Life can be hard, and we all get hurt at times by someone or something that happens to us. But there is good news if you are a believer in Christ Jesus: God is the healer, and He can heal us everywhere we hurt!
I'm so passionate about this message because I know it's true from personal experience. I was sexually abused by my dad and other men throughout my childhood, and as an adult I went through years battling migraine headaches and also had breast cancer at one time. So I know what it's like to hurt so badly you don't think you can go on another minute, and I know how amazing it can be to experience healing and restoration through Christ.
The key to going through the healing process—letting go of the past and moving on—is committing yourself to do things God's way, trusting Him and obeying His Word. It's not always easy ... it takes time and means you're going to have to do some things you'd rather not do, things you think are unfair or that don't feel good.
But when you realize that God really is smarter than you, and He will give you the ability to do everything He shows you to do, then you can experience His power in your life!
The Reason We Get Stuck in Our Pain
One of the things God asks of us is that we forgive everyone who has hurt us and trust Him to be our vindicator. Before I came to this revelation, I wasted many years being angry, bitter and resentful of the abuse I'd endured while I was growing up. And it affected every part of my life: my mindset, attitudes, ability to get along with others and all of my relationships. I was miserable and believed everyone had a problem but me!
When God showed me in John 10:10 that Jesus came so I could have a good life that I actually enjoyed, I became determined to have it, no matter what I had to do to get it. In Mark 11:24-25 (NLT) Jesus says, "I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believe that you've received it, it will be yours. But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too."
Jesus is saying that whenever I'm praying, if I am harboring unforgiveness in my heart, then God cannot answer my prayer. There have been times when I've prayed for God to change my husband, Dave, or our kids or someone who was upsetting me, and what I needed to do was pray for Him to forgive my sin, ask Him to help me forgive the ones who had hurt me and choose to love them.
We have to learn to love people right where they are, the way they are, because that is how we can help them get to where they need to be. Now, I'm not suggesting that you let people abuse you or continually take advantage of you, but you can't live with bitterness in your heart and experience the healing and restoration that you desperately need.
The Why Behind the What
It helps us forgive others when we understand that hurting people hurt people. In other words, when someone is wounded, they often end up wounding others if they don't get healing in their soul. Many times when people hurt us, they are acting out of their own pain and may not even realize what they are doing.
A long time after I left home and escaped that abusive situation, I came to see that my dad had done those things to me because of the way he had been raised. He grew up in a family that practiced incest and it caused him to behave like that in our home. He knew it wasn't right, but I really believe that he didn't understand how badly he was hurting me all those years that he abused me.
Understanding this about my father helped me forgive him, and I actually felt sorry for him. He led such a miserable life and at the end, he had more regrets than anything else to speak of. Thankfully, he accepted Christ as his Savior when he was 83, but it's sad that so much of his life was wasted because of his pain from the past.
If you've been hurting for a long, long time because of something that's happened in your past and you've refused to lay it down, I hope you'll see that there's a much better way to live. Don't settle for a life of misery due to bitterness and unforgiveness. Instead, make a determined decision to trust God and do things His way.
Remember: God is smarter than you and whatever He tells you to do, He has your best interest at heart. Trust Him and forgive!
Joyce Meyer is a New York Times best-selling author and founder of Joyce Meyer Ministries, Inc. She has authored 100 books, including Battlefield of the Mind and Get Your Hopes Up! (Hachette). She hosts the Enjoying Everyday Life radio and TV programs, which air on hundreds of stations worldwide. For more information, visit www.joycemeyer.org.
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