False Assumptions

“Grieving is a conscious process by which we deliberately release our attachment to persons,goals, wishes, or religious systems that we can no longer have. Our attachment to these outgrown things, in fact, keeps us from connecting to new and better things that God has for us.  (2Cor.6:11-13)

Openness to the past is the way through grief, which in turn is the process of letting go of things that we were once attached to.  This letting go allows us to be open to the present.  In short, loss opens the door to new life.  You can be tied to a person who is dead, tied to a person whose love you can’t have, tied to the approval of someone who will never give it, tied to a fantasy impossible to realize.  God’s way of dealing with this is through grief, or letting go.  We are freed by realizing what we have lost, feeling anger and sadness, and then letting go.  Listen to the value that the Bible places on grieving: ‘It is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart.  Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart.  The heart of the wise is acknowledgement of grief, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure’ (Eccl. 7:2-4)

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So avoid the teaching that one should leave the past behind, for it hinders people from grieving.  If you do not grieve, you’ll be stuck holding onto things in your heart.  Instead, do as Paul did when he ‘considered everything a loss’ (Phil. 3:8)  Talk about the past. Acknowledge it. Grieve over it, as God designed.  Then let it go.  Lose it.  This death opens the door for a resurrection.  Do not fear mourning, and pay no attention to anyone who tells you that mourning the past is unbiblical.  ‘Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’ (Matt. 5:4)

There are solid biblical reasons for exploring the past-in particular, your past in your family of origin.  An important reason for understanding the past is to repent to turn away from patterns we learned in our families of origin and bring things out of darkness, understand whom we need to forgive, realize with whom we should reconcile with and those who we can love from afar.  We experience spiritual revival and repentance by understanding which ways of our parents were not pleasing to God, or each other. Conversely, when people deny their fathers, they are destined to repeat their patterns. They hurt their own children as they were hurt themselves.  Insight and confession, then, break the chain of generational sin and give hope.  Yet many feel destined to continue dysfunctional patterns because they were taught an erroneous interpretation of Exodus 20:5, which speaks of sin being carried on into the third and fourth generations.  That is a half truth, however.  The bible also teaches that God will honor any individual in a generational chain who repents, his repentance will help him break the links of that chain. ( Ezek. 18:20-22)  Much of repentance is looking at the past to see what you have learned, from whom you learned it, and how you are repeating that pattern today. Confession and repentance of ungodly family ways is a powerful dynamic of the spiritual life.

It is blatantly wrong to teach that we should just forget the past, for the simple reason that the past will one day be our entire life.  Past, present and future are aspects of our soul that need to be reconciled to God.  We cannot change our past.  But we must change our internal connections to those who have hurt us by forgiving them.  We must release our demand that they somehow make it up to us.  We need to let go of lost dreams, people and expectations by grieving them and seeking newness of strength through a ressurected perspective.”

This material was quoted from the book, “False Assumptions” by Cloud and Townsend.

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