Breaking the Chains & Setting you Free
I believe that God allows us to have problems, trials and issues for our growth, benefit and learning. Our thoughts and emotions drive our physiology. When we experience strong emotions, hormones are released that trigger the body to respond accordingly. Feeling of love and gratitude bring forth a response of healing, better digestion and relaxation. Feelings of fear, worry and anxiety bring tension, inflammation and pain.
When someone hurts, abuses, humiliates, falsely accuses, betrays, abandons, lies about or makes you feel unworthy, it often leads us to feelings of bitterness. Bitterness gets a foothold. You begin to mentally keep a record of how you were wronged. You think about, recount and remember the experience. You think on all the wrong things that have been done to you and every time that person’s face comes to mind, a high octane ‘ping’ goes off inside of you. Un-forgiveness has entered your heart.
This un-forgiveness leads to resentment as you meditate (think about over and over) the wrongs and offenses against you. You fume and steam over it internally. Chemicals are secreted in response to your emotions can put your body in to a state of dis-ease. These chemicals, carried by negative emotions, give you that bad feeling in your gut every time that person comes to mind. Resentment keeps the un-forgiveness in place. Your unhappy state can result in damage to your body as health problems are manifest in the areas where you are individually prone based on your inherited or genetic profile.
Un-forgiveness and resentment can progress to feelings of retaliation, anger, hatred, violence and even murder (even if it’s ‘only’ the assassination of the persons character). You will not be able to remove bitterness from your life until you deal with un-forgiveness and resentment. If you engage in negative speaking, gossip, slander or character trashing, you are not over your bitterness and un-forgiveness.
You can choose to forgive and overcome evil with good. God will forgive Whom He will forgive, but it is required of us to forgive everyone. By forgiving, you open the way for God’s wrath and you allow Him to repay the evil that was done to you and to be your vindicator. God has said “Vengeance is mine” – not yours. In the end everything will be balanced and fair (actually when you repent and forgive, you will be blessed MORE than you deserve – and I’m not talking about some distant time in the eternities, but here and now).
Without mastering the issue of forgiveness, you will keep spinning your wheels in your efforts to get well from your physical and mental/emotional problems. Forgiveness is a big missing link in healing. Forgiveness is a prerequisite to all healing. There is just no way around it. God’s promise of health can be yours, however with every promise God has a condition. You can’t claim His promises without being prepared to meet His conditions.Understand that sin is when we turn our heart, mind or actions against God and His Spirit, not simply violating one of the 10 commandments. When you repent to God for serving the sin (thoughts and attitudes) that caused your disease, do you think that He will forgive you? It depends. You see, God’s forgiveness for you is conditional. The scriptures teach very clearly that you cannot ask God to forgive you if you are not prepared to forgive all those who have hurt and wronged you. And so, un-forgiveness is a major block to healing. What we harbor in the inner recesses of our heart may be the exact thing that is preventing your well-being. Socrates declared “The unexamined life is not worth living”. And so your healing will require some self-examination.
We like to think that we can stay angry with other people and yet go to God and receive forgiveness for our sins. But the scriptures teach us that God’s forgiveness to you is in direct relationship to your willingness to forgive your brother. In other words, you will not get anything from Heaven (ie. Forgiveness) that you are not prepared to give to others (and that includes forgiving yourself and God – more on that later). Un-forgiveness is a luxury you cannot afford to have. Unforgiveness can literally eat away at your soul, corroding it like battery acid that slowly eats away at your spirit and self identity, resulting in ugliness and roughness physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.
Your Healing Hinges on Your Forgiveness
It makes no difference who was right or wrong. What is important is that you are the forgiver. It is important that you get your own heart right with God. You don’t have to prove that you are right, you have to prove that you are willing to forgive. Listen to me, it does not matter who was right. Stop trying to justify your anger, hurt, and pain. The only thing that matters is that YOU are the forgiver. You are the one who lets go of the pain and the poison. Drop it. Let it go. Let Go and Let God, as they teach in Alcoholics Anonymous.
You don’t have to carry someone else’s sin inside of you. That is their sin. God will be their judge. Your job is to release and forgive them. Your freedom, spirituality and physicality does not depend on their resolution – it depends on your resolution between you and God. Mother Teresa taught, “In the final analysis, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” Please understand that this issue of hanging on to hurt (un-forgiveness) is perhaps a divinely sanctioned opportunity for you to rise above pain and prove to God that you are willing to truly follow Him by forgiving. Let go and completely give your pain, burden, and injury to God with the full faith, trust and confidence that He will handle it and do what is best and right taking everything in to consideration. That is what real FAITH is about.
If it is possible for you to go and make peace with that person, do so. But if it is not possible because the person is not willing to restore the relationship or even talk to you, the person has died or you don’t know where the person is, never mind – what is important is that you get your own heart right with God. Understand that you do not have to resolve a single issue with somebody that has victimized you in order for God to heal you, so long as you have resolved that issue between you and God concerning them. You don’t have to wait for resolution between that person and you before you get healed. Feeling you need confrontation and resolution to a harmful perpetrator binds you to the tragedy and victimization, which is not what God expects or wants from you.
If you have something from your past and it is not possible for you to make right with the other person, you just need to make it right with God. It is dealt with because God judges it by the integrity of your heart. You don’t have to carry the guilt any longer. If somebody is holding a sin against you, it is their problem, not yours. They have to get right with God just as you do. Whether they do or don’t, it doesn’t have anything to do with you because you stand alone before God in the integrity of your heart. You don’t have to have it resolved with that person in order to be free.
Forgiveness is Not a Feeling, it is a Decision – An Act of Your Will
When you forgive others, you are not letting them off the hook, but you are giving them to God. Now you are off the hook. When you forgive someone, you have got to separate the person from their sin, just as God separated you from your sin in His heart when He saved you. To forgive, you don’t have to condone their sin. You continue to hate the sin (the abuse, betrayal, hurt, harm and injustice), but you are commanded to love the person. Try to work into your heart separating the person from the deed. Just as we do not desire to be judged and measured based on a single event or phase of our life, so too try not to define someone by their interaction with you. Now for those who are truly evil and selfish, understand that you are collateral damage in a devilish and destructive life. Those people for sure need to be given to God! Don’t even try to fix or justify their behavior.
Jesus doesn’t stop with forgiveness. Christ commands us to love our enemies, bless those that curse you and pray for those who revile or abuse you. Ouch! How can I do that? We are instructed to love and bless them, or in other words to speak well of them. It is not enough to merely say that we forgive others; you must be careful not to curse them or speak evil of them even if you think they deserve it. We’ve all been taught “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”. But I may add, this can also be the time to say a quick prayer. “Heavenly Father please bless this person as you know what they need in their life.” (Please don’t add ‘and give them what they deserve’.)
To work through the process of forgiveness and enjoy the peace and wholeness in health that you seek, you must do what God tells you to do, which is not only to forgive, but to go beyond that: Jesus challenges us to pray for them, bless them, speak well of them and love them. WHY? Because by doing so, you bless not only them, but yourself too! Your reward for your obedience in this area will be great, rich, strong, intense and abundant. As Luke says “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38)
Hating those who hurt you is like drinking poison, and hoping that your enemy will die. Why spend your life angry at people who probably do not even know or care that you are angry? These people are going on enjoying their lives while you are thoroughly miserable. You don’t have to allow somebody else’s sin or past behavior to ruin your life. Release them, forgive them, let the offense go, let it drop. Have the same attitude that Jesus had toward His enemies. By doing this, you will experience wonderful freedom, peace and good health. Give it to God, who will show Himself strong as your Vindicator. Remember, once you give it to God, it is not your job to monitor His response and keep track of how He is handling things. Let Go and Let God.
Before you go to God to repent of the sin behind your disease, you need to forgive everybody who has ever hurt or wronged you. You may need to repent of your participation in the sin – even though you may have been the innocent victim of an abusive predator. Remember, God’s forgiveness and releasing you from the poisonous infection of bitterness, resentment and un-forgiveness is conditional. God cannot forgive you until you have forgiven.
I recommend that you do an exercise where you forgive everybody who has hurt or wronged you, whether living or dead. Take a moment and ask God to reveal to you everyone you need to forgive. Who is it that when you think of them, that ‘ping’ goes off twisting your heart or stomach and making the hairs on the back of your neck stand up? Release them and let them go. All the verbal abuse, emotional abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, legal entanglements, control, rejection and betrayal you have suffered … let it all go.
Say a prayer something like this: “Heavenly Father, I pray in the name of your son, Jesus Christ, that Your Holy Spirit will minister into my life right now. Look into the depths of my heart and reveal to me where there is hardness, un-forgiveness, bitterness and resentment or anything against anybody. Please bring their names to my heart right now by the power of Your Holy Spirit. I repent to You Father for sometimes repaying evil with evil and feeling justified by it. I thought I was protecting myself when in fact I was behaving no different than the person that did evil to me. Father I repent for participating with the sin of bitterness and un-forgiveness. As an act of my will in obedience to you, I choose to forgive _______________________ (name the person and what they did). I am trusting you to make my forgiveness heartfelt – to forgive completely just like You do, without looking back. Please take the hardness of my heart and soften it with Your love. I pray that Your forgiveness will flow through me. Thank You for the work that You are doing in my heart right now. In Christ’s name. Amen.”
Most of us also have the need to forgive ourselves. Bitterness is not always about others. We can feel condemnation, guilt and shame about ourselves. Do you hold on to guilt for an issue from the past? Often that negative self-talk of not being good enough (self-rejection) and less than (self-hatred) is not even coming from you. Our thoughts can be influenced by an accusing evil spirit (Revelation 12:10). You must forgive yourself. Say this out loud, “I am not guilty!”. Come on, say it - don't just read these words, say them out loud. "I am not guilty.".Some people are so deep into guilt and self-hatred that the accusing spirit attached to them will not allow them to say it because the minute they get it out and say, “I am not guilty” that lying spirit is defeated.
Say this to yourself, “I am not guilty. I have bought in with the sin of blaming myself and have been bitter against myself all these years. I have felt guilty, unworthy, ashamed and inferior and have compared myself to others. I understand now that I was designed to make mistakes so that I can learn from them. I repent Heavenly Father, for the bitterness and un-forgiveness towards myself and I forgive myself. I command, in the name of Jesus Christ, the accusing spirit that continually puts the negative thoughts of self-hatred, self-rejection and guilt into my heart and mind to be cast out from me. I ask for Your angels of light and love to tie up and carry away this dark spirit never to return. In the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.”
Are you angry with God? (Boy, I struggled with this for several years after my parents untimely deaths.) The devils wants you to blame God because He wants to create a rift and a separation in your relationship with Him. This will steal your joy, love and passion for Him, and it opens the door to the devil in your life. If you have anger, un-forgiveness and bitterness in your heart against God, give it up and let it go. Say a prayer like this: “Heavenly Father, I have held anger against You. I know that You have done nothing wrong, and I am in need of Your forgiveness. But I believe that my saying, “I forgive You” will help me to let go of un-forgiveness that I have misdirected towards You. I forgive You. My problems are not Your fault. You are my answer. Please forgive me. In Christ’s name. Amen.”
You have got to come to the place where you forgive God, yourself and others before you ever go to God to repent and ask for healing of a disease or affliction. Understand that the healing blessing from God of removing the angst, poison and bitterness from your heart is a gift that comes through the Atonement of Christ. Just saying the words will do nothing, unless it truly comes from the heart. That is why it is a process. For me, I have had to pray and work within my heart to truly overcome my un-forgiveness. Like me, you may have to repeat these prayers many times. Change is rarely instantaneous. Persistence is often required. Forgiveness must become not only a practice but an attitude. Forgiveness (Letting Go) as well as repentance (Changing your Heart) are what is required for each of us as we progress through our mortal sojourn. The object of our endeavor is transformation, even a mighty change or being born anew. This is a gift that can only come from God, but you must do the preparatory work. I promise you, peace and healing will come.
So what is the often overlooked key to healing from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression?
Perhaps it is Forgiveness.
So what is the often overlooked key to healing from heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and depression?
Perhaps it is Forgiveness.
Dr Kyle Christensen October 2017
Revised from Dr Michelle Strydom’s book Healing begins with Sanctification of the Heart pp 630-639