The Hardened Heart of Self-Protection

A deep wound, a broken heart, disappointments, bitterness, and unforgiveness can cause the heart to become hardened with time. It causes us to put up walls. Our defenses go up. We self-protect, and we don’t let anyone in including God.

Self-protection leaves us running on reserve and is the cause of intimacy issues and conflict in relationships. It seems that it’s easier to be hard than soft and vulnerable because we don’t want to get hurt. But you were not created to live that way. God made you to be tender and responsive.

It’s hard to shape stone.  As long as your heart remains hard, you will miss out on the abundant life Jesus came to give. So let the living God come into your heart, heal your wounds and tear down your self-protection and defenses.

The amplified version of Ezekiel 11:16 says “And I will give them one heart, a new heart, and I will put a new Spirit within them, and I will take the stony, unnatural hardened heart out and give them a heart of flesh, sensitive and responsive to the touch of their God.”

Give your hurts to the Lord. Let God shape you. When you do that…He will leave His fingerprints all over your heart.

 

Please follow and like us:

The Root of Negative Behavior

People even in the church can behave in very unloving and ungodly ways. They can act out in pride and holier than thou attitudes or lash out in anger, addictions, slander and malice towards others grieving the Holy Spirit in whom we were sealed. It’s easier to judge the sinful attitudes and behaviors on the surface without taking a step back and gain God’s perspective on the matter. But doesn’t Scripture tell us that God judges the heart and not the outward?

People don’t wake one morning with a hardened heart. What could have happened to an individual who acts out so negatively, rudely and hurts self and others? What kind of hurts are they carrying around inside? Please understand that whatever hurts are buried deep inside a hardened heart does not excuse the sinful behavior. God hates sin, and we are allowed to hate it too. Nevertheless, by peering into the heart of God and seeing things through His eyes, it will help us understand the reasons why people act out and will help us gain compassion and not personalize the sinful behaviors of others.

Painful wounds in our hearts can always be traced back to the effects of sin, whether our own or someone else’s. Disguising pain with either good or bad habits, or addictions create a vicious cycle of guilt and shame. Whatever the coping mechanism, until the root of the hurt is dealt with the wound will continue to fester allowing sinful negative behaviors to continue. God wants to heal your broken heart. No matter what you have been through, God is bigger than anything you have experienced or are experiencing now. No matter where you’ve been, what you have done or what has been done to you … the Master Healer, Jehovah Rapha, can transform your innermost hurts into conduits of His blessings. The same power that raised Jesus from the dead can heal and restore you. He only asks one thing…”Do you want to be made well?” Healing is a choice.

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage, and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.…”

Ephesians 4:30-32

Please follow and like us:

The Ban Aid of Bitterness

When we are hurt emotionally, the fastest way to stop the emotional bleeding is placing the band-aid of bitterness on. It keeps us from feeling the pain and on guard of being hurt again. It also keeps from feeling God at work in our lives or His call to do His work.

God’s word warns “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springs up and cause trouble, and by this many become defiled.” (Hebrews 12:15) Once bitterness has taken root it causes the wound to fester and grow. Anger, depression, anxiety…all grow out of bitterness.

To get rid of the ban aid of bitterness we need to allow God to come in and clean the wound so that it can heal properly.  Because even though it’s been covered through various coping mechanisms, is still there and it still hurts. Just like a cut that got infected, emotional wounds have to be cleaned so that we are out of the way of God healing them.

Like poison bitterness can slowly kill us. It can harden our hearts to where when God points it out to us we turn our back on what we need to do to get rid of it. The good news is that we have a Savior who can heal our broken hearts and bind up our wounds so that we no longer have to pretend that everything is okay and stop putting on a happy face when we are crying on the inside.

Take your hurts to Jesus. He can clean out the wound causing the infection of bitterness that is making you heart sick and preventing you from giving or receiving forgiveness and living in the fullness of His love and grace.

 

Please follow and like us:

The Prison of Unforgiveness

root-of-bitternessUnforgiveness is like taking a drug because it has the same effect on us. It numbs the pain so we don’t have to feel and replaces it with anger, rage, and bitterness. It becomes a coping mechanism to deal with the pain and violations. We become entitled to our unforgiveness not realizing that it hardens our hearts and pollutes everything around us.

See if I have been violated and hurt by someone and haven’t dealt with it I can begin to harbor and overall spirit of unforgiveness and can start to see everything in life through that negative filter, and I can become a compensator in relationships and start to keep score. What I do versus what you do. I can get very resentful.  Unfortunately for them, the poor people in my life will always lose out. Heck, they don’t even know that I am keeping score. They have just come to believe that I am a very giving person but inside I’m very resentful because I have to do all these things for these ungrateful people who probably never even asked me to do anything for them.

Somewhere along the way I took on a compensator role and began taking care of everybody. And I will get very bitter and feel victimized. What happens then is that I will spend my life living behind spiritual bars imprisoned because I’m still living in the reality of the hurts of the past. My past own me. And I will enter all my relationships bringing that wound with me expecting and demanding that I be treated a certain way and when I’m not…Watch Out! It can be brutal.

What happens is that old wound is still speaking into my life, and now it’s infected with anger, bitterness, and resentments. It’s spiritual cancer. Sadly the people in my life are paying the penalty for the sins of those who have hurt me in the past.

Pastor and counselor Dr. Chuck Lynch, author of “I should forgive but” says that bitterness and unforgiveness are like a rock thrown into a placid pond. After the initial splash, it sends out circular ripples that affect the whole pond. It starts with ourselves, expands to our spouse, then to our children, friends, and anyone we come in contact with. That’s the saddest part of all.

When we hang on to unforgiveness we give power to the person, and they continue to violate us. Furthermore, if we don’t deal with our unforgiveness issues, we can carry our victim mentality over to all our relationships. Making people responsible for our unhappiness and now people have tremendous power and control over us. Be free from the prison of unforgiveness where those who have violate, hurt, or neglected us wield power over us and continue to torment and defile our hearts.  If we don’t get help and release our hurts and learn to forgive, without realizing it we can transmit the disease of bitterness.

Please follow and like us:

Forgiving From The Heart

forgiveness heartDo you still feel this person owes you? Are you expecting them to pay you back for the hurt they cost? Do you feel bitter, angry and resentful towards them? Do you think they should suffer for what they did? Do you want revenge? If you answer yes to any of these, then you have not forgiven in your heart.

Holding on to unforgiveness will pollute your heart and allow their sin to continue to hurt you. Choosing to forgive does not condone their sin. It doesn’t mean there should be no justice. There are consequences to sin, but only God is the righteous judge.

Release the offender to Him and refuse to harbor negative feelings towards those who have hurt you. If you don’t know how to forgive, seek Jesus. He is faithful to put people in our lives that will help us process the hurts so that we can grieve, accept and release them to the feet of the cross so we can forgive from the heart. That’s true freedom.

“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:23

 

Please follow and like us:

Stuffing Feelings

coffee beans“Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

Sometimes we hold on to hurt without communicating the nature of hurts to others.

They often aren’t even aware they have offended us. When we stuff our feelings eventually, the stuffing is going to come out.

That’s because when you fill anything with pressure, it will explode. In the same way, the outburst in our hearts can result in broken marriages and relationships, especially our relationship with God.

Some are shocked to find out that we have been keeping score of their wrongdoings against us.

Give people a chance to state their case and learn to forgive. Don’t stuff your feelings. Express them, forgive and release others to Jesus – the One, who displayed to us with His precious blood how mercy triumphs over judgment.

 

Please follow and like us: