And become useful and helpful and kind to one another, tenderhearted (compassionate, understanding, loving-hearted), forgiving one another [readily and freely], as God in Christ forgave you. (Eph. 4:32 AMP.)
According to Wikipedia, Compulsive hoarding is the excessive acquisition of possessions (and failure to use or discard them), even if the items are worthless, hazardous, or unsanitary.
If a fan of reality television, you may have already encountered real life examples of hoarding on the fairly recent show known by the name of those whose illness it focuses upon. In this disheartening media display, American television audiences are captivated and often times disgusted as they peer into the lives of individuals whose entire existences have been completely overtaken and consumed by the “stuff” which they once owned that now very clearly owns them. In many instances, this variation of obsessive compulsive disorder places the most vital aspects of its victims’ lives in complete jeopardy.
The homes, marriages and even children of “hoarders” find themselves taking second place to the “stuff” which these unhealthy individuals are continuously drawn to and unable to let go of.
As is the case with many illnesses, the family members of “hoarders” are just as negatively impacted as the one who is diagnosed. They are forced to step over, dig through and navigate around the massive collection of accumulated nothingness which serves only to complicate and destroy the lives of all involved.
When watching this show I experience a variety of feelings. I feel sad for these people who have so clearly lost control of their lives. I can understand their feelings of fear of letting go of that which has become so familiar and comfortable to them; clutching even tighter to that which is leading to their own destruction because it is all that they have come to know. I empathize with their state of being overwhelmed when faced with the truth that if they do not start making different choices their lives will inevitably be irrevocably altered for the worse. I can relate to their feelings of not even knowing where or how to begin.
May I now share with you that I am a recovered “hoarder?”
The collection of that which I hoarded differed slightly from the clothing, dishes, food, antiques or animals which we see people struggle with on the show. That which I hoarded was far more volatile and far less tangible. I was an undeniable Hoarder of Hurts.
My collection of hurts began to accumulate when I was very small. I was offered significant contributions to my collection by those who were most important to me. My small pile grew with me as family members, friends and fellow Christians each played their part in helping to make my collection of hurts larger and more consuming. As my hurts grew they served as the catalyst for other things to grow as well. Bitterness, anger and un-forgiveness caused me to clutch tighter to the offenses within my heart fearing that letting them go would be the same as condoning what was done, saying that it was “o.k.”
Eventually I too was faced with the undeniable truth that my collection of hurts was worthless, hazardous and unsanitary. That which I once thought I controlled and held on to by choice now had control of me rendering me unable to love, trust, or engage in healthy relationships with those the Lord had placed within my life. Others found themselves having to step over, dig through and navigate around my “stuff” as we endeavored to have meaningful relationships. I too came to a point where I realized that if I didn’t start making the choice to forgive and let go, my life was going to be inevitably and irrevocably altered for the worse.
Have you encountered other “Hoarders of Hurts?” Do you perhaps struggle with this unfortunate and debilitating heart condition yourself?
As children of The Most High God our only choice as we walk through life is to forgive. Forgiveness is the key to walking in the freedom and joy that we have been created to walk in.
We will be hurt as we journey through this life. It is undeniable and unavoidable if we are going to have relationship with others. That being truth, it is therefore vital and necessary for us to be intentional about taking each hurt that is offered to us and laying it at the feet of Jesus instead of allowing it to accumulate into a pile of junk that has the capacity to prevent us from living the life of righteousness, peace and joy that we were created to live.
Abba Father, help me to be obedient to your word in every area including the area of forgiveness. LORD, help me to lean, trust and rely upon you as you help me to do that which I feel I do not have the ability to do in my own strength. I thank you LORD for your forgiveness within my life, and that you help me to forgive others as I have been forgiven, readily and freely.