How Can You Know When 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 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 being sorry and repentance, between 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 harden and brings forth death in all areas of our lives, while Godly sorrow 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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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

Oh, Father,
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

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When People Hurt Us

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 of behavior that we are not responsible for. It will not only hurt us deeply but make us believe lies that affect how we see ourselves.

So what can we do?  Psalm 139:23-24 says, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties, and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This verse is all about looking within, asking the Lord to examine our own hearts, and not anyone else’s.  At the end of the day, all 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 others actions to hurt us physically, spiritually, or emotionally, and release them at the foot of the cross.  We have to stop giving other people control over our emotions. That just gives unhealthy people way too much power and authority in our lives. And last time I checked, as believers we should only be submitting our hearts and lives over to the love and authority of the Living God.

We can’t make people’s unhealthy issues our issues. 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. That’s no way to live. Choose instead to protect your heart and let Jesus teach you how to respond in a healthy way to those who cause you pain so that you can live in peace and joy regardless of what others do.

 

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Perfect Love Casts Away Fear

Everyone experiences fear and anxiety from time to time, but being consumed   with fear and anxiety can be crippling. Fear and anxiety turn us inward towards ourselves. Satan can and will use fear and anxiety against us at every opportunity.

When we experience fear and anxiety, we must take a deep breath and think about Christ and His assurance to be with us. We must remember to relax and place these negative emotions in a proper perspective. Fear is the negative emotion generated by a tangible threat. Anxiety is the negative emotion generated by an intangible threat. Fear is the result of something real. Anxiety is the result of something imagined. Anxiety causes an unsettledness within, often people can’t identify what they are anxious about. Worry is different, the object of their worry is identifiable.

When we are worried, fearful and anxious, we must remember to pray. Obviously, fear and anxiety take away your prayerful moods. However, God cares about your coming to Him in prayer, regardless of your emotions or your circumstances. Pray God’s word over every fear, worry or anxious thought. By doing so, we are promised in Philippians 4:6-7 that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.

Always remember that negative emotions are rooted in negative thinking. Emotions will not change unless we change our thinking. Scripture backs this up beautifully, “Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad.” (Proverbs 12:25). Saturate yourself in the Truth of God’s Holy Word. Meditate on the rich promises that are part of your inheritance as a beloved precious child of the living God! No matter how your feel right now choose to embrace the truth, strength and wisdom and peace of God by changing your spiritual focus from darkness to light.

Let the One who counts every hair on your head comfort and fill you with hope for the future. His perfect love casts away all fear. Set your fearful thoughts on Jesus. He is the greatest mood stabilizer of all.

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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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He Heals Broken Hearts

Dear Lord,
I ask that today and every day You will partner with me in a thorough examination and cleansing of my heart. Reveal, heal and deliver me of all the strongholds I am bound by in my life. LORD, please expose with Your Truth and Light all the pain, fear, shame, guilt and sorrow that is hidden within dark places of my heart … all the things that prevent me from living a life of freedom, peace, and joy that come from a transparent relationship with You. Father. Please show me how to come before You in faith, trust, obedience, and submission, revealing to me all the lies I have received and believed in my life… helping me to replace my deformed belief system with Your Word and Your Truth, which endures forever. Teach me Your Ways, LORD, and show me how to find freedom in your limitless forgiveness for myself and others, to embrace myself as a new creation. Allow me to see myself through Your eyes, as Your precious child, joint heir with Christ in Your Kingdom of Heaven. Write a new story on my heart, LORD… one born of The Holy Spirit, guided by the power of Your redemption and restoration. Please bless and comfort me with a wholeness of healing that is only possible through You, Jehovah Rapha-my LORD Who Heals. Abba Father, I praise You for all that You Are, yesterday, today and tomorrow, and pray all these things in the Name of my Savior,
Jesus Christ. Amen!
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Only God’s Love Is Unfailing

We were all created with three God-given needs – for love, security, and acceptance. When people fail us it can cut at our self-worth because often we look to them to meet the needs only God can fully meet.

Losing a relationship is always painful but can be devastating for some. God does bring people in our lives to reinforce our inherent needs but they are not meant to take His place as the only source of love that truly satisfies.

It we are dependent on people to meet our love needs what happens when they leave? If you are feeling lost and rejected over a relationship loss turn to Jesus. He offers you love and acceptance. He will never reject you. Ephesians 1:6 says you are accepted in the beloved.

The Lord wants to reaffirm your value and worth in Him. But it won’t be found in anyone or anything other than Him. True identity does not come from relationships but from a relationship with our precious Savior Jesus Christ.

“Your unfailing love, O LORD, is as vast as the heavens; your faithfulness reaches beyond the clouds.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains, your justice like the ocean depths. You care for people and animals alike, O LORD .
How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.”
Psalm 36:5-7

 

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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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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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Perfectionism the Comfort Stealer

Why is it so important that we do not fall into the trap of thinking that we have to be perfect? Because there are no perfect people! But trouble comes when we expect ourselves and others to be perfect. Perfect people don’t have problems so we feel “pressured” to be perfect and cannot admit our problems.

When problems are not presented to God and each other, we cannot be comforted, or if in private desperation we cry out to God and see relief, we cannot share our testimony because we would have to admit to the problem in the first place. That means that we cannot comfort others! What a loss to the person needing help and the blessing for us in helping others.

We would miss the whole point of what Paul is talking about in this passage of scripture.  When we can stop fighting our brokenness and instead accept it, we can surrender our need to cover the shame by trying to be perfect, earn acceptance, get validation, prove our value and worth, or check out of life in various ways so we don’t have to face our brokenness. When we do this we live in survival mode and miss out on the abundant Christian life grounded in this truth – It is in my brokenness, powerlessness, and in my weakness that my JESUS is made stronger.

Only when this truth resonates deep in our hearts are we able to identify with other’s brokenness. Let’s cry out to God and be comforted and invite others to experience the same kind of comfort we received. This is the true Christian life!

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

” Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”    2 Corinthians 3:5

” And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony.” Revelation 12:11

 

 

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