Just like our bodies can get physically sick and impair our physical functions, our minds can also get sick and can alter our feelings such as anxiety, depression, etc. Sadly, we live in a culture that labels everything a physical disorder because then we can apply physical healing by medicating. So often the symptom is treated without getting to the root. Physical conditions are real but more often than not are an effect and not the cause of the underlining problem. Modern medicine fails to recognize that often physical symptoms can be linked to negative emotions. When a person becomes spiritually and emotionally healthy, these issues often go away.
Dr. Carolyn Lear author of “Who Switched Off My Brain” has found correlations between our thought life and physical and emotional illness. When you feel sad, afraid, angry or hopeful, your brain releases different types of chemicals. Depending on whether or not these emotions are toxic to your body, the chemicals will either help you or harm you. If they are harmful, they create conditions for a host of health problems that will manifest in both the body and the mind.
Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that will be the most damaging over time – unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief, and guilt. Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% of the diet, genetics, and environment. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections, and allergies, just to name a few. Some Examples:
When you are at peace, chances are you are experiencing joy – your body produces endorphins, serotonin – these are the feel-good chemicals. These produce pleasure. This is conducive to an overall system of well-being, vitality, and health. This is positive.
Anxiety & Fear
These destructive emotions will cause the body to release harmful chemicals such as the stress hormone CRH and ACTH. These hormones race to the adrenal glands to produce cortisol and adrenaline which cause extreme physical symptoms, heart palpitations, and breathing difficulties. Serotonin and endorphin levels can deplete which cause severe depression
All these emotions primarily begin with a thought, which if not taken captive can lead to negative and toxic thinking resulting in the release of the negative chemicals which in turn can result in a host of physical ailments. That’s why it is essential to rid ourselves of the contaminated belief systems that may have taken root throughout our life affecting our emotional life and relationships. Faulty belief systems are strongholds that have built up in our minds that must be demolished. How do we do that? We go to war against them. God’s word says….
”For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Every negative thought, belief system, and lie must be replaced with truth. Jesus said, “You will know the truth and truth will make you free.” (John 8:32) We do not have to live in bondage to a hurtful past or negative emotional life. No matter our past experiences we can live a life of abundance in Christ. Give your burdens to Jesus. He is faithful to heal you from the inside out and give you rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Mathew 11:28-30)
Every person has a learned pattern of behavior when dealing with conflict. Some lash out; others become critical, defensive and sarcastic, while some retreat like a turtle and avoid conflict altogether. None of these patterns work towards solution and even create more conflict adding layers of bitterness and resentments causing hearts to get hardened and broken intimacy in relationships.
What’s God’s solution when conflict in relationships arises? GRACE! You see people model what was modeled to them. If they attack, they were attacked. If they are critical, they were criticized. If they avoid, stuffing and avoidance was the name of the game growing up. These patterns are brought into relationships and affect those we love. It’s important not to personalize the wrongful reactions of other people. It has more to do with their faulty filters and less to do with you. Grace understands this. It can build a bridge to healthy relationships.
God’s word says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Instead of getting angry and replying in kind commit to sifting every conflict through a grace sifter. Nothing gets through unless it contains grace. Just like a flour sifter catches big lumps of flour that will ruin a recipe – nothing critical is allowed to sift through that will ruin our relationships. There is nothing wrong with the flour it’s just the wrong consistency. Likewise, conflict issues are legitimate and must be addressed and dealt with. But it’s our negative reaction to conflict that needs sifting through the filter of grace.
The next part of the recipe calls for seasoning with salt. Salt is a preservative. If your conversation is full of grace – allowing for faults and imperfections of others – it preserves relationships and brings peace to our lives. This is the perfect recipe for healthy God-centered relationships. Let’s get to cooking with grace.
“But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”
Repeated apologies, promises never to do it again, remorse, tears, pleading for another chance are things repeat abusers say to those they hurt. Whether they are causing harm through emotional or physical abuse, committing adultery, being deceptive, lying, cheating, or are engaged in other destructive behaviors such as addiction, they may genuinely feel bad when exposed and confronted and offer appeasement for the moment, but nothing changes.
The behavior continues causing pain and destruction at all levels in families and relationships. That’s because God’s word says there is a huge difference between feeling sorry for what we do and repentance, regretting the wrongs we have committed and committing to change behaviors that bind and hurt others.
Worldly sorrow does not lead to the brokenness and humility needed to get the human heart to a place of genuine Godly sorrow and repentance before a Holy God that produces a desire to change. Worldly sorrow causes the heart to hardened and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly softens the heart and brings forth life.
If we continue to allow others to appease us with worldly sorrow, then we must understand that things will remain the same. This is called enabling.
We can’t change another person’s heart but God can. Release them to God, guard your heart, and pray the Lord will orchestrate whatever needs to take place to produce Godly sorrow in someone who is hurting themselves and others. That’s where true change begins.
Suppressed negative emotions take root early in life and accumulate and are buried over time but don’t go away. They manifest in all sorts unhealthy thinking and behaviors. This is an opportune time for Satan to set up strongholds in our minds. A stronghold is a way of thinking that holds us bondage in our minds, and it strangles the abundant life of a believer. Over time, each negative emotionally hurtful event in our lives can add another layer of woodenness and unless it is brought to the light can rob us of our joy and peace in our walk with the Lord and affect our emotional health and well-being.
The first step to achieving emotional healing is being honest and recognizing that rather than blaming others and staying a victim, we need to take accountability for how we have been dealing with past hurts.
“Jesus says if you abide in my word you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth and truth will set you free”….”So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:32,33)
How can we experience this freedom if we are still carrying around a backpack full of emotional hurts and pain? In order to know this freedom, we need to acknowledge that we have not dealt with these buried emotions and need them brought to the surface so our Lord Jesus can sever them at the root.
Then and only then can God take us from a broken, hurting, anxious individual and restore us so that we can finally experience the peace and joy that the Lord desires us to have in our walk with Him.
“He reveals the deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness and the light dwells with Him.”
(Daniel 2:22 Amplified Bible)
Understanding that people are not responsible for our feelings is crucial in the healing process. Emotions are influenced by our own thoughts and beliefs that we choose to believe about ourselves, others and the world around us. We need to stop holding people responsible and allow God to heal our hearts. God’s truth and claiming His promises is the key to combating negative emotions.
Many enter the healing journey feeling powerless and overwhelmed by circumstances and painful emotions that they try to control but can’t. The truth of the matter is that we are powerless to change anything, but God has the power to change all things. When we truly come to grips with that and stop trying to control everything; we enter into a sweet place of brokenness and humility before the Lord, where we can start surrendering our faulty thinking and painful emotions to Him.
Sifting through the unhealthy symptoms of emotional pain can seem overwhelming, but there is hope and healing on the other side. Running away from emotional pain will only deepen the hurt and keeps us in bondage to faulty thinking and negative behaviors affecting all our relationships, breaking intimacy with self, God and others. We need to be set free from the things that have been hindering us from living the abundant life of a believer.
Prayer to Reveal Inner Wounds
I come to You as Your child for help.
Please calm my heart.
Enable me to see what I need to see.
Make me aware of my need for healing and show Your truth.
Bring to mind any buried pain……
Surface any hidden hurt and the exact circumstances that caused it.
I ask You to help my wounded heart to heal.
I know You have the power to make me whole.
I am willing to face whatever you want me to face
So I can be set free
In the Holy Name of Jesus, I pray, Amen.
“Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts, And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.” Psalm 51:6
“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound.” Isaiah 61:1
Do you feel they owe you? Are you expecting them to pay you back for the hurt and pain they caused? 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
Nothing is more grieving than loving someone bent on destruction. Feeling powerless can drive us to insane levels of trying to save our loved ones from the consequences of their poor choices by fixing, managing, and trying to change and control their lives. Often we don’t even realize that we may be hindering the work of the Holy Spirit that convicts, leads them to a place of brokenness, surrender, and repentance.
Our greatness act of love must be to pray, let go and surrender them to God. When we get out of the way, our loved ones stop looking to us to be their savior and turn to their true Savior Jesus Christ who has the power to heal, restore, redeem and set free.
Whether it’s a spouse, child, sibling or a friend, we must release them to the care of God, yet it’s difficult to do because many of us have a misconception about what it means to let go and release. The following poem was written by June Hunt. It’s a beautiful picture of releasing.
Releasing you is not to stop loving you but loving you enough to stop leaning on you.
Releasing is not to stop caring for you but to care enough to stop controlling you.
Releasing is not to turn away from you, but it is to turn to Christ trusting His will over you.
Releasing is not to harm you but realizing my help has been harmful to you.
Releasing is not to refuse you but to refuse to keep reality from you.
Releasing is not to prove my power over you, but it is to admit that I am powerless to change you.
Releasing is not to stop believing in you, but it is to believe the Lord alone will build character in you.
Releasing is not to condemn the past but to cherish the present and commit our future to the Lord.
Nothing hurts and nothing heals like the truth. Facing the truth is sometimes like getting a shot from the doctor. Facing the truth sometimes brings a sting, but eventually healing will come and we will feel better. The truth heals us and restores us when we place our life in the hands of God. Without placing our life in Christ’s love and grace, the truth can only hurt us and there are even times when the truth can maim and traumatize us.
However, God has organized things in such a way as to bless us and heal us when we are with Him and when we rejoice in knowing the truth. The truth heals and restores our soul because when we live and immerse ourselves in the truth, eventually the truth will lead us to God. We are healed and restored by the truth because the truth always leads us to a place where we find comfort and love in His presence.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth is this…God loves us beyond our ability to fully comprehend. All the hurt, trauma, and tragedy of this life can be washed away in the truth of God’s love and grace if we are willing to be His child. This washing away of our darkness is how the truth heals and restores us. After we are washed clean by Christ’s love, we find ourselves being wrapped up in His arms. In the washing away of our lies and deceptions, we begin to see clearly our Savior who stands by us every second of our life. We also see He wants us to join Him in Heaven after our mission on earth has been completed.
There 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.