Today, we’re going to talk about forgiveness and emotional wounds. Forgiveness is a foundational must in order for our emotional wounds to heal. While none of us can escape being hurt along life’s path, it’s what we do with those disappointments and betrayals that define us.
I’ve heard people say, “I could NEVER forgive them!” and I could certainly understand, because I, too, have been hurt to the point of not wanting to forgive. But if we think that our unforgiveness toward other people will hurt them, we’re dead wrong. Holding onto unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to get sick.
In fact, the Bible says, “Do not say, ‘I’ll pay you back for this wrong.’ Wait for the Lord and He will deliver you.” (Proverbs 20:22)
Notice that it says that God will deliver you, which means He will bring justice. He will take care of the matter. He saw that you were wronged and He doesn’t like it, because He hates sin. But, thankfully, he loves the sinner, for we have all sinned in His sight.
When we retaliate to get even, though, we take God out of the healing equation. We take the entire matter into our own hands instead of God’s. But when we trust in Him in all our life’s situations, He can redeem anyone and any wrong we may have suffered.
Now, forgiveness isn’t ignoring or denying our emotional wounds. We know that they wronged us and we can’t pretend that it didn’t happen. But, if we are to ever be released from the pain of these wounds, the healing must begin with a personal choice. We need to CHOOSE to forgive, if for no other reason than because God chose first to forgive us. Forgiveness is a choice, not a feeling.
And sometimes the wound is so deep that it just takes time for the pain to be released. Sometimes the pain is so deep that it seems absolutely impossible to let go and forgive, but it is possible – with God’s help.
Here are four steps that allow the healing to begin:
1) CHOOSE to forgive
I once knew a lady who refused to forgive. She clung to every wrong that was ever done to her; and she died a crippled and bitter woman. She drank the poison of unforgiveness, and she was the one who suffered. Even when someone was truly sorry and overwhelmingly begged for forgiveness, the bitterness remained. She didn’t even forgive her best friend when things went askew.
We must forgive those who have wronged us if we are to ever see our emotional wounds heal. Now, don’t get me wrong, forgiveness doesn’t equal trust. Trust must be earned back, if at all, but forgiveness is a choice.
2) SHARE your pain with God and a close, trusted friend.
Get it all out in the open. Acknowledge that you need healing. When we try to ignore our wounds and attempt to keep them hidden in the dark, the effects of them can grow and hurt us even further. So release the pain: cry, get mad, talk, yell… just get it out. Simply verbalizing your wound can deliver some relief. But, learning to allow God into it so that He can touch you in your deepest hurt brings freedom and healing.
God’s Word says: “He is our Healer” which means physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Ask God to heal you by allowing Him to go deep into your heart to heal every part of it that needs healing.
3) CLEANSE the wound with repentance.
My husband recently suffered a deep gash on his shin, taking off most of the skin from his lower leg, even exposing the bone. It took months for that thing to heal. He had to purposefully cleanse it every day.
Our emotional wounds need regular cleansing as well. If left alone, they can fester into unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, depression, anxiety, and even physical sickness. Is the person who hurt you really worth you suffering because you refuse to let it go? We don’t want to allow the devil a foothold in our lives, as we see in Ephesians 4:25-27:
25 So stop telling lies. Let us tell our neighbors the truth, for we are all parts of the same body. 26 And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.
He will take any open door we give him, especially when we don’t forgive. That’s the exact opposite of what Christ did for us at the cross, and we are actually agreeing with the enemy when we don’t forgive. We give Satan access to destroy us. If we think that we are getting even by not letting it go, we’re only fooling ourselves.
God has greater things in store for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to heal your wound to the point that when you speak of it, it’s almost as if you’re talking about someone else’s wound.
4) RENEW your mind through God’s Word.
When you choose to forgive and release the pain caused by another, the enemy is losing ground in your life… and he doesn’t like it. So he will do everything he can to bring that wound up again. But he can only do that if you entertain it. When the pain arises, choose to focus on something that is good in your life: your kids, your friends, your salvation, your Lord, your home, your pet, etc. The battlefield of your mind can be conquered, but it takes work and determination not to “go back there”. Renewing your mind by the Word of God offers the power to change us. If you’re not a reader, get a good Bible app that can read the Bible to you. Take responsibility to feed yourself truth from God’s Word.
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