Here are 3 common signs the Lord is helping you find mental closure on a past relationship.
1. God Will Help You Find Mental Closure on a Past Relationship By Helping You Give Forgiveness Even Without Reconciliation
It often feels like the only way you will be able to get back to feeling normal again is if your life goes back to the way it was before that wound took place. People often feel torn because they have bad feelings towards someone who hurt them but the reason they are so hurt is because they enjoyed being with that person so much before the wound took place.
So they are hurt on the one hand because they wish they could still have what was lost in that relationship, but they are also mad at the person and no longer would want to be with them now anyways.
In other words, people often think they need reconciliation to find closure so they can regain the joy that was lost in the relationship. But since they don’t want to be reconciled, they just remain in an endless season of bitterness towards that person they were hurt by. But I don’t believe reconciliation is the solution. What is truly needed is forgiveness.
Reconciliation is when a relationship is restored to what is was before an offense took place. Forgiveness is when we release someone of the debt they owe us because of their sins against us. It’s not necessarily the sinful act that keeps us stuck and hurting. It’s what that sinful act took from us that hurts so much. It’s the outstanding debt that is still unpaid that prevents true closure.
So you don’t need to rekindle a relationship with someone. You don’t need to make everything right between you and an ex. You don’t need to talk about all your issues and come to some sort of agreement to find closure. You would need to do that if you were seeking reconciliation. But you are not commanded by God to always reconcile with someone. But you are commanded to always forgive just as Christ always forgives you.
One of the lessons Jesus taught us through his parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35 is that when we forgive others their sins against us we are actually embracing the freedom God has granted us. When, on the other hand, we refuse to offer forgiveness to those who sinned against us, we are rejecting the freedom God seeks to give us. Which is why in Matthew 18:32-35 Jesus said:
Then his master summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. And should not you have had mercy on your fellow servant, as I had mercy on you?’ And in anger his master delivered him to the jailers, until he should pay all his debt. So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother from your heart.”
So if you want mental closure, you don’t need to reconcile the relationship but you do need to forgive this person from your heart. When you release them of the debt they owe you, you will then be free from constantly thinking about them and your past relationship.
2. God Will Help You Find Mental Closure By Helping You Repent of the Sins You Committed in that Relationship
Another major variable that often causes us to think about a past relationship is the sins we committed against someone else. In some instances I believe God will lead people to actually apologize to an ex that they know they sinned against; but sometimes doing this would only cause more hurt to someone because they are seeking to move on from you and it would be unloving to contact them now that they are in a different season of life, perhaps even dating or married to someone else. If that is the case I don’t think you should contact an ex.
But in any case, if you know you did something sinful in that past relationship either towards that person or with that person, you will never find closure until you receive God’s forgiveness. When David sinned with Bathsheba, in Psalm 51 he repented. In Psalm 51:2-4 he said:
Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment.”
Notice that in Psalm 51:3, David said, “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.” The “For” at the beginning of this verse is linked to the verse before this statement. In essence, David is saying that because God is not allowing him to forget his past sins, this is what is causing him to seek God’s forgiveness. In verse 2 he asked to be forgiven because in verse 3 he constantly remembers his sins.
One reason you may be unable to move on, therefore, from a past relationship is because God is purposefully causing you to remember your sins because you have not yet truly received God’s forgiveness for these sins. As David said in verse 4, ultimately all sin is not just against people but against God himself.
God won’t close a chapter in your past if you have unforgiven sin from that season still remaining in your present. Closure without forgiveness just leads to buried problems. If God let you move on from something you did that was wrong without you first actually receiving his grace, you would just live in bondage without knowing why.
In short, if you want closure, you need forgiveness.
3. God Will Help You Find Mental Closure By Helping You Move on with Your Actions Before You Have Fully Moved On in Your Mind
Many times we want everything to be perfect in our hearts and minds before we start moving forward in our actual lives. But that rarely is God’s way. In fact, one way God will help you truly move on in your heart is by first leading you to move on in your actions.
While the heart and mind certainly dictate how we live our lives, how we choose to live our lives in practical ways also affects what is happening in our hearts and minds too. Just like going to the gym and working out, you often won’t do it if you wait until you feel like it. But once you just do it and go to the gym and start working out, most of the time your feelings then change and you actually feel like being there too.
The same can be true when it comes to moving on from a past relationship. If you just wait until you feel like truly moving on and being open to dating someone else, you may never get there. But if you know you have healed enough to start again and you just need to make some practical steps, many times, once you start meeting new people you will then feel that closure you desire.
As Paul said in Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” One way to overcome an evil thought process keeping you stuck in the past is by moving forward and doing good things in your present. Don’t just wait to do good until you don’t feel anything bad anymore. Overcome the bad in your life by actively doing good in Christ.
So when we apply this principle to our topic at hand, it means you should not wait to move forward into a new season of relationships until you find complete mental closure towards a past season of relationships because moving on in practical ways into a new season is often a part of the process of finding that complete mental closure you seek.