Life can get complicated, especially when you are trying to unravel the emotional damage that has bound you up in a tangled web of pain. Just imagine the confusion and fear a fly must feel when caught by a spider’s web. Sometimes the more you struggle with it the worse it seems to get! Forgiving others is only one piece of the nexus of pain that can get stuck to us when we have been hurt and abused. If we want to get free, we will have to learn how to break through all the strands.
Emotional pain can come upon us in 5 different ways! That just doesn’t seem fair. It’s as bad as flying roaches–did it really have to be that way? Still, there is no point to complaining about it. If you live in the South (as we do) you just have to learn to slap the pests back down to the ground and stomp on them there! Likewise, let’s stop complaining that we have pain and learn how to get rid of it.
1) There is sharp pain held in place (and often amplified by) by our own unforgiveness. This is the most common source of pain after a hurtful event. Once we have forgiven from the heart the people who hurt us, the “tormentors” (ie. demons) have no right to use that pain against us, so all the pain leaves as we fully let go of the offence and give it to God (see Freedom through Forgiving, Lesson 15).
2) This may still leave the aching hurt that can flood in as disappointment in God: “Why did You let this happen? Did I really have to go through all that pain? Why didn’t You rescue me sooner or prevent it in the first place, etc.” I call this the question that stumps us because we really would like an answer to it. God may provide an answer down the road, but for now He is quietly calling us to trust Him and believe the promise of Romans 8:28. Whenever we fully believe that promise, all of this kind of pain (loss, regret, self-pity) goes! It is replaced with bright expectation of blessing coming as a direct result of finally giving the thing to God (see The Power of Believing, Lesson 13).
And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
3) Then there is the nagging pain of unresolved and un-restored relationships. It really feels bad to be living at home or office with someone who is at variance with us, or to just keep bumping into them around town in meetings too close for comfort, because their glum attitude towards us is a constant source of discomfort. We have to trust God and learn to live in the “in between” just as He does—no one has more broken relationships with loved ones to deal with than our God, yet He never loses His peace. Learn to fasten your eyes on His perfect acceptance of you and rest in that (see Reconciliation with Others).
4-5) Finally, there is the pain of rejection by others (see Accepted in the Beloved, Lesson 17) or self-rejection for not being someone who could have avoided the pain or the problems (see Love Thyself!, Lesson 18). I have certainly seen it where I have fully forgiven the other person and released the pain; have given it to God for redemption and gotten over my complaint with Him; but still walked around wounded by the stings of “their stares”—the unloving looks of the ones who continued to reject me (points 3 and 4). Even so, this also goes away with the right application of Truth to the hurting area.
Now, that’s a lot of stuff to have to learn how to deal with! If we have gotten “tagged” by the enemy in any of these ways then we certainly “needed” the trial in order to grow spiritually. However, the goal is not just emotional survival, but to learn how to use every negative event and every inward failing as a springboard into drawing on greater grace from God. Through this healing process we can learn how to exchange absolutely everything inside of us that is a negative emotion for the positive ones He wants us to enjoy at all times.
We don’t usually get feelings directly from the Lord, but we do get to believe truths which allow us to feel the way He does, since He is always believing those same good-feeling truths. For instance, it feels great to know by faith that I’m accepted, that He loves me, that He is making good plans for me, etc. Faith is the connection to grace. The grace is ALWAYS there. It is our inability to access it sufficiently that indicates a faith connection which is loose or shorting out. Let’s learn how to keep our hearts well-connected to God and His grace!
If this seems like a lot of things to have to learn to get well, just consider how well-invested your time will be. Years of being free lie ahead of you, if you are willing to do the work of cooperating with God. Simply invest your time in our free eCourse for Healing and see how you, too, can be liberated by believing and doing Truth.