The Pain of Unforgiveness, Part 1

IMG_1024My sister and I have both been going through a very tumultuous process of healing recently that was a long time coming; not a physical healing, although that’s tied into it, but a spiritual, emotional healing. We think it’s timely, too because we have been seeing the unified Church in a season of healing and restoration, as well. In fact, we attended a healing service recently at The Rock Church with Evangelist Cheryl Salem and to see the Holy Spirit move in that place was something we hadn’t seen.

As we started studying, praying and finding scriptures on healing, something else began to stir in our spirits and we couldn’t get away from the topic of forgiveness and disappointment. How does that relate to healing? And yes, we are talking about any healing, including physical…

  • “Chronic unforgiveness causes stress. Every time people think of their transgressor, their body responds. Decreasing your unforgiveness cuts down on your health risk. Now, if you can forgive, that can actually strengthen your immune system.” Everett Worthington, PhD

We came across an article by Jane Glenn Haas titled, “The Ability to Help you Forgive; Holding onto a Grudge is Bad for the Immune System.” The article highlights the connection between chronic stress and health – especially from the standpoint of how an unforgiving attitude can impact have one’s health.

  • “Inwardly, the emotional wound affects deep vital processes. A psychological wound sets off mechanisms of the stress response…release of cortisol, adrenaline… (including) a slowdown in the immune system, which contributes to growth and spread of cancer.” David Servan-Schrieber, MD, AntiCancer
  • “We find that the endocrine system—and the hormone cortisol in particular—is closely linked with immune system: High levels of cortisol inhibit immune responses. Most diseases of abnormal immune function are remarkably linked to psychological stress.” Robert Scaer, MD, The Trauma Spectrum

Healing begins when we forgive. Forgiveness activates God to perform His Word to heal us. Healing can happen instantly, but for most it’s a process. When we talk about healing, we don’t just mean physical, but emotional, mental, spiritual. We see here that most physical sickness and pain relates to a heart issue, unforgiveness, bitterness, disappointment…we are not saying that God will not heal if we harbor unforgiveness, but it is a hindrance.

Let’s look at the Word…

Matthew 9:1-2 “Jesus got into the boat and returned to what was considered his hometown, Capernaum.Just then some people brought a paraplegic man to him, lying on a sleeping mat. When Jesus perceived the strong faith within their hearts, he said to the paralyzed man, “My son, be encouraged, for your sins have been forgiven.”

The crazy thing here was that these people apparently brought this guy to Jesus to heal him. The obvious was he was paraplegic…the unobvious was that his concealed heart was sicker than his unconcealed physical body, and we know this was more important to God because the scripture goes on to say in verse 4:

“Jesus supernaturally perceived their thoughts, and said to them, “Why do you carry such evil in your hearts? Which is easier to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or, ‘Stand up and walk!’ But now, to convince you that the Son of Man has been given authority to forgive sins, I say to this man, ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk home.’ Immediately the man sprang to his feet and left for home.

When the crowds witnessed this miracle, they were awestruck. They shouted praises to God because he had given such authority to human beings.”

There are two things going on here, well probably more than that, but let’s focus on two main keys. One, Jesus was more concerned with the sin in the man’s heart than He was with his physical ailment. It’s God’s will that we be whole. He doesn’t want us walking around limp, immobile and sick, so He knew in that moment that healing the sin in the man’s heart would set him free spiritually AND physically!

The second thing I think is important to address here is the last part, “They shouted praises to God because He had given such authority to human beings.” Wow! WE have the authority BY GOD to heal the sick, too!

John 14:12 “I tell you this timeless truth: The person who follows me in faith, believing in me, will do the same mighty miracles that I do—even greater miracles than these because I go to be with my Father!” 

Jesus didn’t just go around performing miracles and then say, “Ok, gotta go! Good luck!” HE empowered US here on earth to perform and carry out even greater than what He did! But most of us don’t! We’re afraid, we don’t believe we can, we’re intimidated, we’re stuck on our Inability as opposed to HIS ability…So many reasons, or I should say excuses as to why we don’t see healing, restoration or redemption in our lives and in those around us…

We know from our own personal experiences that forgiving is one of the hardest things to do. I believe that most times, a lot of us aren’t even aware of the damage that resides in our souls. Sometimes we may react to something or respond to a situation and not realize that those responses are in relation to something from our past that hasn’t been healed.

IMG_1026And it doesn’t always necessarily mean “unforgiveness.” It can relate to disappointment, bitterness, anger, and anxiety. It can manifest through your spirit in many different ways for each of us. As we shared in our last shows on Fear and Mental Illness, mine (Michelle) was a lot of fear and depression, which is also sin as we are told we carry the mind of Christ and anything contrary to the Word of God is sin. Whatever the antagonist may be, it hinders our relationship with God, others and truly walking in the freedom God ordained for us to walk in.

Now, what do we do about the sin in our hearts, this unforgiveness, fear or whatever it is? We have to make a choice and that is by far the hardest part! It’s hard because we are comfortable living this way. We may feel physical pain or even more so, emotional pain, BUT we know it! We understand it. We feel justified!! Changing means DOING something you have NO idea what’s on the other side of or what it will take from you! You feel like it’s letting the other person off the hook, when in fact, it’s letting YOU off the hook to detach your pain from them. And this is where you have to take the authority over your demons and trust God to carry you each step of the way! Pull out those scriptures that tell you He will never leave you, nor forsake you!

Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

Psalm 23:4 “Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear.  I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.”

Scripture never says He will take away those dark valleys or storms! He says NOT TO WORRY, THOUGH!!!! HE WILL GO THROUGH IT WITH YOU!!!! And you know what-you will be glad in the end He didn’t remove them because the warrior He is shaping you to be THROUGH those storms will NOT be who you are called to be without them!

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