Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.
1 Corinthians 13:4-6
Awhile back, I watched a movie called 27 dresses. It is about a young woman who is always the bridesmaid, never the bride. She has been the bridesmaid in over twenty-seven weddings. In her apartment, she has a closet that is literally stuffed to overflowing with these dresses. She refuses to throw a single dress out. Every time she looks at the closet, she is reminded that she has never been the bride. When she has this thought, she becomes sad and depressed.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a closet that caused me sadness too. It was an emotional hurt closet. In this closet, I stored up all the times someone hurt me emotionally. I piled one hurt on top of another in that closet of mine. My closet overflowed with all the hurts. I would try to keep the door shut, so that I wouldn’t see the hurts, but when someone else did something hurtful the doors would swing open. Not only did I feel the pain from the current hurt, but all the past hurts would tumble out of the closet. This doubled the pain I was feeling. It never even crossed my mind to clean out my hurt closet. I just simply kept tossing more and more hurts in there. Until one day, the doors of my bulging closet wouldn’t close at all.
I couldn’t put it off any longer; I had to clean out my closet.
The pivotal moment came when a friend of mine hurt me one time too many. She was going through a really rough time. I became collateral damage in the war zone of her life. I had stopped all communication with her because I didn’t want to keep being hurt over and over again. Our lack of communication caused a ripple effect in our family and friend’s lives. No one knew how to handle the situation and it was causing stress for everyone. I was praying desperately for the Lord to tell me what I should do about the situation. I knew that He didn’t want me to bear the brunt of her pain that was causing her to behave in hurtful ways. I also knew that I had to set up healthy boundaries in the relationship.
I kept adding the continued hurts that she tossed my way into my closet. Every time I tossed a new one in there, I saw all the old hurts that were already hanging up. This amplified the new hurt. It was beginning to get harder and harder to close the doors of my closet. It often seemed that I stayed in a perpetual state of hurt during that time of my life. Pretty soon, I felt like everything everybody was doing or saying was hurtful. It was no longer just my friend that was doing hurtful things…everybody was.
When I was at my lowest, God answered my prayers. There was only one thing to do. I had to forgive my friend – completely.
The only way this could be accomplished was for me to do some Spring Cleaning in my hurt closet. With God by my side, I waded into that overflowing closet of mine to begin throwing away all the old hurts that were hanging up in there. The more I forgave her, the easier it began to toss out those hurts. He also showed me that my expectations of my friend were unrealistic. She was not in a place where she could be there for anyone. She was in survival mode. I had to accept her where she was in order to remain in relationship with her.
My responsibility in all of this was to not collect hurts in a closet again – not to keep a record of the hurt. Instead, when I feel hurt by someone, I need to immediately take my hurt to the Lord. He wants to take this burden from me.
God has transformed my hurt closet into a forgiven closet.