Your Past Read More »