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

 

Loving Radically

heartGod’s word gives us the formula for relationships. “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Many of us because of our past don’t even know what authentic love looks like. It’s never been modeled to us the right way so we can’t love ourselves much less others. And No being self-absorbed is not love it’s quite the opposite.

There may be things in your heart hindering your ability to love God, self and others.  1 John 4:19  says we love God because he first loved us. Run to the source of authentic love. Let him heal and saturate you with His love.

Once you experience the fullness of His love unhindered by the lies of the past you will love Jesus in the depth of your heart and know in your soul how precious and valuable you are in His sight and are worth loving. Then you can love radically. Because His love is radical! Get to the root!

 

 

Love That Satisfies

the right way“For He satisfies the longing soul, and the hungry soul He fills with good things.” Psalm 107:9

We were born with a deep craving for love. Every human heart if they were honest wants to be loved and accepted. We are looking for unfailing love.  Love that says you are precious, valued, and have great worth.  It’s a need put there by the One who created us.

The heart craves unwavering, unconditional, radical, deep, intimate, tender, affectionate, expansive, healthy and satisfying love. We are not wrong to desire this kind of love, but we are wrong to think we can find it in anyone else than in the heart of God.

When children are not modeled unconditional love, they grow up searching for it. As adults, they are like walking empty voids begging to be filled. Where there is a void, it’s going to be filled with something even if it’s destructive.  Also, when we have never experienced healthy love, we will settle for the counterfeit often allowing people to hurt and mistreat us for fear of losing what we have redefined as love.

When we look to others to be the source of unfailing love it’s not only futile it’s destructive, extremely disappointing, and emotionally painful. God’s love sets us free. The counterfeit suffocates and enslaves us spiritually and emotionally.

The good news is that God doesn’t take away our need for love. He satisfies it the right way. Don’t settle for anything else.

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,  may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height—  to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

Ephesians 3:17-20

 

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.

 

The Root of Bitterness

“As much as depends on you live at peace with all people.” Romans 12:18.

People hurt, mistreat, abuse, abandon and betray us.

God sees and validates our pain. But he also tells us to pursue peace so that we do not fall short of His grace and let bitterness take root to defile us.

Bitterness comes when we hold on to hurt and refuse to forgive those who have hurt us. It affects everything around us and causes us to have a hardened heart. We can even take on a victim mentality where we feel constantly wronged by others. It will pollute our overall view of the world and affects how we treat people.

No matter what we are not entitled to our sinful responses to how others have hurt us. Doing so only causes separation between God, ourselves and others. We can’t change people or make them see the error of their ways but God can. But we can take our wounded hearts, bitterness and unforgiveness to the one who has shown us how to love mercy instead of demanding justice.

Bitterness hinders repentance and forgiveness in relationships. The cure for bitterness starts with our hearts. It’s not something we do flippantly or dismissively without considering the cost of the sin committed against us, its effects and the wounds left behind.

Ask Jesus to help you process the hurts and choose to forgive. You will then have a beautiful gift to offer others – true forgiveness from the heart. A heart that says what you did to me hurt me deeply but I choose to forgive you and release you from a debt you cannot repay just as my precious Jesus forgave me and released me from mine.

Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

looking for love
Every human being yearns to be loved. It’s a legitimate need placed in us by our creator. If our need for love is not met as children, we will go through life with an empty void in our hearts looking for love in all the wrong places taking our empty love cups to people, places and things desperate to have our cups filled.

We can also try to fill our cups through approval, achievements, affirmation, control, money, success, appearance or immediate gratification. Unfortunately, none of these things will satisfy the ravenous craving in our hearts for love because only God’s love satisfies. His love is unfailing, unwavering, unconditional and never ending. His love is enough. Any other kind of love will leave us wanting, even suffocated, drained, yearning for peace and contentment. Because it’s not the real deal. It’s a counterfeit. It leads to captivity – bound to someone or something.  Authentic love leads to freedom.

God’s word says ” That you being rooted and grounded in love will be able to comprehend with all the saints how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is, and to know this love which passes knowledge; that you may filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-19

We will never be able to experience the depth of God’s love unless we have a healthy love foundation.  Have you experienced the fullness of God’s love? If not, there may be something you were rooted in preventing God’s love from taking root in the soil of your heart that may be causing you try to get your love cup filled in all the wrong places.

Take your empty cup to Jesus and ask Him to fill it and remove any barriers and false beliefs preventing you from receiving His deep, satisfying love. He is faithful to meet us at our point of need. His love never fails.

The Balm That Heals

Jesus Is The Balm of Gilead

Gilead was a region in Biblical times known for its healing balms. People would travel miles for the soothing ointment found there offering relief for their suffering caused by various pains and wounds. During this time, God’s people were in a backslidden state chasing after other Gods and idols.

The Prophet Jeremiah was grieved to the core of the condition of God’s people facing destruction and judgment because they refused to turn away from empty things that made them soul and spiritually sick instead of turning to the Living God. In anguish, he cried out…

“Is there no Balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22)

Are you sick? Are you hurting today? The Balm of Gilead is an illustration of the healing that is available through Jesus Christ. He is the Great Physician, the all-sufficient one who is able to heal and set free. Jesus wants to heal the wounds of your heart. Do you want to be made well? He is the ointment that can heal God’s children.

 

It’s Not About You!

It's Not About You!People we love and care about sometimes mistreat us, say unkind things to us or about us, verbally or physically abuse us, neglect, ignore, betray, reject, or abandon us. Our first reaction is almost always to personalize it. Please understand that people’s negative behaviors are not about us and everything to do with what is going on inside of them. We cannot react by taking ownership of their negative junk when they act out of their own unhealthy patterns that we are not responsible for. It will not only hurt us deeply but make us believe lies that affect how we see ourselves.

What we can do is take ownership and responsibility for our own junk, ask for forgiveness when applicable, and impose healthy boundaries to protect ourselves from allowing their actions to hurt us physically, spiritually, or emotionally.  That just gives unhealthy people way too much power in our lives. And last time I checked, only God is allowed to have that kind of authority in our lives.

We can’t make people’s problems our problems. When we do that, they own us! Causing us to lose sight of who we are because we are so caught up in them and their drama. They will live rent free in our heads and consume us. And that only leads to bitterness, anger and resentments robbing us of our joy, peace and sanity.  You are worth so much more.

“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”

Proverbs 4:23

 

Compulsive Behaviors

Compulsive Behaviors

Compulsive behaviors such as gambling, hoarding, pornography, shopping, overeating, the internet and social media obsession are emerging as behavioral addictions — people can depend on them as severely as alcohol or drugs. Some activities are so normal that it’s hard to believe people can become addicted to them.

Yet, the cycle of addiction can still take over, making everyday life a constant struggle that can lead to the same destructive behavioral patterns that wreak havoc on lives, families’ and relationships. Whatever the coping mechanism, it’s the byproduct of deeper seeded issues requiring attention, self-evaluation, and healing. There is some void or need being met through the compulsive behavior outside God’s design rooted in the flesh apart from the Spirit.

Whether substance or behavioral, addictions can appear to be bad, meaning they are not socially acceptable and can be very harmful – like immorality, gambling, excessive spending, compulsive eating; Or they can look very good and are socially acceptable but may be just as harmful- like perfectionism, work holism, caregiving, serving in ministry out of the wrong heart, staying busy, overly giving, etc. When people give and serve out of the wrong motive, they can overextend themselves and wear themselves out becoming bitter angry and resentful at those they serve and those in leadership.

On either side of the coin – the addiction or compulsive behavior comes down to this – I have to have this! I have to do this! There is an obsession – a compulsion at a root level that fills a need and their identity is very much on what they do. It is the most important thing in their lives. It defines them and rules them. It is bondage. But God can break the chains of bondage and heal all.

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
(Luke 4:18)

Christ Centered Counseling

Counseling That HealsThere are a plethora of self-help books available offering various theories and approaches to dealing with the rooted issues of negative emotions and behaviors. Modern day psychology is valuable in understanding the soul (mind, emotions, and will). This is the area that gets sick. The rooted systems in our life can make our souls extremely sick. A psychology approach can diagnose the problem and offer solution. However, since the solution offered is rooted in humanism and, therefore, manmade, there is no true long term healing that can occur. At best it can help change behavior, and give you tools for self-discipline, or positive thinking. That is not freedom.

There is no lasting victory because it does not deal with sin. It does not allow for the blood of Christ to cleanse us and change us. It merely puts a band-aid over symptoms. It may address anxiety, depression, outward manifestations and symptoms of deeper issues – but often the first solution offered is medication and never gets to the root. So people are not getting the true healing they are seeking.

As Christians, we know that only God has the power to heal us from the inside out and set us free. That is true victory. He doesn’t just change behaviors; He transforms, renews, restores, redeems and breaks the chains of bondage. Psalm 147:3 says “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Isaiah also tells us that God is the “Wonderful Counselor.” John 14:6 says “the Holy Spirit is the Counselor.” Therefore, true freedom is found only by applying biblical truths to the wounds of our heart. Jesus is the balm of Gilead. He is the ointment that heals the wounds of God’s hurting children.