Would you ignore the nail to save yourself the pain of extraction? Not unless you want a gangrenous infection. The choice is obvious when it comes to our physical health. Yet most of us are guilty of burying emotional wounds, allowing them to fester into full-blown bitterness.
Dr. Stanley exhorts us to examine those tender places. Yes, it can be painful to do so, but it is ultimately worth it. Find courage to face your wounds and experience God’s healing touch.
In touch with Dr. Charles Stanley, celebrating 45 years of God’s faithfulness and sharing the gospel worldwide. Next on in touch healing our hurts. Somebody hurt you a year ago, 10 years ago, a lifetime ago. And somehow deep down inside you can’t shake it. Sometimes you say it never happened, but you know, deep down inside it did happen. So you try to deny it and that doesn’t work. You suppress it and somehow it keeps popping out and sometimes it pops out in embarrassing fashion. You know that deep down inside something happened back there that you can really identify. In fact, you can point your finger toward the person and what seemingly was merely a little hurt in the beginning somehow as solidified. Like concrete in your mind. It’s just there it lays there, it hangs there. The burden of it is there. You’d like to shake it, you’d like to get rid of it. But somehow you just can’t do it. You got hurt so badly that somehow you feel like I will never be able to overcome this. Well, I want to tell you, my friend. Yes, you can because you see if you don’t overcome the hurts of the past, what you’ll find out is this those hurts can do great, great harm to your life. Everybody gets hurt at some point in life. Children get hurt by their parents, parents hurt each other Brands Hurt one Another hurt is just part of living in the society in which you and I live. People say things they should not say to us off the cuff. Sometimes it’s very deliberate. Sometimes it is malicious gossip. Sometimes it is physical injury, sometimes it is abuse abuse of a child of a teenager, of another adult, all kinds of things come into your life that causes hurt. So what we have to do is we have to decide how we’re gonna handle this hurt. Am I going to handle this hurt in such a way that it harms me in every aspect of my life? Am I gonna learn how to handle this hurt in such a fashion that I can take it and I can handle it properly and be able to learn something from it, glean something from it grew up as a result of it And not allow it to hurt me because God does not want us to respond to hurts in such a fashion that we have devastated in our life, lose their witness in our testimony, go through life bearing some kind of emotional baggage that were never able to escape. So I want you to turn if you will to Ephesians chapter four. And in this fourth chapter of Ephesians, which is one of my favorite books of the scripture, because paul has jammed so much theology in the first three chapters and so much practical christian living in these last three. And in this fourth chapter, he’s been talking about things that you and I have to deal with in our life about renewing our mind and dealing with anger and so forth. Then he says, if you’ll notice in coming down to the close of that in verse 30, he says Do not grieve. The Holy Spirit of God by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. And we grieve him in lots of ways and he’s just talked about some of those ways by our speech and so forth. Then he says in verse 31, let all look at this, let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you along with all malice and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving each other just as God in christ has also forgiven you. Now I think all of us know that there are some hurts in life that we can forgive rather simple and say, well, okay, you know you hurt me, but I’m gonna get over it and I understand that you made a mistake or understood that at that time in your life you’re going through something or whatever. Then there are those hurts that are so deep in some people’s lives that somehow they just can’t seem to step out of it, they go to church, they hear the gospel, they know the truth and they said, well, you know, I know that’s what God says and that’s what I feel, but and somehow oftentimes the person doesn’t realize that hanging on the hurts, hanging onto hurts begins to do them great damage in every aspect of their life. So hanging on to hurt, oftentimes is a security for us when a person has hung on to hurt for so long after a while, the very idea of giving it up becomes more of a threat than the damage that hurt does to their life. When I think about little Children who come along and they are abused by their parents, either sexually or physically or even verbally and they grew up and they have to live with this baggage all of their lives. And what happens is they grew up with anger towards their parents for example, and as a result of that, uh the relationship of course is never the way it ought to be and they go through life wondering why do I feel the way I feel, Why do I feel towards my parents, the way I feel towards someone else. And so oftentimes they can’t identify because what they says, oh yes, I was hurt back yonder, but you know, everybody gets hurt and therefore I’ve just sort of forgotten it. No, you don’t. You see, you don’t just forget hurt, you have to deal with hurts in some fashion or other hurts that are not handled properly will harm us in every aspect of our life. So I want us to look at this because here’s what happens those hurts in our life unless they’re handled properly, will develop into an unforgiving spirit and oftentimes that unforgiving spirit can be very subtle and especially is this true if it is the result of something apparent has done because it is a natural normal response for a person to say, well, you know, after all, she’s my mother after all, he’s my father. Why? Sure I love my dad. Why? Sure I love my mother. And somehow this, I love my mother, I love my father. Sure they’re, my parents is some form of verbal attempt to cover up and put layer after, layer after layer of forgetfulness on what has happened back there. But what I’m telling you is this, it doesn’t disappear simply because you say I love my mother loved my father and oftentimes if there has been real hurt there, you don’t really and truly love them, you would like to love them. You want to love them, you’re supposed to love them, you should love them, we say in our heart, and therefore we think we do when deep down inside that hurt is like a a deep, a deep cancer down inside. And while on the surface everything looks pretty well, deep down inside it’s never healed. And so it’s like leaky poison. It’s just, it’s just poisoning our whole system. And this is why oftentimes later on in life, parents and Children come to great conflict and there’s a blow up and someone says, well I’ve been thinking this, I felt this for years and years and years and sometimes a person will say to their parents 20 years ago, 30 years ago, 40 years ago. Here’s what you did to me. And sometimes it is something that apparent did not even realize that they had done or something, maybe a friend did a few years ago and they didn’t even realize they did it and all the time it has been there and sometimes it reaches down so deep into the core of your heart and soul, you are shaken by. It may be thrown off base by and thrown off course. And so we have to back off and say, okay, how am I to respond to this? Now listen carefully. No one, no one can cause you and me to have an unforgiving spirit. Nobody can cause us to do that. No one can make me have an unforgiving spirit. No one can make me angry. No one can make me hostel. No one can make me have malice in my heart. Those are responses that I have to agree in my in my own emotional being to accept or reject. And so if I allow these emotions to encompass me and allow them to overflow in my life and to control me. It is because I choose to be angry. I choose to have malice. I choose to be unforgiving. I choose to have that kind of an attitude. Now, here’s the thing that has helped me above everything else in my own personal life. And that is when I think about the fact that when the Lord jesus christ went to the cross, he took all of my sins on the cross with him, no matter what I’ve done will ever do, he has already forgiven me of every single solitary thing. How can I hold against someone else? Be unforgiving toward them when he has not been unforgiving towards me? And that person may be obnoxious. They may, they may be obstinate, they might not want to be my friend or have anything to do with me. Now. How they respond is one thing, how the other person responds is one thing. But the issue is, how am I gonna respond? Am I going to allow an unforgiving spirit, A hurt in my life become a harmful thing to me? Or am I gonna respond no matter how the other person responds when he says put these things away from you, he says with all matters and be kind one to another tenderhearted, forgiving each other even as the Lord has forgiven us. Well, what what are the harms that you and I face? The first thing is damaged emotions. There are many, many people. In fact, probably most people, I wouldn’t say everybody, but most people are damaged at some point in their life emotionally. They live with damaged emotions. They’re not somehow, they don’t recognize it. They don’t understand what it is. They just know they’re unhappy. They just know they don’t have any contentment. They just know that somehow things don’t work out for them somehow. They just can’t seem to really and truly get on with enjoying life and moving ahead. Somehow. They can’t they can’t lay the past behind them. And I’ll tell you one of the tragedies of life is to find somebody who’s holding on to past hurts. Holding onto past injury. And they can’t let it go. Won’t let it go, refused to let it go. It becomes their security. And then if they had to let it go, they don’t know what they would do because it has become listen, like this elephant in their life. It’s this big thing in their life of somehow feeling and expressing and harboring and nurturing this kind of resentment, hostility. One of the things, one of the areas which it causes hurt is emotional damage. Now think about this for a moment when a person is feeling all of these things that he said here, anger and resentment and so forth. And they can’t escape them. Here’s what happens. It colors everything in your life. There is no exception of this. It colors everything in your life. If you don’t deal with it colors everything in your life and what happens here’s what happens your emotions freeze. Listen, you listen, you cannot you cannot have hurts in your life that have caused you to become bitter and resentful and unforgiving and hostile and angry as well as you may be able to suppress that. You know what happened? It freezes your emotions. You cannot love, you may try to but you can’t you can’t love, you can’t be free. You can’t be giving, you can’t be generous wise because something’s frozen you up. It’s it’s it’s hung you up and stuck you up. Your emotions are frozen. Not only can you not genuinely love someone else. You can’t accept it. And oftentimes the husbands and wives one cannot accept the others love. Why? Well, they don’t know why they just can’t they say, love me, Please, please, please love me. At the same time, they’re pushing other person away. Why? Because something something submitted. Something froze down in there. Something down in there is wrong. Something needs to be listen, it needs to melt their anger and resentment and hostility. Those hurts need to melt away. And God needs to bring some healing in that person’s life. They can’t love. And so what happens is we carry this emotional baggage. We freeze our emotions. We freeze our capacity to love and listen. It’s some someone may try to love you love, you love, you love you. And you know what? Somehow you don’t trust them or somehow you you just can’t feel it. You can’t experience, you can’t receive it. You can’t because you’ve been hurt so badly. You just can’t you don’t know why you can and so what happens? You have to be, you know, tough, my friend, listen, you can be tough all you want to I’d rather be tender. He says, He said, listen, he says be tenderhearted loving one another, forgiving each other even as the Lord has forgiven us. And if you’re one of those persons and you’ve wondered why, why why am I not free to love? Why why can’t I just give myself away? Why can’t I not do that? Maybe you need to ask yourself the question, what is there inside of me that maybe I have never dealt with? That? I need to lay down that I need to face up to. That I need healing in my spirit, healing in my soul, healing in my damaged emotions. Well, it will certainly harm us a second area in which I think it harms us. Is this and that is, it erodes listen, it erodes our fellowship uh with with the Lord. You see, I cannot be right with him. I can’t be free with him. And there have been times in my life when I was not when I was dealing with things that I knew I had to deal with. And somehow I just, I didn’t have that freedom and liberty in my relationship to him. It will erode your relationship with the Lord. You can’t hold onto hurts friend. You can’t hold on the hurts and hold on the bitterness and hold on the resentment and be right with God. And so what happens? You get down to pray and you can talk to him all you want to and I can tell you exactly how it feels. Something doesn’t click, you can say the things you used to say and doesn’t make any difference. You can try to you can try to conjure up some kind of feeling won’t work because you you see you cannot be unforgiving. Now listen, it has nothing to do with the other person, does they? They may be forgiving and loving or they may be hostile, angry, bitter, resentful. You know what has nothing to do with how I respond. It has to do rather with my relationship to the Lord and how I’m gonna react and I’m not gonna respond how I’m going to receive or reject or handle those hurts. And so it will erode your relationship with the Lord. You listen. You cannot walk in this place and rejoice and sing and praise the Lord and freedom and liberty and enjoy yourself. And at the same time you have this something deep down inside you that’s just gripped you and it’s just there you’d like to. But you can’t you want to but you can’t I mean you you just give anything if you could just be free enough to praise the Lord and sing and just glorify God and thank him. Can’t do it. Why? Because there’s something on the inside that’s harming you harming, listen harming you internally harming your relationship to the Lord, but likewise it harms us in our health. Now listen, friend, if you think that you can have hurts in your life that are unbelted with and that if and if you don’t deal with it, that ultimately it’s not gonna have any effect upon you better think again it is going listen, there’s going to be a fuse blown physically in your body somewhere somehow. Unless you deal with the hurts that are there, it’s gonna happen. It would be interesting if you took the average drug bill in the average home in America and you analyzed what those drugs were. More than likely they have to do with headache. Backache, chest ache or stomach ache of some abdominal pain. Usually it is because not always because a person can have some, they can have a bad disk or they could have some kind of problem in the stomach that they didn’t necessarily, it was not the result of anger or something. I’m not saying that all diseases that, but oftentimes oftentimes these things are the result of something going on inside of us that’s affecting your body. You see God wants to get our attention in one way or the other. Now he’d rather us just listen to a message, Get on our face, deal with it. Repent of it and move on. But if we don’t what happens. So here’s what happens instead of people listen instead of dealing with their hurt. Now listen carefully instead of dealing with their hurts and having them hell, it is easier to go to the doctor. Well, doctor, here’s what I’m just tired. I just feel bad all the time. And I hurt I hurt here, I hurt here, I hurt over here. And I imagine most doctors, when people walk in, they’ve already got a prescription, they’re just hurting over this, that and the other. And so what do they do? They write you have a prescription to do what to help alleviate your pain, not heal your problem. And so what happens? Agree. It’s easier to go to the doctor, get a prescription, make you feel a little bit better. But you know what happens when that prescription runs out? What do you have to do? You have to go back and get another one. And there are people who have been on drugs for years and years and years and years and years because they will not deal with the hurt deep down inside that may have happened way back yonder years and years and years ago in their life. It’s easier. It is much easier to take something to listen. These are the kind of people who live for the moment. Just let me feel good for the moment. I’m not worried about the future. I’m not worried about hurting, not worried about the ultimate consequence of this. I just want to feel good right now and I’m here to tell you, it’s devastating. It will listen, it will damage you emotionally. It will erode your relationship to the Lord. It will affect your your relationship other people. It will affect you health wise, ultimately, somewhere along the way, some fuse is going to get blown if you and I don’t do what he says, and that is, he says here, he says, put away from you. Let all bitterness and resentment and hostility and all these things be put away now, you say, alright, suppose there is somebody I need to forgive. How do I do that? Now, listen carefully. Let’s define what forgiveness is, not, forgiveness is not justifying the other person’s actions. Forgiveness is not forgetting it. Forgiveness is not tolerating it, saying, well, you know, everybody makes mistakes. And so whatever it is not denying it, it is not excusing what that person has done to you. It is not saying well, you know, inevitably time will heal this? No, it want. Unless you’re willing to deal with whatever it is that’s caused that hurt and pain in your life. You see, if I forgive someone, here’s what I’ve done. I’ve said, I deliberately and willfully lay down, put aside this debt that you owe me as a result of somehow the way you hurt me. And so I’m going to lay it aside. I put it down no longer hold it against them anymore. Now, does that mean that everything is absolutely correct between us? Not necessarily because you see, listen carefully, you and I are not responsible for someone’s response to our forgiveness. You may be forgiving you. Maybe God may heal you and the other person who did something to you may not ever be healed. They might not be interested in healing. They might not be listen. Their malice is just as strong today as it was yesterday. And so therefore, they may never change. But you know what? You and I are responsible for changing. No matter what the other person does. We are not responsible for another person’s actions. They are responsible for their own responses. They give an account to God for their own responses. And you said, well, suppose it’s somebody that hurt me a long time ago and they live in a distant state, or maybe what they did to you. You cannot even begin to share with anyone else under any condition. Or it may suppose they died then what? And I think that I think of the tragedies. Now, here’s a real tragedy. I think of the tragedies, the things that happened between Children and their parents. And then the parent, for example, a father and mother dies. And and this this bitterness and resentment, hostility, they say now, what do I do? Have I got to live with this? The rest of my life? Do I have to live with this? This stuff in me? The rest of my life now, I can’t settle it. I didn’t I couldn’t at the time and now they’re gone. Now what do I do? Here’s what you do and this will work. You get by yourself. You set up two chairs, you sit in one of them and you put the other person in the other chair. That person may live on your block, but they won’t talk to you and they won’t deal with that’s okay or they may be dead. You put them in the other chair and you sit in this chair and then here’s what you do. Very carefully you express to the other person all the feelings that you have the way that you believe they hurt you and all the feelings that you have let them out and then you say to that other person because the Lord jesus christ who is my personal savior, went to the cross and paid my sin debt in full. And because he has continually forgiven me over the years, I choose to forgive you for what you have done for me. And then you pray this prayer father, I want to thank you for the for the giving me the power and the privilege to lay down this hurt that has been there for years and years. I want to thank you for enabling me to be able to forgive my father, my mother, my sister, my brother, my son, my daughter, my friend, thank you for making it possible for me to forgive them and then accept this and accept the forgiveness that you have given to the other person as done. And my friend from that moment on the healing process will take place in your life, begin to take place in your life and what could have was harming you and hurting you far more deeper than you realize. The healing process will begin to take place and God will set you free of the hurts that would ultimately have harmed you and ultimately have destroyed you. Now. You know, only you know who in your life, what in your life, what experience in your life has caused you? Great hurt. Only you know how deep and how marred and marked you may feel. And I understand that there are some situations and circumstances that are so devastating and so evil and so wicked and so vile and so bad and so injurious and so hurtful and painful and difficult to handle. I understand that nobody probably understands how you feel the way you feel and so you can’t compare yourself with someone else. You just have to ask yourself the question, do I want, do I want the hurts to harm me physically and emotionally and my relationship to God, my relationship to others, or do I want to be healed. That’s a decision you have to make. And I’m simply saying this God the father, if you will trust his son, the Lord jesus christ as your personal savior. The Holy Spirit will come into your heart and here’s what he will do, he will enable you to be forgiving. He will, he will strengthen you and help you. He will place that you love in your heart, that you will be able to look at the other person and think about them differently. You’ll see them oftentimes in a different perspective, you’ll see them as someone who’s been injured in their life and therefore they just responded to you all that in a time in their life. They reacted in the wrong way on a moment of weakness, they did something to you that that harms you deeply. Your whole attitude will change. Here’s what will happen when you trust the Lord as your savior, he enabled you to be able to be forgiving because for the first time in your life, you understand what it means to be forgiven yourself and some want to encourage you that if you’ve never trusted jesus christ as your savior, my friends, you may think that you’re getting along with life, but you see the truth is you’re hurting on a deeper, invisible level than you realize ultimately it’s going to take and have its effect upon your life if you are a believer and you know that you’re safe and yet you say, well, you know, I thought I’d forgotten those things, I thought just forgetting that and shoving it aside that somehow would go away. No, it doesn’t and I want to encourage you, it may be that you say, well, I don’t know about that. Sitting down with somebody talking to them. Try it. If you don’t want to do that and here’s what you do. You write him a letter, you just write it out in the in longhand. However, however you want to just write it out all the things that you feel and then you express expressing that letter right at your prayer in that letter. And then here’s what you do. You burn it up. And with that burn goes your anger, resentment, hostility, and bitterness, and all the hurts that you nurtured all those years of your life. My friend, the father wants you free. Here’s what he says, he says. If you know the truth, the truth will set you free. And here’s the truth that sets you free. When you and I are willing to be forgiving. Even as your father has forgive, has forgiven us. We will be free of the hurt. We will be free of the harm that those hurts could cause to us. If we will trust him for it.