When I was a child I was very afraid of water, apparently according to my mum, I wouldn’t even sit down in the bath, it was a bit of a problem.
But now I love swimming, messing about in boats and being by the sea. So what changed? There was a wonderful man called Uncle Roy, who was my best friend’s Dad who just had the patience to spend time with me, in the water, not expect too much of me, but have endless patience allowing me to get used to the water. In the end he taught me to swim. What a difference that man made in my life.
Conversely there are people who haunt our past. I was bullied at school and these children stole much of my confidence.
In the Bible we read that Jesus once encountered a woman by a well who was gathering water in the heat of the day. He was thirsty and so he asked her for a drink, to draw water for him with her bucket. She did this and the conversation continued. He knew more about her life than she found comfortable. He knew that she had had five husbands and that she had a bad reputation in her community.
She was out collecting water in the heat of the Middle Eastern day in order to avoid people who would insult her and call her names. She was trying to conceal the ghosts of her past. Jesus brought these ‘ghosts’ into the light. Jesus the man who was perfect in every way openly met this woman who considered herself bad in every way and he told her that she could be free of the ghosts of her past through his gift of love.
Recently Coldplay have released an album called ‘Ghost Stories’ which in an interview, lead singer Chris Martin says has been deeply influenced by his break up from Gwyneth Paltrow, as part of this interview he said: ‘ I think everyone in their life goes through challenges, whether it’s love or money, kids, or illness... You have to really not run away from that stuff.’ Part of his way of dealing with these things is through his song writing. Many of us may have good people in our lives who can help us through, but what is sure, with these ghosts, we have choices to make.
We can let them define who we are by being angry or hiding away or we can bring them into the light and choose to let go of them.
The woman by the well, who encountered Jesus, chose to let Jesus take her ghosts of the past and her life was transformed. She discovered that doing this through the love that Jesus brings is the most releasing way, and as a Christian I would agree with that too. When we allow the love of Jesus to confront our ghosts, then they just melt away. So consider the choice you will make today, to keep burying your ghosts or bring them into the light and be transformed.