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This article was published May 6, 2014 at 2:35 a.m.

DEAR REV. GRAHAM: How do you convince someone that they need to forget the bad things that happened in the past and get on with their life? My aunt constantly dwells on how her ex-husband emotionally abused her, and she just won’t let it go.

  • K.McL.

DEAR K.McL.: Have you ever been injured or had surgery for something? If so, you know that it hurt at first, but if you left the wound alone and allowed it to heal, then over time the pain faded. If you constantly irritated the wound or picked away at it, then healing was delayed and the pain continued. It could even get worse if it got infected.

Something similar can happen to us emotionally. When something happens that hurts us deeply (such as a divorce or death or other painful loss), our emotional pain is real, and it doesn’t go away overnight. But in time it will, particularly if we learn to turn it over to God. If we don’t, and keep dredging it up and reliving what happened, the pain will continue. It may even get worse because we allow it to overshadow good things.

I can’t help but wonder if your aunt may also be using this to gain sympathy from others. I don’t know if this is the case, of course, but it can happen.

Whatever her reasons, pray for her, and ask God to give you the wisdom to help her. Gently but firmly urge her to forget the past and forgive those who hurt her. Most of all, urge her to put her life into Christ’s hands. May she become like Paul: “Forgetting what is behind … I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

Write to Billy Graham in care of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C. 28201 or visit the website at

Style, Pages 30 on 05/06/2014




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