Are you still struggling with past hurts and pain? In today’s post, Kendra Roehl of The Ruth Experience is sharing five steps to help you figure out how to let go of past hurts and pain and move forward with God’s help.
“I don’t know if I can move past this.”
I nodded with understanding as she wiped her palms on the front of her pants and let out a deep sigh, shifting uncomfortably in her chair.
As a clinical social worker who also believes in Jesus, I know the power of finding practical, biblical ways to heal emotional pain.
I’d been meeting with a client for several weeks in an effort to help her figure out how to let go of past hurts that were affecting her current relationships.
“We won’t know unless we try,” I said. “Are you willing?”
She nodded, a look of determination on her face. “Okay.”
The desire to learn how to let go of past hurts and pain is one of the most common reasons I would see people in therapy.
Everyone has experienced hurt, to varying degrees. None of us get through life unscathed. And we all need help letting go of past hurt from time to time.
And although it’s common and even normal to experience pain, we can figure out how to let go of past hurts and move forward with God’s help.
Here are five steps to help you figure out how to let go of past hurts and find emotional healing from the past.
1. Recognize that You Still Need to Let Go of Past Hurts
This may seem like an obvious first step, but oftentimes in therapy, I’ve found people will do anything they can to avoid feeling pain, including denying it exists.
But if we’re going to let go of our past hurts, we first need to acknowledge that they have occurred and continue to affect our lives and current relationships in unhealthy ways. Sometimes, we need to admit (to ourselves or to others) that we need help learning how to let go of past hurts.
Luke 8:17 says, “For all that is secret will eventually be brought into the open, and everything that is concealed will be brought to light and made known to all.” (NLT)
The idea of secrets being brought to light may seem scary when we begin to think about all the ways that we have been hurt in the past, but bringing our hurts to light is the first step toward letting go of past hurts and pain.
We can start by simply writing down all the ways we’ve been hurt in the past. After that, we can move on to the next step.
Related: How to Find Freedom From Past Sin and Shame
2. Bring Your Past Hurts and Pain to God
Scripture is clear: God cares for us and wants us to live healthy, whole lives. He doesn’t belittle or mock our pain but instead chooses to hold us close as we share all the things that have hurt us with him.
Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. –1 Peter 5:7
He heals the brokenhearted and bandages their wounds. –Psalm 147:3
Throughout the Bible, we can find Scriptures that promise that God cares for us, that we can bring our pain and worries to Him, and that he will bind up our wounds—whether those hurts are physical or emotional.
Once we’ve written down the circumstances or events that have caused us pain, the next step is to take that list to God. Imagine that Jesus is in the room with you and read to Him all the ways you’ve experienced hurt in the past. Spend a little time listening for his response.
You may need to do this more than once. Often, we want our pain to instantly go away, but learning how to let go of past hurts and healing that pain is a process. We may need to bring our hurts to God several times before we begin to see a change in how we feel and be able to move forward. Don’t be discouraged if this happens.
3. Find Scriptures to Help You Let Go of Past Hurts
God’s Word is true and offers us hope that we can cling to, but we need to remind ourselves often of God’s promises.
To do this, write out on notecards or sticky notes some favorite Scriptures that remind you of all that God says about you and how much he loves you. Hang them up around your home or place them in your purse, car, or office—wherever you find yourself throughout the day.
This will help encourage you and strengthen you as you do the hard work of learning how to let go of past hurts.
Some of my favorites reminders of how God sees us include:
Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. –Isaiah 41:10
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. –Phillipians 4:6-7
For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs. –Zephaniah 3:17
Spend moments throughout your day re-reading the Scriptures you’ve written out and ask God for healing as you bring your hurt and pain to Him. Ask Him to show you how to let go of past hurts, even when it’s not easy.
Over time, God’s Word will change the way we think and feel.
Related: Five Reasons All Christians Should Memorize Scripture
4. Share Your Past Hurt with a Trusted Friend.
Once we’ve brought our pain to God and started meditating on Scripture, the next step is to share our pain with a trusted friend, counselor, or pastor.
Sometimes, this is the hardest step in the lengthy process of figuring out how to let go of past hurts.
Maybe you feel embarrassed or ashamed about the past hurts you’ve experienced, or perhaps you even blame yourself. However, overcoming our fears and sharing honestly with someone else is an important step toward letting go of past hurts and figuring out how to heal emotional pain.
Satan loves for us to feel like we are alone in this life and in our struggles. Like we’re the only person who struggles with figuring out how to let go of past hurts. But God created us for community.
When we open up and share honestly with others, it allows them to carry some of our burden with us, while also weakening the power the enemy has over us.
So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing. —1 Thessalonians 5:16
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. –James 5:16
Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. –Galatians 6:2
We were not meant to walk through this life alone.
If we’ll allow it, our friends can come alongside and pray for us, speak truth to us, and encourage us as we journey toward healing from past hurts. In addition, the person we choose to trust with our story can often offer a perspective we haven’t considered.
Though it can be scary, figuring out how to let go of past hurts is always worth it.
Related Post: Why Christians Need to Open Up About Our Struggles.
5. Remember: Letting Go of Past Hurts Takes Time
It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t change right away, but oftentimes, learning how to let go of past hurts takes time and intention.
Don’t give up: God is there. His promises are true. And he wants to see you letting go of past hurts and finding ways to move forward in Him.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. –Deuteronomy 31:8
Do you struggle with letting go of past hurts that are currently affecting your life and relationships? What one step can you take today to begin the process of learning how to let go of past hurts and finding emotional healing?
Kendra Roehl is an author, speaker, wife, mom of five, and founder of The Ruth Experience.
After earning a master’s degree in social work, she naturally became a defender of those in need. Kendra and her husband have become well-known advocates for foster care, taking in dozens of children over the years, and adopting three.