Wednesday, February 24, 2016

A path for healing part 2

If you're catching this blog and didn't read Chapter 1, you'll need to go back and read part 1 of "A path for healing". CLICK HERE for part 1

To recap - I challenged you to reflect on the things that challenge you the most - sins that come back over and over - attitudes you struggle with over and over - negativity, depression, fear, anxiety, lust, addiction, anger, rage, resentment, and other feelings and attractions that are not "of God".  If you wrote those things on a card - keep that card, Keep adding to it and reflecting on it as you need to.

For part 2, Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a huge part of healing and is sometimes the most difficult.  Sometimes we've been hurt so bad that we don't want to forgive.  Maybe we thought we forgave but inside we really held on to our anger and resentment.

To love is to "will the good of the other" (Aquinas)  Can you honestly say nice things about the person that hurt you?  Can you pray for their safety or well being?  Can you have normal thoughts about them without the grudge stepping back in?  If they were in trouble, would you help them?  If you find that there is still resentment and anger, then you probably haven't fully forgave them.

Unforgiveness doesn't make us feel better.  Sometimes we hold onto our unforgeveness out of revenge or maybe even to subconsciously maintain our identity as a broken person.  These feelings are not "of God" and require us to be freed of them.  There is a great freedom in forgiveness and reconciliation.  This is why the sacrament of reconciliation even exists.  Many outside the church and even some within the church see it as a roadblock.  Lets be honest, who wants to sit in front of another person and express your deepest and darkest moments of shame, regret and brokenness?  NOBODY!  That's right - nobody "wants" to share the stuff we've trapped within for no one to see.

***Mat 10:26-27 (NIV) "There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the housetops."

***Job 12:22 (NIV) He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings deep shadows into the light.

***1 Cor 4:5b (Phi) He will bring into the light of day all that at present is hidden in darkness, and he will expose the secret motives of men's hearts.

***James 5:16 (NAS) Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.

Over and over in scripture, we see how the hidden things are what we most need to recognize and bring into the light - to be made visible.  Anyone can "go to God" in the silence of their room and confess their sins.  Can God forgive them?  Absolutely!  HOWEVER - Forgiveness doesn't always result in healing - sometimes for healing to take place, We change when things are difficult - so if confessing your sin in private isn't difficult, it may or may not result in actual healing.  This is why the church provides the sacrament of reconciliation.  The sacrament provides an avenue to truly face your sin, to bring it into the light.  It's difficult, it's uncomfortable and it requires something of us.  Like any growth and healing, we must face our challenges and move through them.  

Don't think you can forgive?  Maybe YOU can't...  Jesus tells us in Matthew 19:26 "With man it is impossible, but with God, all things are possible".  Maybe you can't forgive someone, maybe you can't face the challenges you have - but WITH GOD - ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  

In Acts 3 - Peter & John see a crippled man outside the temple.  "He looked at him and said "In the name of Jesus Christ, stand up and walk".  He took him by the hand and raised him up and immediately his feet and legs were strong.  Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them leaping and praising God."  Maybe we don't have much power, maybe we don't feel like we can forgive, maybe we can't move past our addiction our anger, our resentment, but in the NAME OF JESUS - We can be made whole again.  

I invite you to spend the next day in prayer about places in your life that you need to forgive.  Places you've harbored anger and resentment.  You might even have to go back to your childhood - someone that said something mean to you, someone that hurt you, someone who abandoned you, someone who abused you sexually, physically, or mentally.  Where have you failed to forgive someone and where have you hurt someone that you need to ask for forgiveness?  I invite you to write on a note card - areas that you need to forgive, or ask for forgiveness.  

Watch in the next few days for the next blog post on how to move forward to healing.  

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