Letting Go of the Past
He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross.
On December 28, 2007, dozens of New Yorkers decided to leave the past in the past. A business group and the city's sanitation department issued an invitation to bring hurts and grudges to Times Square, where recycling bins and a five-foot-tall industrial shredder were ready to dispose of bad memories. Organizers also provided stationery so passersby could write down and then shred the pain they wanted to let go of.
People came to rid themselves of everything from drug addiction to disappointing report cards to old letters, bad loans, and abusive bosses. Many people said they were letting go of anger they had held toward a person who betrayed them. An hour after the shredder was set up, a sanitation truck carted away the debris, leaving many New Yorkers with smiles of relief.
Getting rid of relational wounds through a symbolic act can be a good way to find healing. The most significant act of "pain disposal," though, is asking God for help in forgiving someone else. When we are hurt, we instinctively hold on to our pain, just as the people lined up at the shredder that day held their symbols of disappointment and anger. God alone can help us release our grip on those memories and move on.
If you were to shred one memory or hurt from the past year, what would it be?
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.