The strength of a life is in its roots. This is true of a physical tree, as well as metaphorically, our tree of life. The root system serves to guarantee the existence of the tree. Without healthy roots, a tree system cannot survive. They provide a firm base, an anchor for the whole structure of a tree – the trunk – the branches – leaves – fruit. They are all dependent on that healthy root system. One of the primary functions of the root system is to draw water and nourishment from the soil to feed on. This will allow our roots to grow deep to firmly establish and define us.
To live the abundant life of a believer, we must be firmly rooted in God’s love and grace. But first, we must remove and let go of the toxic things that hinder us from being who God created us to be. Shame has no room in the life of a believer. Beloved, please understand that our past does not define us. The sins that hurt us whether ours or someone else’s perpetrated against us are not who we are. They kept us from being who God created us to be causing us to adopt unhealthy coping mechanism and put up walls around our hearts to keep from being hurt. These walls kept everyone else out including God. Addiction, sexual sin, trauma, neglect, abuse, violence, betrayal, unmet needs may not be able to be erased from our minds, but we can be free of their damaging effects on our souls.
God sets us free by helping us walk through and process the pain, grieve losses, remove all the lies we have believed about ourselves and others, enabling us to offer and receive forgiveness. This releases us from the bondage of being a byproduct of our past. With certainty, research confirms we are affected by negative and hurtful experiences in our history. However, because of Christ’s sacrifice and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we don’t have to be a slave to our past any longer. Jesus sets the captives free and firmly plants us in the nourishing soil of His unfailing love and grace so that our roots will grow deep in the truth of who we are in Him, so when the storms of life come we will not be uprooted.
A huge barrier to forgiving others is the misconception about forgiveness, reconciliation, and restoration. Many people believe that by forgiving they will continue to live as doormats allowing sinful behavior when nothing has changed. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Forgiveness focuses on the offense. It only involves one person and has nothing to do with what the other person chooses to do. Reconciliation focuses on the relationship. It requires two people engaged in the process.
Forgiveness is the choice to release the offender. Reconciliation is the choice to rejoin the offender. It’s being brought back into a relationship where there has been a wall of separation erected. Restoration is the process that makes that possible. Restoration of a relationship takes far more than forgiveness. It requires confession, repentance, and a strong commitment on both sides to work on the relationship and rebuild trust. And it often takes a much longer time.
For example, if a loved one is engaged in drugs, alcohol, abuse or some other harmful behavior they may ask us to forgive them. Of course, God’s heart is always that we forgive but if they ask that we go back to the way it was the answer is a resounding NO! That’s not what we do at all. Love holds people accountable. Love protects. We do not have to allow harmful behavior that hurt us and our families. Thus, there may be extremely toxic, unhealthy people who may need to be removed from our lives.
An example of this would be a relative who sexually molested us as a child. We can forgive them as God has called us to but having a relationship with them may endanger ourselves and others. So forgiveness does not mean we have to have any kind of relationship with the offender ever again. Forgiveness is an act of obedience that blesses the heart of our Father in Heaven and sets us free. It’s been said that sometimes you just gotta love people from a distance.” There is great wisdom in that.
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. 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
been said that if you live for the acceptance of others, you will die
from their rejection. If your sense of self-worth is based on the
approval of others, your value is at the mercy of what others think
about you. Your identity, who you are, how you see yourself is
determined by how others see you and respond to you. . In our brokenness, we tend to give people a lot of power. People on the outside
control my thoughts, feelings, and my will. They own me. I don’t know
who I am, and I live in fear of failing to meet their approval and being
rejected. – We need to give our fear of rejection over to the
Lord. He created us and established our worth. When we let His love pour
into us, we learn to trust Him, and He will turn our fear into faith,
and we will find full acceptance in the arms of our precious Savior. –
If you believe that you may be living for the approval of others,
evaluate the following statements and see if you identify with any of
them. – ”I am not good enough.” – “I have to try harder.” – “I have to earn love.’ – “I flatter people so they will like me.” – “I have to be perfect.” – “I always feel less than.” – “I know what I think is not important.” – “I know that I am not likable.” – “I never feel like I belong.” – “I don’t measure up.” –
If you can relate to any of the above chances are that there is a deep
root of rejection driving your need for approval and acceptance from
others. Please understand that just because you have been rejected in
the past, you don’t have to walk in fear that you will be rejected again
by others. We can be so crippled by the fear of being rejected that
without realizing it we can push others away, or create situations where
we will be rejected fulfilling a self-imposed prophecy which causes us
to continue to believe lies about ourselves and feel alone and rejected.
There is a direct correlation between relationship conflict and negative emotions. We were designed for love and intimacy. Sadly, many of us were not given healthy forms of love. So we enter relationships with baggage full of skewed love systems and unmet needs expecting the other person to meet our emotional needs. However, since unhealthy people tend to attract unhealthy individuals into their lives who enter the relationship with their own emotional baggage – unmet needs and skewed forms of love expecting us to love them as they think they should be loved, it’s a great recipe for emotional pain and conflict. People enter relationships with all kinds of learned negative patterns of behavior for dealing with relationship conflict.
The truth is we will never be able to enjoy healthy mutually satisfying relationships until we deal with the issues of our own heart. When we can identify the cause of our emotional pain, we can then process the effects they have on our life, and we can stop blaming others, take ownership of our negative feelings and behaviors and stop allowing others to control our emotions.
People are not responsible for the way they make us feel. Understanding and accepting this enables us to let others off the hook and give them permission to take ownership of their feelings and stop blaming us for how they feel. Jesus heals and restores one heart at a time.
Many believers are able to let go of the past and live and thrive in the fullness of a new life in Christ. Sadly many cannot because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another.
So instead of running the race with endurance they limp along the way.
There are two types of emotionally wounded believers – The first turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms,negative behaviors, addictions, immorality, anger, etc.
The second try to pull themselves up by the boot straps choosing to bury and rise about their past through self-efforts and busy themselves with many things including work, ministry, volunteer work, charities, always doing and giving often out of a need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. The problem is they have never dealt with the pain and believe that they are living free but are still living in bondage because deep inside they still believe the lies.
Both are hurting, and both are in denial. They may have different coping mechanisms but one thing in common….they have never fully accepted the Grace of God into the deeply wounded areas of their hearts.
Both are hindered from living the abundant life that Jesus spoke about in John 10:10
How do they move forward? The past must be dealt with in order to move forward. Burying it doesn’t work, stuffing doesn’t work, pretending it’s not there doesn’t work – sooner or later it unravels….the stuffing comes out in negative behaviors or even seemingly good behaviors, but at the root, there is something entirely different going on.
Give your hurts to Jesus. Stop running and hiding from the past. Let God heal your hurts and replace the lies with the truth of who you are in Jesus. Let go. Put the past behind, reach ahead and run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling on our life.
“Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
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 11:19 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.
The pain of unmet needs, thoughtless words, hurtful actions, to overt abuse can linger for a lifetime manifesting in various negative, behaviors such as addiction, unhealthy relationship, and abusive patterns. This toxic system can pollute everything around us and
Behind the violation and the physical pain of the trauma of abuse, there is a message that was sent to the hearts of victims that have left deep open wounds which continue to fester. These messages speak lies to us and skew beliefs about ourselves and others. These lies lead our wounded hearts to adopt faulty reactions and faulty behaviors to hide our intense hurt and build walls that act as barriers to intimacy with God. Yet the Lord lovingly uses our current struggles, failures, and our problem relationships to reveal unresolved emotional pain as God calls each one of us to account. His desire is to break down those walls of self-protection and heal our hurting hearts in order to set us free. Take a moment to meditate on the following scripture and let it resonate deeply in your hearts.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”
If you have found yourself the prisoner of a painful past, there is hope for your hurting heart. God’s word says…
“In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18
No trial – no abuse is wasted. Your pain doesn’t have to be pointless; it can be full of purpose. Because you know the pain of abuse you have the ability to have compassion for others who have been wounded and abused. Thank God for what He is teaching you through the very difficult situation and the pain. Allow the Lord to take your pain and turn it into a precious ministry – a ministry of compassion to comfort and exhort others who are hurting.