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 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 a choice. It’s a willful act of obedience that blesses the heart of our Father in Heaven and sets us free.
When someone is caught up in the throes of addiction, they are in bondage. They have lost the ability to stop using altogether. Family members of loved ones trapped in the cycle and the roller coaster of addiction do not comprehend the insanity of addiction. They honestly believe that if their loved one cared about their family, they would stop. Since they don’t understand the dynamics of addiction they think they can shame, guilt, manipulate, threaten or bribe someone into quitting. What they don’t understand is that you cannot rationalize addiction. People will go insane trying to get their loved ones to stop using often caring more about the addict’s life and responsibilities than they do, and become fixated on trying to fix, change, manage and control the addicted person’s behavior. And because they think they can love someone enough for them to stop using, they often enable the bad behavior by not allowing people to suffer the consequences of their poor choices that hurt them and those around them. Thus without realizing it, they reinforce the bad behavior and offer the person in bondage no incentive to change or seek help. This allows the addiction to continue and hinders “the bottom” necessary for getting to a sweet place of brokenness and surrender required for healing and breaking free from the bondage of addiction.
Doesn’t the Bible tell us to help the needy? Yes, but it also tells us to be wise. Often our helping is actually hurting. But how do we know the difference? Helping is doing something for someone else that they are not capable of doing for themselves. Enabling is doing things for someone else that they can and should be doing for themselves. Enabling encourages and helps the addict to stay in addiction.
On the surface, the “enabler’ may appear to be doing all the right things and doing good things to stop the user from destroying themselves, but often the enabler needs as much help as the addicted person. The only difference is that one behavior looks very good on the surface while the other not so good. The truth is they both need help.
Make no mistake about it! Allowing someone to continue in their addiction without making them accountable for their destructive behavior is enabling, it’s destructive, and must be addressed. Because it hurts everyone involved and cosigns with the enemy to destroy families, relationships and separates us from God. Both sides need to take responsibility and be accountable for their side of the fence. What, they both have in common is an inner woundedness. There is a deeper issue causing the addiction and the enabling. The difference is that it’s harder for the enabler to see their need for help because the rooted issues do not manifest in seemingly negative behaviors shunned by the Church and society but are instead applauded as selfless acts of mercy and love. Enabling allows the addict and enabler to stay in bondage, preventing them from seeing their need for help, and the destructive cycle will continue for a lifetime without intervention.
“Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted.” (Galatians 6:1)
“Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
Fear is a normal strong emotional reaction to impending danger—whether real or imagined, rational or irrational, normal or abnormal. It was designed by God. However, living with a fear-based mentality or with a spirit of fear is not from God.
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 trying to leave a bad situation, even an abusive one. 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 us 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 into us. 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.
n the physical world, boundaries are easy to see….. lines, fences, signs, hedges…..these are all physical boundaries. They give the same message….THIS IS WHERE MY PROPERTY BEGINS. As the owner of the property, I am legally responsible for what happens on my property line. Nonowners are not responsible. In the spiritual realm boundaries are just as real only harder to see. Yet they serve the same purpose. They protect ownership.
The word of God says that our bodies are the temple of the living God and His Spirit lives in us. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17) We have been bought at a price…by the precious blood of Jesus. (1 Corinthians 6:20) Therefore, we belong to Jesus first and foremost and our identity is in Him and Him alone. Boundaries merely help guard and protect that relationship and our relationship with self and others.
Boundaries also defend us physically, emotionally and spiritually from intrusive or unwanted dangers. They also make it possible to engage and enjoy a mutually healthy relationship because they protect those relationships by setting the course for mutual respect, consideration, and safety.
Boundaries define us. They define what is me and what is not me. A boundary shows me where I end and someone else begins….leading me to a sense of ownership. Knowing what I own and take responsibility forgives me freedom. If I know where my yard begins and ends, I am free to take responsibility for my life and it opens us options to pursue the person that God created me to be. It also gives me the freedom to allow you to be who God created you to be and take responsibility for your own life. This takes the burden off both you and me.
When you have healthy boundaries you guard yourself against giving more than you should and protect you from others taking more than they should.
Boundaries help bring order to your personal world and the world around you and guard against enmeshment and codependency where you are controlled by others and stripped of your identity in Christ causing great conflict in all areas of your life.
Gods word tell us to……” Above all else guard your heart for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
How about you? Do you have healthy boundaries? If not ask the Lord to show you how to put boundaries in place that will guard your heart and help you engage in mutually healthy relationships that are blessed by God.
We are told in scripture to let go of the past and reach forward to what’s ahead. Sadly, many of God’s children cannot let go or forget the past because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another, and the past is affecting their present life. So instead of running the Christian race they limp along the way often overcome with guilt and shame for not “getting it” like other Christians seemingly do.
Our Churches are filled with two types of emotional crippled Christians, The first have open wounds in their hearts that they medicate through negative behaviors such as addiction, immorality, anger etc. They live in denial not realizing their destructive and hurtful behaviors have a root cause.
The second group of wounded believers are also in denial but through sheer will power they have chosen to bury and rise above their past often pouring themselves into ministry, volunteer work, charities, and other busy activities out of a personal need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. By staying busy they don’t have to face themselves and the wounds inside, or learn to receive from others.
These two groups have one important thing in common – they have never accepted the Grace of God. Whatever they do, even spiritually, it never seems to be enough. It’s as if they have to earn God’s acceptance, and yet never feel they are good enough to fully receive it. The first group is overcome with sinful behaviors; while the second group is so busy “being good” they don’t even consider the possibility that they may have festering wounds inside that need healing.
It is only when unresolved areas within are dealt with that the past can truly be put behind and we are able to run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling and purpose for 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.”
Brokenness is a heart condition. Jesus is the remedy…and His cure guarantees eternal life!
When we invite in The Great Physician to perform His spiritual surgery, we receive a heart healing that includes redemption, restoration, rest and peace…beside the still waters of everlasting love.
Won’t you cry out to The Balm of Gilead? That He may bind and heal your wounded heart?
O LORD my God, I cried to You for help, and You healed me.
He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions.
Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;
He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.
On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.”
1 Peter 2:24
who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
Is there no balm in Gilead,
Is there no physician there?
Why then is there no recovery
For the health of the daughter of my people?
But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, feeling emotionally that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.
Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.
Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.
If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.
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.
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.