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Seeds of the Kingdom

Hurt Hoarders

by Cath Taylor

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.
Ephesians 4:31-32, NLT

I wouldn’t consider myself a hoarder. Hoarders are those people who live in houses where you can’t move for stuff – where you have to climb over old pizza boxes and record players piled to the ceiling to get to the bathroom, right? I’m definitely not at that stage but as I opened my laundry cupboard this morning to be hit on the head by an empty Amazon box, followed by an even bigger empty shoe box falling from the top shelf, I did wonder if I was heading in that direction.

We must have at least twenty empty Amazon, Nike, Adidas, and random boxes stored in our laundry cupboard on the top shelf. There’s no reason for them to be there and they regularly drive us all nuts by falling out when the door’s opened. Why do I keep them there then? I don’t know… it’s just what I do! There’s no other reason for it except I wonder if I may need a box possibly, ever … and for years I’ve just shoved them in, glad they’re out of sight.

I store boxes and they fall on our heads, but what else can we hoard in the dark cupboards of our hearts without being aware of what we’re doing? I never thought I was the sort of person to store up hurt and bad feeling in my heart, until I felt God revealed to me that I was in fact guilty of sometimes being a ‘hurt hoarder!’ I thought I was quick to forgive and bring things to the Lord – it never occurred to me that, even though I was asking the Lord to heal the hurt, there were times I was still keeping hold of the offence in my heart and, without even realising it, I was storing it away.

If we store away hurt and offence no wonder we end up such a target to being hurt again. The enemy must love it. Over and over the same button can be pressed and we feel the same overwhelming feelings come over us like a flood.

When hurt is hoarded it isn’t just pain we feel, but anger and injustice and … dare I even say it … bitterness. We wish it wouldn’t but bitterness grows so quickly in the darkness of our store cupboard. Then someone mentions the person that we’ve been hurt by, or who treated us unjustly, and, without warning, the emotions rise and spill out!

When people hurt us there’s no getting around it, we feel hurt. When we feel ill-treated, criticised, devalued, misunderstood or disrespected it’s hard. Betrayal, rejection, spite … they’re all horrible things to experience, and there’s no belittling how it can stab our hearts and severely dint our sense of self-worth and identity. God has huge compassion and care for us, and knows all the hurts we experience. But God also has a path to freedom and healing that sees us truly healed from the past, not carrying it heavy in our hearts – storing it away, just because that’s what we do without thinking about it!

I’m going to sort through the boxes in my laundry cupboard, and each time one falls on my head, I’m going to deal with it properly – not just shove it back in and hope for the best. In the same way let’s decide afresh from now on to deal with the storehouses of our hearts - to truly forgive and release when people hurt us or cause us offence. Let’s also allow the Lord to convict us where we’ve stored hurt, offence and bitterness in our hearts, so we can repent and He can clean it out. It will make room for the Lord to fully bring His healing in.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, I want to say sorry for sometimes hoarding hurts and offence in my heart. Lord, I want to bring them into the light today and say I’m sorry for any offence and bitterness in my heart towards …* (insert name*) I choose to forgive them afresh today for the ways in which they hurt me. I release them from myself and from any judgement I’ve held over them, and I speak blessing on them in Your name, Lord Jesus. Father God, please help me learn a new way of bringing my hurt and offence to You and to allow You to bring your healing in as I truly forgive – I don’t want to store up offence in my heart any more. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Cath Taylor is the Assistant UK National Director. She joined the Ellel Grange team back in 1992 and has served with Ellel Ministries in Australia, the USA and the UK. Cath is married to Andy and they have three sons; Jake, Ben and Isaac.


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