Healing Life's Hurts Part III
"Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."1
The first step, we said, in the healing process is to admit that we have a problem or need. We have a friend whose teenage daughter is anorexic and is also in total denial. Even though she has had to be hospitalized, she claims that there is nothing wrong with her. Until she admits that she has a serious eating disorder and that she needs help, there is no chance of her ever recovering and being made well.
The second step is to want to be healed—not just wish to be. Wanting also means that we have to accept total responsibility to do whatever we need to do in order to be made well.
Third, it isn't enough to talk about our painful feelings. We need to find a safe place with a trusted friend, counselor, therapy group, or recovery group where we can confidentially experience and express our feelings of hurt, guilt, shame, anger, fear, plus our sins and faults. These are the secrets that comprise our dark side which, unconfessed, keep us bound. As it has been said, "We are as sick as our secrets." Not all ills are caused by these issues, but many are.
Fourth, when necessary, where we have hurt somebody else, we need to seek their forgiveness and, wherever possible, right the wrong/s that we have done.
Fifth, we then need to forgive all who have hurt us. This is part of gaining freedom from the past. Once we have grown strong enough to face our pain, set appropriate boundaries, and develop some safe relationships, we can begin to forgive. But we cannot simply put forgiveness on top of unresolved hurt, grief, or anger. These must first be dealt with and resolved. Then we are ready to forgive.
Sixth, we also need to confess our sins and faults to God and ask for and receive his forgiveness. His Word says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."2
Seventh, we need to forgive ourselves, let go of the past, and move on to become the persons God planned for us to be. Once we have faced our pain and hurt and anger and begun to forgive, we can start looking ahead in life.
Eighth, develop a healthy support network with a trusted friend or two. At the very minimum, ask God to give you at least one close friend who you trust implicitly and with whom you can share your total self—your joys sorrows, victories, and failures—and with whom you can keep accountable.
Finally, we need to consistently seek God's help through prayer, scripture, and Christian fellowship. I don't mean through a magical quick fix but rather through the miracle of God's healing over time through our relationship with Him and members of the body of Christ—the Church.
Remember, too, that one of the names for God in Hebrew, Yahweh-rophe, literally means "The Lord who heals."
God wants to heal us and has shown us the way. It's in the Bible: "Confess your sins and faults to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed.”3 Do you truly want to be healed? If so, and the cause of your illness is within yourself, as you follow God's way, you can and will be healed of many of life's ills. It may take time but God wants you to become the person He created you to be.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, whatever it takes, whatever I need to see and whatever I need to do, with your help I am willing to be made willing to accept full responsibility for my unresolved personal issues that are causing many of my ills—be they physical, emotional, or spiritual. And, where needed, help me to find the help I need to fully recover and experience your healing. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. James 5:16 (NIV).
2. 1 John 1:9 (NIV).
3. James 5:16 (NIV).