Healing For Our Wounds

colored-pencils-1090000_640

A question I’ve been pondering this week is: how do we find healing for those places that hurt?  I’m not talking about physical healing, but healing for places where we hurt emotionally or spiritually because of circumstances or because of sin (our own or others’).

I know, in one sense it’s obvious- the answer is Jesus.  (The answer is always Jesus!)  As we head towards Good Friday we remember his death on the cross, his declaration that “It is finished,” and the fact that it is through his death that we can draw close to God to experience healing.

“He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right.  By his wounds you are healed.”  (1 Peter 2:24)

But how do we take the truth of what Jesus has done and apply it to those broken places in our lives?

Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a formula.  It would be nice if there was and I could give you (and myself) a list of “How to be healed in 5 easy steps”.  The reality is that God works in each person and in each situation in different ways, which are never going to be entirely predictable, but as I look over my experiences of healing in the past, I do see a few common features and some steps I can identify that have aided the healing process.

1.  Being honest with God

The first step is to admit we have a problem.  It can be easy to ignore our wounds and scars and try to sweep them under the carpet and avoid dealing with them because it’s scary and painful.  Denial can feel like the safe and easy option, and it may seem to work for a while, but all it really does is to trap the pain inside us.  Sooner or later, we will see its impact on our lives.

Honesty with God is not always easy.  When you’ve been in darkness, coming into the light can be painful and overwhelming, but it can also let God in to the situation and allow him to deal with it.  The irony is that we hesitate to be honest with God when he knows it all anyway.  Our questions and doubts and fear and sin are not a surprise to him, and he can take our honesty.

2. Speaking to others

This is something I’ve always found more difficult.  It’s one thing to be honest with God, who I could just about believe would accept me with my faults and brokenness, but it’s another to be open with other people, who I feared would judge or reject me.

Scary as it is, I have found it to be an important step in the healing process.  On one occasion I was weighed down with guilt over something, and no matter how many times I confessed it to God and no matter how many times I read Bible verses about his forgiveness and tried to claim them, something was sticking.  I still felt guilty and I wondered if I would ever be free of the burden.

Finally God led me to confess to someone else.  It was terrifying, but the person was able to speak forgiveness and somehow that broke the hold it had on me and brought freedom.

Even when we are not to blame, it can be difficult to speak out about our pain and brokenness, but shame thrives on secrecy.  It is important to find the right person and bring it into the light.  Opening up to someone about some of the pain I had experienced was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but one of the best decisions I have ever made.

3. Space to process

Sometimes God steps in miraculously and heals a wound in an instant, but in other cases it takes time and effort to work through.  That may mean time alone with God to pray or to journal, it may mean working it through with a family member or a friend, it may mean counselling.  It may mean all of these.

Depending on how serious the wound is it may take days, weeks, months or even years.  Sometimes it can be frustrating, especially when our progress is slower than we might like.

However it happens, time and space to process is key in dealing with our pain, changing our perspective and preparing us to move on.

4.  Forgiving

It’s important not to force this prematurely, and also to remember that forgiveness is a process and may not be instant.  (More on forgiveness here.)

It is crucial though, after having shared and processed, that we do reach the point of letting it go and choosing to move on.  That may involve forgiving others, or it may involve forgiving ourselves.

It is not saying that what happened was okay or that it doesn’t matter, but it is handing the situation over to God and trusting him to deal with it.

“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”  (Lewis Smedes)

5. Truth

In any situation where we have been hurt by circumstances or by sin, the devil will try to plant lies in our minds:

  • What you did was too bad.  God can never forgive you for that.
  • You’ll never be accepted if anyone finds out.
  • You’ll never be free of this.
  • If God really loved you, he wouldn’t have let that happen.

It is so important that we reject these lies and hold to the truth.

  • No matter what we have done, no sin is too big for God to forgive.  “If we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all wickedness.”  (1 John 1:9)
  • No matter what has been done to us, God’s power to heal is greater.  “The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  He rescues those whose spirits are crushed.”  (Psalm 34:18)
  • God’s love is constant and unfailing, no matter what.  “Nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  (Romans 8:39)

Ephesians 1 is another of my favourite passages to hold to, reminding us of our identity in Christ and the blessings we receive through our union with him.

It’s helpful to identify specific verses that address our circumstances, but also to be reading God’s truth on a daily basis so that it fills our hearts and minds.

Ultimately we have to trust God to show us the way forward and to bring healing in his time and in his way, but as we seek that, we can rejoice and celebrate this Easter, knowing that it is possible because Jesus’ death has made a way.

linking with #FridayFive

#FridayFive

>      purposefulfaith.com        Holly Barrett

 

Advertisements

24 thoughts on “Healing For Our Wounds

  1. Beautiful! Your ideas for healing seem easy at first but really it requires hard work and God work. My mantra is always to take baby steps forward in any area of my life that needs work. Your steps of being honest with God, forgiveness, truth, etc can be done in same way. May we invite God to be part of every step we take toward healing. Blessings as we walk to the cross this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Mary. I don’t mean to make it sound easy- I know the reality is it’s definitely not. Taking baby steps forward is good- it doesn’t always seem like we’re making much progress but they can add up to quite a distance over time. Hope you have a lovely Easter!

      Like

  2. I love your steps and the verses you share, Carly. I think within each step is a whole lot of baby steps and sometimes it feels like one step forward, two steps back. But God will never leave us! He’ll help us through one step at a time. Because of three beautiful words, “It is finished!” He has already gained the victory. Thank you for this encouragement. Have a blessed week and a joy-filled Easter! Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trudy. I hope I don’t make it sound too simple here- I know it’s not simple at all. I agree it’s a lot of baby steps and often steps backwards as well as forwards. Especially at those times it’s important to remember that God is with us and will help us through, and that his power is greater than the things we’re struggling against.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You really didn’t make it sound too simple, Carly. “Depending on how serious the wound is it may take days, weeks, months or even years.” Both here and in other statements you made it clear how difficult it can be. Yes, His power is certainly greater than the things we struggle against. Hugs!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Bethany. It is tough- it can be a long process and there is definitely no formula but hopefully it helps to think about some practical steps we can take.

      Like

  3. Carly, you share so much truth in this post. And the idea that speaking to others is freeing is spot on! I’ve had occasions when I needed to confess something I had done that hurt another, and the fear of rejection left me trembling. But the beauty in forgiveness given lends such peace, it’s indescribable.

    And this? Yes! “Denial can feel like the safe and easy option, and it may seem to work for a while, but all it really does is to trap the pain inside us.”

    When we can come clean with God and with others, that fear loses its grip on our souls.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Carly.
    I’m so glad I am your neighbor at Holly Barrett’s today. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Such a great post, Carly! THIS is so true: ” Opening up to someone about some of the pain I had experienced was the hardest thing I have ever had to do, but one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I never tire of the way you express the truth about Jesus. Being healed can’t be a formula because then we would cleave unto the formula and lose Him. He heals us differently and fully, even if, even when, we do all we can.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved this post, so filled with truth and understanding that applying the principles isn’t always easy. I wanted to stop by today to let you know I won’t be taking time to write on my blog or comment on other post for at least two or three weeks. I’m going to be doing some writing for a website on chronic illness, and I also have lots of paperwork to catch up on before a possible neck & cervical spine surgery which will probably be scheduled for May. If things go as expected, I hope to be blogging again on a regular schedule sometime in June. I’ll probably still read at least some of your posts – they’re addicting – but I need to take care of some priorities for a while. Hope you have a blessed Easter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Barbara, and thanks for letting me know you’re not going to be around so much for a bit.
      Hope everything goes well with the writing for the website, and I will be praying for you that you get things sorted for the surgery and that it all goes well and reduces your pain a lot.
      Hope you have a lovely Easter and I look forward to reading your posts when you’re back to blogging again.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s