Practical Help For Painful Life Issues
The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed (Luke 4:18 - NKJV).
Several days ago, I addressed the issue of dealing with the hurts and emotional pain and duress that happens to us living in an imperfect world with imperfect people. I want to continue to day and talk about how to deal with emotional issues that potentially weigh us down.
Every relationship leaves an emotional print on us. The effect of that emotional print is determined by how close the person is to us, and how long we’ve known them. The people that can hurt us the most are those closest to us. So in life, it's like carrying a sack across your shoulder that is filled with all of your past relationships. Every relationship that did not end well, that was open ended, weighs on you emotionally.
So many people through the years have told me that they are just tired all of the time. Even after a deep night’s sleep they wake up and feel so fatigued. Upon further questioning, I’ve found that they have had life traumas from past relationships that have produced much pain and angst.
And as I mentioned in my last blog, mental and emotional turmoil can affect us physically, and in many cases keep us from obtaining healing and health. As Proverbs 14:30 - Amplified reads: A calm and undisturbed mind and heart are the life and health of the body, but envy, jealousy, and wrath are like rottenness of the bones. Mental and emotional weights do us physical harm. And these weights are the reason that many people constantly battle illness after illness.
Listen to this insightful quote from Dr. Caroline Leaf in her book Who Switched Off My Brain 1:
Your brain can be compared to a prolific factory producing a variety of chemicals depending on what type of emotion you are experiencing. Depending on whether or not these emotions are toxic to your body, the chemicals will either help you or harm you. If they are harmful, they create conditions for a host of health problems that will manifest in both the body and the mind. Emotions that regularly release a torrent of destructive chemicals that will be the most damaging over time are: unforgiveness, anger, rage, resentment, depression, worry, anxiety, frustration, fear, excessive grief and guilt… Research shows that around 87% of illnesses can be attributed to our thought life, and approximately 13% to diet, genetics and environment… Studies conclusively link more chronic diseases (also known as lifestyle diseases) to an epidemic of toxic emotions in our culture. These toxic emotions can cause migraines, hypertension, strokes, cancer, skin problems, diabetes, infections and allergies, just to name a few...Studies also point to a direct correlation between anxiety/fear and heart palpitations, irritable bowel syndrome, tension headaches and heart problems...Quite simply, there is no longer any doubt that what and how you think affect your emotional and physical state. The mind and body are integrally connected.
Jesus came to help us deal with our past sin, and in the opening verse of this blog, He also came to heal the brokenhearted. That means He wants to help us deal with the emotional hurts and weights life leaves with us.
Hebrews 12:15 mentions bitter roots that can spoil our lives: (Amplified Bible) Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it.
We can choose to internalize emotional hurt and pain by refusing to let go and forgive, hence we have a “bitter root.” Or, we can choose to release from our mind and emotions a person who has harmed us by forgiving every single offence they have committed towards us. And, this is where Jesus Christ can come in and help us.
Make a list of those in your past who have wronged you in some way and have created emotional and mental baggage that you carry daily, weighing you down. Write down the person’s name that has brought the pain. Then, under their name, write one sentence statements that describe what they did to you and then how that made you feel. For instance, you may write: John told the boss that I was responsible for the mistake on the regional report, and it cost me a pay increase. And I did not do it! He is the one responsible for the mistake, and he knows it! I am so angry!
Again, make a list containing one sentence statements as I illustrated for every person who has hurt you. Sometimes we may have many one sentence statements under a person’s name because of the length of the relationship we’ve had, and how close the person was to us. To truly forgive and let go of mental and emotional hurt and pain, it is important to be thorough. Take one person at a time. Make a list of what has caused you grief.
Then, take the list to a private place for prayer. Sometimes, if the emotional content is deep and raw, you may consider having someone pray with you about these one sentence statements. At the place of prayer, go before the Father and tell Him that you are there to deal with some emotional baggage that has weighed on you. Ask God to help you deal with it. Take each one sentence statement before God in prayer. Tell God what the person did, and how it made you feel. Then in prayer commit yourself to forgive: (Example) Father, in the name of Jesus I bring John before you today. Lord, it hurt me deeply when he chose to be dishonest and tell the boss that I was the one responsible for the mistake on the report, when I am not the one that made it. He was the one that did it and he knows it. I confess that I was very angry, and that I have held offence towards him for this. Father, I choose right now by faith to forgive John for this offence. I release him from the liability I feel he has to pay me back. I fully forgive him the way Jesus has fully forgiven me for my sins. He owes me nothing. Beginning today, I choose to walk in forgiveness toward him about this regardless of how I feel. Thank you for forgiving me for the bitterness I’ve held. And thank you for freeing me from the mental and emotional weight of this event. In Jesus’ name.
Pray this way over every one sentence statement you’ve written about a person. You may cry when you do this as pent up emotions surface, or you may feel no emotion at all. When the event about a person comes back to mind, as it always will, instead of brooding over it again, tell the Lord that by faith you have forgiven the person and that you no longer hold offence towards them. Remember that emotions may still feel the pain of the event for a while, even after you have forgiven the person. After a period of time, the negative emotions will subside. Replace negative thinking about the event with the person you’ve forgiven with prayer for them, every time they come to mind. Ask God to help them and for Him to draw the person to Himself.
The illustration I gave was very simple. You may carry deep emotional wounding resulting from mental, physical, emotional, or even sexual abuse from a person who was close to you. You may be angry at God for what has happened in your life, and you may find yourself needing to forgive God too! Whatever has impacted your life, use this blog as a resource to help you become free from mental and emotional weights.
This is practical forgiveness. It will release you from bitter emotional and mental turmoil. And you’ll be stronger, healthier, and more peaceful. God wants us to walk in His peace and in His joy. When we choose to forgive, release, and forget the offences of others, we’ll find God smile as we face each day.
And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him and let it drop (leave it, let it go), in order that your Father Who is in heaven may also forgive you your [own] failings and shortcomings and let them drop (Mark 11:25 - Amplified).
1. Who Switched Off My Brain By Dr. Caroline Leaf (South Africa, Switch on Your Brain Organisation PTY, 2007) pages 4-5.