Healing From The Inside Out
As Christians, we are commanded by God to “love thy neighbor as thyself” (Mark 12:31). However, many Christians do not love themselves; consequently they have a difficult time loving others. Have you experienced the pain of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse and the resulting core of hurt and shame? Unhealed hurt can manifest in a myriad of ways such as: controlling others, dependency on others, chemical addictions, relationship addictions, social anxiety, distrust, or acting out. People with a core of pain or shame often sabotage themselves and their relationships. However, profound healing is possible. There are numerous steps to emotional healing but the first is to take the offer of Jesus seriously regarding the healing power of His word. “He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions” (Psalm 107:20).
First, God’s word will correct distorted thinking so that we can determine true guilt from false guilt or condemnation. God’s written word—not comparison to other people— is our moral compass to determine right from wrong. We can accept responsibility for true guilt, which is sin we have personally committed, and let go of shame for something done to us by someone else. The remedy for true guilt is repentance which is defined as confession (admission) of wrong doing to God followed by a change in behavior which demonstrates a true change of heart. A clean heart results in a sense of relief and peace. Moreover, it replaces confusion with vision and direction.
Pain or trauma can make you feel powerless, like life is out of control. A backlash of powerlessness is to become a ‘control freak’. Controlling behavior is an attempt to feel secure but downsides come with it. Controlling behavior can wreck relationships. You can also become exhausted from the strain of pushing away the pain, the memories, and the emotions that are covered up by the attempt to control true feelings and outward circumstances. God’s word provides a paradoxical solution. Instead of the strain of staying in control, give up control by submitting to God. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Pain can also come from distorted perceptions in relationships. Who has not experienced rejection at some time in life? Some people are able to let it roll away like water off a duck’s back. Others dwell on their experiences and anticipate further rejection. As a result, they begin to perceive rejection where none exists. The word of God can renew our minds so that we are healed and free of distorted perceptions. “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of Go”( Romans 12:2).
A daily reading of God’s word can wash and cleanse our minds from worldly views about what makes us worthy or valuable. “…Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:25,26). We need our minds cleansed from the lies of a perfectionism mindset of ‘never being good enough’. The truth is we aren’t good enough! When you realize the goodness of God and His great gift of salvation as truly a gift, then your response to Him is love. “We love him because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19). When you truly love the Lord, you will desire to keep His commandments. “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). As the truth of God’s love for you is revealed to you through His sacrifice and His word, you will find a love like you have never known, a love that flows into your deepest wounds and darkest corners of your heart to bring healing and light.
If you are hurting or lonely today, I encourage you to pick up your Bible and let God’s word bring healing to your wounded heart—healing from the inside out.