Throw Back Thursday This post was first published on February 21, 2012.
At a retreat recently, we were challenged to take people off our hook and place them on God’s Hook. I can still see the speaker taking her hand and gesturing as if to be moving a coat from one hook to another. Oh great, I thought to myself, I am so busted. Now I will have to spend time praying through and thinking about who I have hung up there and why and forgive them, release them and rehang them on God’s Hook.
Quite frankly, I think I secretly enjoy viewing my closet full of people, each one dangling from their special hook to remind me of the pain or hurt they have inflicted on me. I think from time to time, I like to go in and view my collection. Review my pain and say, “Ya, that hurt and you just hang up there with your feet swaying back and forth. I hope you’re uncomfortable up there, because you should be, after the distress you have wreaked on me!” Then I close the closet door of hurt and pain in my heart until I can go in and dwell on it some more.
Then I began to imagine what God’s Hook would look like. A majestic black rod iron hook with a sharp pointy end, a very large sharp pointy end! O.K. maybe it’s not that pointy. In fact it’s probably not sharp and pointy at all. It probably is a nice big smooth round ball or no, maybe it would be in shape of a lion’s head….a nice yet ferocious lion. Then an image of what God’s Hook would probably look like came to me.
God’s Hook – made out of wood and shaped like a cross.
This image of a cross shaped hook brought me back to forgiveness and releasing and taking off my hook and placing on God’s hook. Heavy sigh!
When I was ready to begin the process of looking within my heart to rearrange the location of items and people that I had hanging around, a startling thing happened. I found myself being led by the Holy Spirit, to a place in my heart I did not want to go. We passed the closet door I thought we were going to open and He led me to another closet door. It was at a the end of the hallway dark and a bit scary. A place I rarely venture. The pain which lies behind that closet door is a different kind of pain.
Gently nudging me forward, the Holy Spirit helped me opened the door, and through His Light, I saw what I did not want to see. There I was, myself strung up on several hooks.
When we practice forgiveness of others, we need to begin with forgiving our self. It feels like letting other people off the hook is easier than letting one’s self off the hook. The speaker had said that it was prideful to not forgive ourselves, when God forgives us. When we don’t forgive ourselves, we place ourselves above God and think we have the right to hold on to these things. We deceive ourselves into thinking that it is OK to allow a closet full of accumulated self-condemnation, not good enough, failure, don’t do enough, and inadequacies. The closet of hooks we hang ourselves on goes far and deep.
There was great ache and many tears in taking a look at each situation I was holding myself responsible for and had refused to let myself off the hook. The pain moved to yet another level of awareness as each hook represented my lack of trust in God to work through my mistakes and to work out those situations I cannot control. One by one, we took me down off of each hook and I surrendered to be hung on God’s Hook. An important healing took place that day in my heart. I believe this was a necessary step for me to take before I was able to truly transfer others from my hook to God’s Hook.
Hooks come in all shapes and sizes made out of many different materials to hold many different things. These hooks hang in the closets of our heart. Most of mine are empty for the time being. I hope I can remember how the One Hook made out of wood and shaped like a cross is the only hook worth having in my heart. I am wondering, if you would like to do some rearranging of the way things are hanging in the closets of your heart? I can say from personal experience, there is great freedom and healing from removing things from any hook and placing them on God’s Hook!
“Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” Colossians 3:13, NIV
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