Living the Word of God

Dealing with Old Wounds – Relationships 102

A skeleton is the result of an old wound embedded deep within your spirit caused by an earlier confrontation left unresolved. What you did to comfort the wound becomes the skeleton you hide in your closet. It’s time to resolve the issues that bind you and break the cycle of accumulating skeletons in your closet by dealing with the wound. If you are ready for the next level in your life, this is for you. Are you ready for this?

One of the things people dread the most in any new relationship is opening up old wounds. We all have them. Some people have been together for years without ever dealing with them except to say “we don’t talk about that.” If I attracted your eyes in such a way that created an interest in you to meet me, how would you feel if I begin listing all of my skeletons up front? I think that would be the first and last date we would have, am I right? Even if all the other conditions were perfect, you, me and everyone else tend to run away from skeletons. The reasons why and the solutions to avoiding skeletons vary. Maybe that’s why you don’t find out about them until you are past the point of no return – in love. But guess what? You were chosen as the perfect one to heal the wounds that create the skeletons within your relationship. How do I know that? Because the Lord God brought you both together at the same place and time and dropped that spark of interest, curiosity or whatever you want to call it, on you to develop an interest in that person. You have the key to unlock the door and free them from their skeletons by healing the wound.

Now David’s son Absalom had a beautiful sister named Tamar. And Amnon, her half brother, fell desperately in love with her. Amnon became so obsessed with Tamar that he became ill. She was a virgin, and Amnon thought he could never have her. But Amnon had a very crafty friend—his cousin Jonadab. He was the son of David’s brother Shimea. One day Jonadab said to Amnon, “What’s the trouble? Why should the son of a king look so dejected morning after morning?” So Amnon told him, “I am in love with Tamar, my brother Absalom’s sister.” “Well,” Jonadab said, “I’ll tell you what to do. Go back to bed and pretend you are ill. When your father comes to see you, ask him to let Tamar come and prepare some food for you. Tell him you’ll feel better if she prepares it as you watch and feeds you with her own hands.” So Amnon lay down and pretended to be sick. And when the king came to see him, Amnon asked him, “Please let my sister Tamar come and cook my favorite dish [fn] as I watch. Then I can eat it from her own hands.” So David agreed and sent Tamar to Amnon’s house to prepare some food for him. When Tamar arrived at Amnon’s house, she went to the place where he was lying down so he could watch her mix some dough. Then she baked his favorite dish for him. But when she set the serving tray before him, he refused to eat. “Everyone get out of here,” Amnon told his servants. So they all left. Then he said to Tamar, “Now bring the food into my bedroom and feed it to me here.” So Tamar took his favorite dish to him. But as she was feeding him, he grabbed her and demanded, “Come to bed with me, my darling sister.” “No, my brother!” she cried. “Don’t be foolish! Don’t do this to me! Such wicked things aren’t done in Israel. Where could I go in my shame? And you would be called one of the greatest fools in Israel. Please, just speak to the king about it, and he will let you marry me.” But Amnon wouldn’t listen to her, and since he was stronger than she was, he raped her (2nd Samuel 13:1-14 NLT).

How do you tell someone interested in you (on the first date) that you were raped? Or that you raped someone? That’s a big skeleton. Our natural inclination is to hide this fact hoping that the subject never comes up. But it will and does. The Bible says: “For everything that is hidden will eventually be brought into the open, and every secret will be brought to light” (Matthew 4:22). You may not know it but as you go through that relationship, you wear guilt and condemnation by hiding this skeleton. Instead of fully being able to love that person, you are withdrawn, holding back the fullness of the love you are capable of giving. And if that skeleton ever comes out, depending on how it comes out, you will find a way not to talk about it. In some cases you become defensive because you are ashamed that it happened to you. Reactions like these have a negative impact on your relationship and with pressure, that skeleton becomes so big that you find an excuse to end the relationship – even if it’s with your soul mate. So what do you do?

Most people lie about their past until you reach that point of no return – you fall in love with them (or commit to them). Then the closet door swings open exposing all of their skeletons. It’s weird how some people can have just a few which turns out to be really big ones to you or so many little ones that you just want to run away. Then there are some people who will ask you to reveal all of your skeletons so early in the relationship (like on the first date) that you have to wonder about their motives. If you tell them everything too early, they don’t want anything to do with you, skeleton. If you lie to them they won’t want to be with you because you are a liar, Skeleton. And if you avoid the question and not say anything, they will become suspicious and never trust you, SKELETON! As you can see, each of these situations could create skeletons, with each growing in stature.

Time doesn’t heal all wounds. Emotional wounds need to be brought out into the open, talked about with someone who cares and who are willing to help you resolve those issues. If you ask me, it should be that person who you are sleeping with. (I’m glad you didn’t ask me.)  And once you decide on a course of action, leave your baggage and walk away from it. There are a few ground rules to take into consideration when trying to resolve your emotional problems.

Emotional wounds were caused by someone and it takes someone to help you resolve them. Some people go through counseling. Others have friends with a patient ear and godly wisdom. Still some are able to take a good look at themselves, and by the power of their will, they are able to leave the skeleton behind not letting any emotions surface whenever the topic arise. Regardless of the path you take to resolve the issue(s) the underlining fact is that someone motivated you to do it and someone will help you achieve it – that is if you are really wanting to resolve your issues and live in peace.

My ex-wife left me about a week before Thanksgiving one year. I came home from work and found everything gone. She didn’t even leave a note. To this day, I still don’t know why. I worked hard and provided for my family. She was a stay at home mom. I didn’t lie, cheat or physically abuse her. I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs. I believe I was diligent at being a father and provider for my family.  For years I couldn’t talk about my family or think about my kids without crying. When someone would ask me something personal about them, I would refuse to talk about it or break down and cry on the spot. This was an emotional wound for me because of the love and trust I put into that relationship. The skeleton I had was self-medication, which I hid for years and the emotional wound was trust. How can you talk about that on your first date?

Trust in a relationship is a big issue. If you can’t trust that significant other in a relationship, you have no foundation. With each failing relationship the trust wound went deeper and deeper into my psyche and grew bigger and bigger a problem within my relationships.

When I mention the “trust” wound, many will address it only from the surface acknowledging my ability not to be able to trust someone and them showing me reasons why I’m right by their actions. For instance, if you tell me you are going to do something, do it. When you don’t, I start not trusting you. Without dealing with the “trust” wound, the skeleton of “self-medication” will never be resolved. I take that back. The issues of self-medication can be resolved but the wound won’t be healed thus a new need to pacify the wound would be created. Still a skeleton remains.

It wasn’t until the Lord God put me in a place where a brother was going through the same exact thing that I went through and I was able to expound on the mistakes I made trying to heal my emotional wound to him that I was able to receive my own healing. I was able to see the damage it was doing to him and saw exactly what I went through. I heard all the bitterness he expressed and heard myself saying the same things earlier. I saw how he was being tormented and realized that this was indeed of the devil and I resolve to let it go by forgiving her. I had to accept the fact that I was in God’s perfect will and this course of action that happened to me will be for my greater good. It’s amazing how the Lord God does that. And it always works.

Address the wound not the skeleton. Although we are judged by the skeletons we use to diffuse the wounds we’ve suffered, you can’t diminish the skeletons without first addressing the wound. If the wound remains, there will always be skeletons.

All wounds must be cleaned out (talked about) to prevent the spread of infection, dressed (bandaged with love and caring) then given time to heal.

Don’t open too many at once. Resolve each one to its completion, methodically as you open them. It does no good to just identify the wound without a remedy. If you open the wound without supplying the remedy or seeing out its remedy to the completion, you leave that person in a worse condition than when you met them. Take emotional wound one at a time and work through it until it’s resolved. See each wound out to it’s completion. Don’t open up a bag, then close it because it may be too big or to hard to conquer.

Don’t judge someone for their wounds. Whatever experience they had to go though enabled them to meet you for help. When you refuse to help someone when it’s in your means is just plain selfish.

Like all wounds, it has to be cleaned out (talked about) dressed (bandaged) then given time to heal. Emotional wounds can motivate you to be better and not bitter if you look at the brighter side.

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