True Change

godly-sorrow

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 Fear

Understanding FearFear is a strong emotional reaction to imminent danger – real or imagined, rational or irrational, normal or abnormal. It is a natural emotion designed by God. However, living with a fear based mentality or with a spirit of fear is not from God.

Sometimes fear is real, we get a call in the middle of the night. Those calls are usually never good news. Often, the caller is delivering some bad news such as someone we love has been in an accident. As a result, our hearts are gripped with fear of the unknown. Is my loved one going to survive? We can find out that we may lose our jobs due to layoffs. Or the doctor tells us we have a terminal illness. Most of us will face some of these life issues at some point in our lives. The fear is real. But often times it has no basis in reality. We can fear what has not happened or will never happen. We may be gripped with fear about the possibility of getting sick, getting in a car accident. We can fear rejection and never pursue friendships, job opportunities, relationships, and we can fear failure and never pursue anything

If you grew up in a home where fear reigned, and you didn’t experience love, safety, and security, you might have easily developed a fear based mentality. This abnormal fear cripples and stunts any personal growth or aspirations. It prevents a person from even trying, or leaving bad situations even abusive ones. It can also prevent us from seeking help for fear of what will be uprooted. Fear can also be the driving emotion behind anger. This is bondage, and we need to be set free.

God’s word tells that “perfect love cast out all fear.” (1 John 4:18) It makes sense then that if we are love deficient we are fear based. The solution is to Get God’s love in you. As easy as this may seem, for those who have been crippled in their ability to love and be loved because of the wounds of the past, it is extremely difficult. Only the truth of God’s love can penetrate the hardest of hearts. We can overcome fear through faith in a loving God.

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Domestic Abuse

I will sustain You.One out of three women is a victim of domestic abuse. They are everywhere. It could be the neighbor next door, the girl sitting next to you in Bible Study, or a family member close to you. They are very skilled in hiding their bruises and live lives filled with shame.

Because their spirits have been broken, they are terrified to get help for fear their abusers will follow through on their threat to kill them or their children. When they do seek help from their church, they are told to go back home and submit to their husbands. However, they are not giving the whole counsel of God.

The Bible teaches mutual submission in love and reverence to the Lord not a one sided abusive and demeaning tyrant like authoritarian submission that tears down and destroys hearts and families. That goes against God’s very Word which tells us to “Above all else, put on love which is the bond of perfection.” (Colossians 3:14) It also teaches that “Love does no harm to its neighbor.” (Romans 13:10). Nowhere in Scripture does it teach that wives are to submit to abuse.

However, as awful as the abuse is there is a root driving it, and there are reasons why victims allow the abuse to continue. Both are in need of help. But in order for the cycle of abuse to stop only one person needs to change. Either the abuser will get help, or the abused will stop allowing it. God offers healing to all who are hurting and broken. He sees it all. You are not alone and are not without hope. Seek help and stop the abuse.

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered man, do not associate with one easily angered. Or you may learn his ways and get yourself ensnared.” (Proverbs 22:24-25)

True wisdom and guidance are found only in the whole counsel of God.

 

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Removing Shame

Removing ShameShame has no room in the life of a believer. Jesus has covered our guilt and shame. Our past does not define us. The sins that hurt us whether ours or someone else’s perpetrated against are not who we are.

They kept us from becoming who God creates us to be causing us to adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms and put up walls around our hearts to guard against being hurt. They kept everyone else out including God.

Addiction, sexual sin, bodily abuse, eating disorders, trauma, neglect, violence cannot be erased from our minds, but we can be free from their damaging effects on our souls.

God sets us free by helping us walk through and process the pain, removing the lies we have believed about ourselves, and offering and receiving forgiveness. This releases us from the bondage of being a byproduct of our past. Through the Sacrifice of our beloved Savior and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, we are set free.

We can replant and be rooted in God’s love and grace, but we must let go of the toxic things that keep us from living in freedom, growing and becoming who God created us to be

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Love Seeks The Highest Good For Another

Love Does No Wrong To Its NeighborThe greatest human need is for love. It’s a legitimate need placed in us by our creator. When this need is not met it can create a void so deep we go through life trying to fill it.It causes us to crave the approval and acceptance of others and drives us to engage in imbalanced relationships where we attach to unhealthy, emotionally unavailable people who often abuse and mistreat us. We will often compromise our morals, values, and beliefs for fear of losing them.

This creates a vicious cycle of feeling used, devalued, unappreciated, victimized opening the door to bitterness, resentments, unforgiveness, and hopelessness. The only way to stop the cycle is to get a healthy dose of real love – the love of Jesus. Love seeks the highest good for another. Our Savior demonstrated this perfectly at the cross.

We will never be able to engage in healthy relationships unless we receive the fullness of God’s love. Only His love satisfies. If you are desperately seeking the love and approval of those who continually hurt you it may be a sign that you have not encountered the Love of Jesus in your heart where you see yourself as He sees you – A precious child of the Living God.

When you remove barriers that hinder the ability to live in the fullness of His love for you, it will radically change the people you attract and allow close to your heart. You will desire to engage in relationships that honor God, bless you and seek the highest good for others.

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A Hardened Heart

A Hardened HeartA 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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Transforming Power

Heart and snowAre you struggling today? The same power that raised Jesus from the grave is inside us. He is our helper, our teacher, our counselor, our friend. We need to know His power. His resurrection power! His redeeming power! Life breathing power! His healing power! He has the power to change lives and restore hearts.

Knowing the power and authority we have in Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit can break any stronghold, sever anything that holds us captive and in bondage. It can snap the chains of the enemy; lift any barrier hindering our ability to run the race with endurance.

He is the power source that enables us to persevere and overcome any negative experience that has ever happened to us and be healed and set free. Never underestimate the power we have in the Holy Spirit. God’s word declares in 1 John 4:4 that greater is He who is in your than He who is in the world. We are never alone.

The Holy Spirit is always there and will empower us to face, push through and remove anything that harms us, tries to separate us from God and stunt our Christian walk and spiritual growth.

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Forgiving One Another

compassionGod 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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Unhealthy Boundaries

unhealthy boundariesGod’s boundaries are everywhere throughout scripture. They separate light from dark, land and sea, good and evil, holiness and unholiness. They also define ownership. In our personal lives, they protect what we value and assign worth to.

God’s word says that we are the temple of the living God. This means that we are precious and of tremendous worth. We belong to Jesus. Sadly, many believers don’t see their value so they allow people to hurt and mistreat them.

Healthy boundaries are essential in establishing healthy relationships. Unhealthy boundaries lead to unhealthy relationships, and broken boundaries result in broken relationships.

People with unhealthy boundaries allow wrongful behaviors that hurt them and others, compromise values to please others, expect others to fulfill all their needs, feel guilty when they say “no,” and feel used, taken advantage of, unappreciated, threatened and victimized by others, they feel responsible for others feelings and allow others to tell them how to think, feel and behave. They also struggle with being afraid to disapprove of others, receiving criticism, or losing the love of others.

When we allow God to heal our hurts and show us the unhealthy ways we have been operating in relationships, we will start to see our value and worth in Him, and we will no longer wish to engage in the negative patterns of behaviors that ruin relationships. He will teach us how to set boundaries to guard our hearts and temples against getting defiled with bitterness and resentment.

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God Heals All

lipstickEmotional wounds manifest through various negative behaviors – violent rage, severe depression, phobias, low self-worth, perfectionism, controlling, insecurities, emotional dependencies, addictions, etc. But God can heal all!

He restores what is broken, change your destructive thought patterns, and give you an amazing life filled with hope, joy, and the abundant life Jesus came to give God’s people.

All you have to do is ask. He came to heal the brokenhearted and bind up their wounds.

Do you want to be made well?

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