How Do I know Someone Is Really Sorry?

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.

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The Test of Forgiveness

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

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Counseling That Heals

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.

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Forgiveness Is The Key

God cares about our relationships and wants us to be right with one another. Too often close relationships are torn apart due to hurts, misunderstandings, offenses, pride, unresolved issues, and emotions can run deep, cut at the heart filling us with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness.

And usually, it’s the relationships we treasure the most that breakdown and cause the deepest pain. Rather than confront the issues, it may seem easier to avoid, blame others and feel justified holding on to our hurts and anger.

Yet God calls us higher. His word says that as much as depends on us to live at peace with all people (Romans 12:18). We need to forgive those who have wounded us and ask for forgiveness when we have wounded others. We will never be free unless we learn how to forgive and release our offenders at the foot of the cross.

We need only take ownership of our wrong doings and leave the rest at God’s feet endeavoring always to extend grace and leave the door open for reconciliation whenever possible.

Are you struggling with forgiveness? Sometimes all it takes is to go to Jesus with a sincere heart and ask Him to give you a willingness to forgive, make amends and pursue peace. There is nothing that He can’t do with a willing and surrendered heart.

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He Completes You

You don’t need someone to complete you. You only need someone to accept you completely. God’s word says that our precious Savior has made you accepted in the beloved. Ephesians 1:6

If you are looking to anyone or anything to fill and complete you other than Jesus, you will be let down, live in disappointment and blame others for your unhappiness.

How can anyone accept you completely if you can’t accept yourself? Complete acceptance of who we are only comes when we can see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus – Loved, accepted, chosen, adopted, forgiven, redeemed!

If you feel less than and think you don’t measure up get to the root! Live in the fullness of His love. Stop looking to others to meet your needs. Only the Son of the living God can meet your need for love and acceptance.

“And My God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:19

 

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From Despair to Hope

We all go through struggles and hard times. Life is not fair. There are times of sadness, despair, and regret. The Psalmist paints a picture of someone trapped in an emotional downward spiral. Everything seems overwhelming and yet, in the end, they were able to say that there is encouragement in seeking God’s help. Why? Because God hears us.

There are two types of trauma that brings the kind of despair that we read in today’s passage. There is the trauma of “not getting what we need” , and then there is the trauma of “getting something that we should have never received.” The first is the result of neglect and abandonment, the second from abuse. But the good news is that God hears us in our despair and He can help us. Life brings each of us inescapable traumas that block maturity.

God’s redemptive activity comes to us in two ways: He brings healing to our traumas, and adopts us into His family. Both ways boost us through our blocks to maturity, along the way to wholeness, With these boosts, we will be able to live from the hearts He gave us, our true identities will emerge, and our relationships with family and community will be characterized by joy.

Today, praise God for His healing. It is there for you as you bring your pain to Him. Also, praise God for His family. It is through the fellowship and love from each other that we are made whole and can experience the joy He has for us.

“Save me, O God, for the floodwaters are up to my neck. Deeper and deeper I sink into the mire; I can’t find a foothold. I am in deep water, and the floods overwhelm me. I am exhausted from crying for help; my throat is parched. My eyes are swollen with weeping, waiting for my God to help me.” – “Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged. For the LORD hears the cries of the needy.”
Psalms 69: 1-3, 32-33 (NLT)

 

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Breaking the Bondage of Shame

Satan likes to utilize our shame from past mistakes to fill us with a sense of indictment. The enemy gains a stronghold through our unhealed hearts; thus, intensifying and festering our anger, guilt, and regret. He uses our lingering, painful emotions to rob us of our joy and peace in the present.

Even more dangerous, the enemy can glamorize the past in a way that makes us long for pieces of our old self. This is a dangerous, slippery slope. Remember Lot’s wife! Our past is the biggest indicator of how desperately we need our precious Savior!

In contrast, God says we are a new creation and justified by the Blood of Christ. God says there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. God is able to restore the years the locusts have taken away. He promises an abundant life full of hope. Through His grace, every mistake can be miraculously transformed into a beautiful testimony of His love, mercy, forgiveness, and splendor.

The past, along with the present and future, belongs to Abba God. Therefore, let us trust and honor God by surrendering it to Him, all for His ordained and anointed purpose. Let us partner with The Balm of Gilead in a heart healing; obey and trust Him to make all things new; praise Him for all He has done and will continue to do.

Let us give God all the glory for how He made a way for us through Jesus; believe and fully receive His Grace. Let us rejoice that we are reconciled by The Blood of The Lamb; sanctified, transformed and regenerated by The Holy Spirit.

Take heart, for there is no place in the present or our future for anything old. We are a new creation…kin with Christ…citizens of Heaven. If there is anything useful from our brokenness, God can certainly transform it into something beautiful, according to His Will and all for His Marvelous Glory…

Isaiah 43:19
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

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Authentic Love

He lies, you cry. He’s not sorry but says he is. He promises not to do it again, he does. You complain. He doesn’t change. Yet you continue to allow him to hurt you. Often going back and forth from feeling hopeful to despair, living life contingent on what he is doing or not doing. Your emotions are at the mercy of whatever is going on with him, and you’re always hoping that he changes and starts to love you how you need to be loved.  You might even be convinced that if he would just change, then you would be okay. That could not be further from the truth. No human being should ever have that kind of power and control over you, especially an emotionally unhealthy one.

God’s word says, “A satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to a hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet” Proverbs 27:7. Modern translation? Bad love is better than no love at all.

When we don’t know our value and worth in Christ, it is almost a certainty that we have not experienced the love of God that fills the void, fully satisfies the longing heart, and makes us feel accepted and complete in Him. So instead, we go looking for it in all the wrong places, in all the wrong people, and in all the wrong things.

You are God’s beloved. His precious jewel.  Your precious Savior wants you to know your value and worth in Him, and experience the fullness of His love for you so you stop allowing others to hurt and mistreat His beloved child, and stop trying to get your need for love met elsewhere. Only God’s love satisfies.  You are loved beyond measure. Stop settling for the counterfeit.

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Prayer to Replace Fear With Faith

Lord God,

I pray that today and every day You will teach me how to replace my fears with faith… That I will cast my anxieties, fears, doubts and uncertainties upon You and allow Your Perfect Love to drive out those feelings that are not born of The Holy Spirit….that I will surrender my troubles to You, my Holy Heavenly Father, who is ALWAYS GREATER than any rejection, failure, criticism, emotion or enemy I may face today or tomorrow.

I pray that I will grow an enormous and abundant faith in You, an all-knowing, ever-present, always-loving God and walk in the confidence and sound mind that comes from knowing who You Are…that my trust in You will produce in me a faith that will motivate me to just let go of the things that hold me back, give them to you and receive peace beyond measure in my heart and mind.

I pray that I will cling to Your Truth and Your Promises and find refuge in You when I encounter dark valleys in my days, seasons and lives…place my trust in You, my Tower of Strength, for You Are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow and You have repeatedly assured me that You are for me and will protect me.

Father, I thank You and praise You for Your Grace, Love, Mercy and Sovereign Protection in my life! I thank You for the atoning Sacrifice of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, so that I may be reconciled unto You…for my adoption and citizenship in Your Kingdom…for the security, peace, and comfort that You provide in my authentic identity in Christ!
In the name of my beloved Savior, Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3

 

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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.

 

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