Have you ever wondered whether your sacrifices were worth it?
Letting go of the past for a better future requires sacrifice… but it can be hard to look beyond the pain and hurt.
Having to forgive; releasing your anger and bitterness; and being humble before the Lord, admitting your need for his help, can lead you to feel powerless about what happened.
But when we embrace this powerlessness and depend on the Lord, freedom comes through the pain of the past.
As a young child, I watched a lot of television; it made me idolize what I thought life could look like. I always felt like I was missing out on a lot because my life seemed to fall short in comparison.
I wasn’t experiencing relationships where pain was always resolved in a half hour’s time. Or had fun family adventures where the problems seemed easy to fix.
In my reality, life felt hard and sorrow was easy to feel. Though I knew my life was different and would never be like what I saw on television, the pain and the hurt was real from the failed expectations that I had.
I knew I needed to accept the reality of what the past looked like and forgo my ideals. I needed to make peace with what the past was really like.
No childhood is perfect; expectations need to be relinquished for healing to start. Thus, we need to make sacrifices to let go of the way we think our story should have gone to find healing.
It was in my pain―and focusing on the gospel message over and over in my head―that I realized that Jesus’ sacrifice for us is multifaceted.
He didn’t just die on the cross for us as the only sacrifice―he sacrificed so much more.
As we reflect on the magnitude of his sacrifices, we learn that we can let go of past expectations, knowing that our sacrifices are nothing compared to the ones he made for us.
The sacrifices that Jesus made for us allow us to have a fresh start; unburdened by the past.
I have outlined five ways Jesus sacrificed for you, so you too can move beyond the past with a greater understanding of what he did for you.
1. Jesus sacrificed his body for you
We read this in Isaiah 53:5 (NIV): “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
He suffered greatly for our sins. His death on the cross was excruciating. Jesus died a painful death on the cross so you can be free of your sins and have eternal life. He physically and emotionally felt great pain, knowing he would have to endure separation from the Father. He did it to show you love. We can offer up our body to be a vessel for his love instead of carrying around anger, bitterness and hurt, because these feelings hold us back from fully loving others with his agape love.
2. Jesus sacrificed comfort for you
We read this in Luke 9:58 (NIV): “Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’”
He had no place to call his home later on in his ministry, but his devotion to the work of the Father was more important. His focus on that―and his ministry to show you how much you are loved―allowed him to give up his comfort. We too can forgo comfort by willingly feeling the pain that will allow us to heal. We can sacrifice our comfort to be a healthy disciple.
3. Jesus sacrificed friendships
His purpose for coming down to earth was to die for our sins. He had twelve disciples who he called friends, who followed him, yet he knew some would betray him for the purpose he needed to fulfill.
We read about one such betrayal in Matthew 27:3-4 (NIV): “When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’”
You can let go and forgive people who have wronged you. You can sacrifice the pride you are holding onto in order to forgive for your greater good.
4. Jesus sacrificed his time
We see this throughout his whole ministry. He goes to many different places preaching. He used his time on earth wisely.
We read this in John 9:4-5 (NIV): “As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
We can use our time discerningly. Our time is precious and years wasted in pain and hurt over the past that we can not control or change is not wise or good for us. We can set aside time to heal by surrendering our expectations of the past to Jesus.
5. Jesus sacrificed to walk in humility
He didn’t carry pride with him, but came to earth to be a servant.
In Mark 10:45 (NIV), we read this: “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
His intention was not to think about himself and his needs and wants, but others. He knew he needed to live like this if he was to be a vessel for others. We too can live like this when we let go of our pride, thinking we must carry this pain and hurt from the past. We can release it so we can be a better servant of him.
It’s possible to relinquish the pain and hurt of the past by acknowledging and meditating in our hearts about the sacrifices Jesus made for us. We too can sacrifice when we understand that we are made in his image and have the help of the Holy Spirit.
Questions to think about or journal:
- Are you feeling trapped in hurt and pain from the past?
- What specifically from the past is holding you back?
- What sacrifices do you need to make?