Brad Shotts

Dear Hope for Today, I’ve been searching for an answer to a life-long hurtful, issue. As a child, I suffered verbal abuse from both parents. As I grew from a child to a young adult, I looked for acceptance in places I shouldn’t have. Long story short, I’ve lived self-rejection my whole life. In a few years, I’ll be 70. I’ve discovered that climbing mountains with rocks on my back (so to speak) is defeating. How can I live in peace for the years I have left?

Dear Reader,

Unfortunately, what you are describing, many Christians have fallen victim to. We sometimes continue to carry weight of the past (bags of rocks) on our journey through life. Bad things that happen to us, if not properly dealt with, will continue to torment and rob us from enjoying the blessings God has for us. You may think you’ve swept it all under the rug but it always emerges later and causes problems.

Any kind of abuse we fall victim to is traumatizing and cuts deep. There are people reading this right now who have been sexually, physically and verbally abused. After the abuse stops, pain and hurt continue. If you break your arm, you go to the doctor and seek medical attention. You go through a healing process. After some time, bones heal and you are as new. The same thing happens when we hurt emotionally. If we ignore what happened, if we push pain into a closet, it is never dealt and healing never occurs. You end up carrying the burden everywhere you go, as a result.

There are steps you can take to begin healing. First, spend time in prayer with God every day. Speak openly to Him and tell Him exactly how you feel. After praying, spend time reading Psalms. This will begin the healing process. Second, find someone you trust and can talk to about what happened. This could be someone you know or someone you currently do not know, such as a pastor. It’s highly therapeutic to talk about what happened. It’s important for you to hear yourself tell your story.

Thirdly, after much prayer and asking for God’s divine help, you must forgive those who have hurt you. In doing so, you will feel the heavy baggage you’ve been carrying for so long beginning to fall away and true healing begin to come. Once forgiveness comes, we can lay down the heavy baggage at the feet of Jesus and walk away. Why is it important to forgive? Because God has forgiven us!

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) says, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.”

Father, only you can heal the heart. You see all of our hurts. You feel the same pain we feel. Touch and heal this heart today, Father. Give your child the courage and acceptance they need. Give them the strength, love and boldness to forgive. May all the baggage they’ve carried fall away in the name of Jesus. Amen.

If you would like to submit a question to Hope for Today, please send it to Bradley Shotts at

Brad Shotts is a member of the Rotary Club of Waxahachie and attends Oaks Fellowship Church in Red Oak, where he serves on the ministry team. He loves serving his community.

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