Joy Comes in the Morning!

 
In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.
Psalm 77:2 (NKJV)
 
Genuine followers of Jesus Christ have all experienced the dark night of the soul at one time or another in their lives.  Those days, weeks, months or even years can seem like they will never end and be extremely difficult to endure.  Regardless of how much we love the Lord and seek His comfort, there are times when our souls—our minds, wills and emotions— refuse to be comforted.
 
His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant;
you have been faithful over a few things,
I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
Matthew 25:23 (NKJV)
 

In Psalm 23:4, David wrote about walking through the valley of the shadow of death.  That valley is no fun to walk through, but the main thing to keep in mind is that we walk through it.  We should never stop and give up!  People who have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, who asked Almighty God for forgiveness for their sins in Jesus’ name, and who have repented and changed their ungodly behavior will eventually experience joy in the morning.  That joy may come the next day after a traumatic event.  However, it may be weeks or months before that joy comes to our hearts, minds and spirits.  True Christians know that when we pass from this life into eternity, and we see the Lord face to face, we will be filled with joy!

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord.
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)
 

The cycle of experiencing grief, weeping, and sorrow and then returning to a place of joy is part of life.  However, some Christians can get stuck in the grieving part of the cycle and do not regain the joy of the Lord.  The joy of the Lord is our strength as it says in Nehemiah 8:10 and we must return to His joy in order to receive the healing we need from traumatic events in our lives.  We can only do that if we are one of God’s children, living our lives for His glory.

In 2 Corinthians 11:24-28, Paul wrote about many of the traumatic events that he had experienced:

Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches.
2 Corinthians 11:24-28 (ESV)
 
Most of us have not suffered the majority of those types of horrendous situations, other than possibly sleepless nights, hunger and thirst, and being cold.  Nevertheless, many true Christians, including me, have been extremely wounded and devastated by traumatic circumstances which caused our hearts and spirits to be broken.  Have you been betrayed?  I have.  Have you been divorced?  I have.  Have you been lied about by close friends or family members?  I have.  Have you been raped?  I have.  Have you been the victim of a violent crime?  I have.  Have you suffered the loss of a loved one due to their death?  I have.  Have you been abandoned?  I have.  Have you been rejected?  I have.  Have you been emotionally, verbally, mentally, physically, sexually, or spiritually abused?  I have experienced all of those types of abuse and more.  Have you been the victim of domestic violence?  I have.  Have you survived a natural disaster?  I have.  However, I am a survivor and more than a conqueror through Jesus Christ!  You can be too!! 

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].

Romans 8:37 (AMP)

Paul called the immense traumatic circumstances that he suffered “light afflictions” in 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.  He encouraged us not to lose heart and remember that the trials in our lives are only for a moment compared to eternity.  We must always try to keep God’s perspective as our focus—the big picture—that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28, NKJV).

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing,
yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 
For our light affliction, which is but for a moment,
is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,
while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.
For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (NKJV)

When I write these articles, I am writing from a place of truly having lived through and survived numerous forms of extremely traumatic events.  My personal relationship with Jesus Christ has enabled the inner healing that He has done in my heart and spirit. The amount of emotional and spiritual healing I have received is amazing and it has allowed me to help others.  Jesus died for all my griefs and sorrows.  He died for yours as well.  Isaiah was prophesying about Jesus in these verses:

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed.
Isaiah 53:4-5 (NKJV)

Our Most High God has promised us that joy will come in the morning.  He does not tell us which morning, only that joy will come.  We must participate in the fulfillment of that promise in any way that He leads us to do so.  The main thing that we can do to see that happen in our lives is to worship the Lord regardless of what is happening in the natural realm.  As we obey and honor Him, we will experience increasing amounts of His joy! 

 

Sing praise to the LORD, you saints of His,
And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.
For His anger is but for a moment,
His favor is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning.
Psalm 30:4-5 (NKJV)
 
 

Kathy Shelton

 

What in the world is going on with me?

Have you ever asked yourself that question?  You love the Lord Jesus and have sincerely asked Him to be your personal Lord and Savior, but something is blocking you from receiving freedom from ungodly habits and reactions to things.  The sin that we continue to battle in our lives is sometimes the result of past emotional pain and trauma that are festering beneath the surface.  If you find yourself repeatedly “going around the same mountains,” this may be the reason.

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance,
But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)


Our spirits register everything about us from the moment of conception on.  When a person’s countenance is sad, there is a broken spirit involved. 

The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?
Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)

 
A broken spirit is the result of traumatic events—one-time occurrences or on-going situations.  We often suffer traumatic situations as the result of the actions of evil people who have no consciences.  The reality is that much of the trauma we experience is caused by close friends, family and others we trusted who were just pretending to be Christians.  Those traumatic circumstances are even more devastating due to the tremendous betrayal that is part of the trauma.  

Traumatic events include the death of a loved one, divorce, abuse of any kind (sexual, mental, verbal, emotional, spiritual or physical), domestic violence, being the victim of any violent crime, physical illnesses and surgeries, repeatedly moving from one location to another (especially during childhood), natural disasters (fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc.), and anything else that is extremely upsetting to normal life circumstances.  Trauma can not only break our hearts, but it can also break our spirits!

Addiction to drugs, alcohol, sex, pornography, gambling, food, prescription medications, ungodly relationships, cutting oneself, or anything else may be the result of trying to numb emotional pain and trauma from the past or present.  As painful memories from past events are triggered and come to the surface, the associated emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain may be intense.  In an attempt to numb or deaden that pain, an individual may have one, two, three, or more drinks, use drugs, or in some other way try to relieve or deaden that pain.  It may work for a short time, because the activity changes the chemical balance in the person’s brain.  However, it is not a permanent solution and the unbearable emotional, mental, spiritual or physical pain eventually surfaces again.  The cycle of numbing the pain, the pain reappearing, and numbing it again can lead to full-blown addiction.


As genuine followers of Jesus Christ, we need to be living from the hearts and spirits that Father God gave us.  Unfortunately, most of us are living from hearts and spirits that are broken.  Inner healing is the healing of our emotional and spiritual wounds.  Many of them are wounds that we initially experienced in early childhood.  These traumatic experiences often become repressed with time and remain hidden within us, contaminating our souls and distorting our beliefs and behaviors.  If we bury our emotional and spiritual pain, we are burying something that remains alive!  Suppressed emotional and spiritual pain doesn’t just disappear.  It can turn into lingering physical pain.

The LORD is near to those who have a broken heart,
And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
Psalm 34:18 (NKJV)
  
A contrite spirit is also translated as a crushed spirit (NASB translation).  Therefore, the verse above reassures us that the Lord saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18, NKJV).  The Lord wants to heal our broken hearts and spirits!

The spirit of man is the lamp of the LORD,

Searching all the innermost parts of his being.
Proverbs 20:27 (NASB)


James 1:4 (NIV) instructs us to become mature and complete, not lacking anything.  This reference is one of many portions of Scripture that highlight our responsibility to work on our maturity.  Once the Lord reveals that some sin in our lives is pain-driven, we must do all we can to pursue Biblical healing and freedom.  We should never use any type of pain as an excuse to sin!

Inner healing is a process like peeling and onion, one layer at a time.  It is not about trying to be perfect all at once.  We all need inner healing, because we have all been wounded emotionally or spiritually to one degree or another.  None of us grew up in a perfect world.  We don’t get healed if we stay in denial about how we are broken.  God does the redeeming, but we choose to mature.  If we are serious about becoming more like Jesus, we must ask Him to show us pain and trauma that He wants to heal in us. 

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”
Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)


We were meant to love God with undivided, whole hearts.  Traumatic situations cause our hearts to be broken and divided into many pieces.  The good news is that there is hope!  A genuine, personal relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ, can lead to the healing and restoration of our hearts and spirits.  Jesus is the only One who can truly heal broken hearts and spirits!  Many people have received freedom from the effects of emotional and spiritual pain and trauma, including ungodly behavior, sin and addictions, through Biblical, healing prayer ministry.  Jesus Christ came to set the captives free, but sometimes it requires a person, “Jesus with skin on,” to help in the inner healing process.  We all need the encouragement and prayers of trusted, genuine followers of Jesus Christ!

Do not give up hope!  Jesus loves you and wants to heal your broken heart and spirit.  The Lord will show you the way to receive the healing you need as you focus on loving Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit right where you are at the moment.  The Lord Jesus said, “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8, NKJV)

Kathy Shelton 

The Bible and the Brokenhearted

The Bible has a lot to say about those who are brokenhearted.  It also has the answer for us to be able to receive healing and freedom from the emotional pain and trauma that we experienced in our lives regardless of the amount of time that has passed since the painful situations occurred.  The following verses are taken from the New King James Version (NKJV) of the Bible unless noted otherwise.  They are just a few that address the very common human condition of being brokenhearted.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.      

Psalm 34:18 (NASB, New American Standard Bible)

When we suffer emotional and spiritual pain that is the result of traumatic events, such as any type of abuse, the loss of a loved one, divorce, rape, accidents and natural disasters, our hearts will be broken and our spirits will be crushed.  Trauma devastates us in many ways, but our Most High God provides the comfort and healing we need if we have become His children by having genuinely accepted His Son, Jesus Christ, as our personal Lord and Savior.

We need to be living from the heart that God gave us.  Unfortunately, most of us are living from a heart that is broken.  Living from and with a heart that is broken is a miserable manner in which to live.  It is not the Lord’s perfect will for His children.  His perfect will for us is stated in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37

Our Most High God also intended for His children to love Him with all their hearts.  If we are living with broken hearts, we cannot love our Heavenly Father with whole hearts.  Healing for the pain and trauma that caused our hearts to be broken must be accomplished before we can truly love God with all our hearts.

Stuffing emotional and spiritual pain does not help, but only makes matters worse, because it will eventually come to the surface, and it can be like a volcano erupting when that happens.  Crying when we are brokenhearted is very healing and cleansing.  Even though Jesus knew that Lazarus had died and that He was going to raise him from the dead, Jesus groaned in His spirit and was troubled, and Jesus wept (John 11:32-35).  He saw the emotional pain that Mary, Lazarus’ sister, was experiencing and Jesus cried.  Crying is a healthy reaction to painful and traumatic situations.

He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives…

Luke 4:18

In Luke 4:18 above, Jesus quoted Isaiah 61:1 and then proceeded to add the following:

And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Luke 4:21

That is the good news—Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted!  Isaiah 53:4 says that Jesus “has borne our griefs (or sicknesses) and carried our sorrows (or pains).”  These nouns, griefs and sorrows, have reference to sicknesses, both spiritual and physical.  Borne and carried mean to take upon oneself or to carry as a burdenJesus died to take our emotional pain but we must release it to Him.  Through gentle, Holy Spirit led prayer, we can release the hidden emotional pain and trauma to Jesus.

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the LORD, searching all the inner depths of his heart.

Proverbs 20:27

The Lord wants us to search our hearts and acknowledge areas that need emotional and spiritual healing.  That can be a painful process in and of itself, but the end result of receiving godly healing and freedom from pain and trauma is definitely worth the time and effort involved in the inner healing process.

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:13

A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.         

Proverbs 17:22

Laughter and having a merry heart is a very important part of the healing process for our broken hearts and crushed spirits.  It does good like medicine and is very healing for our emotional and spiritual pain.  Laughing has many beneficial effects on us emotionally, spiritually and physically.  It is one of the remedies that the Lord created through which we can receive healing when we are brokenhearted.  However, we must deliberately participate in that blessing to receive the healing it provides.  Choosing to laugh and rejoice about something on a daily basis is choosing to have a merry heart!

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 

2 Corinthians 1:3-4 is God’s plan for the brokenhearted.  He wants to comfort us in all our tribulation—in all our emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.  Once we have received a significant level of emotional and spiritual healing, the Lord desires that we then help comfort other brokenhearted people just as we were comforted by God. 

The Bible clearly states God’s promises and provisions of inner healing for the brokenhearted.   Jeremiah 31:3 tells us that our Most High God loves us with an everlasting love!  1 John 4:9 says, “In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.”  Living through Jesus Christ is the only way that we can receive true and lasting healing for our broken hearts.    

Kathy Shelton

To Forgive or Not To Forgive?

Biblical forgiveness is one of the principles that is most often incorrectly taught to followers of Jesus Christ.  Some professing “Christians” believe that because they once said a prayer asking Jesus to be their Lord and Savior that all of their past, present and future sins are automatically forgiven by Almighty God.  They do not believe that they will be held accountable for any sins and that there is no need for them to repent.  That line of thinking only leads to rampant sin in the life of a person who is not a genuine Christian. We must understand that God’s forgiveness requires us to sincerely repent by changing our ungodly behavior when we sin.  If we refuse to repent, Jesus Christ is not our Lord.

Forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, means that we are given the opportunity to spend eternity with Almighty God in Heaven.  John 3:16-21 state that Jesus came to provide for our salvation.  The verses also describe the difference between those practicing evil who are condemned and people who are honoring God.  People who willfully continue their evil, sinful behavior, in spite of claiming to be Christians, are not sincerely following Jesus, and they will not go to Heaven.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God. 

John 3:16-21 (NKJV)

God’s forgiveness is not unconditional.  God expects us to obey Him.  When we disobey the Lord, we will suffer the consequences.  Deuteronomy 28 clearly describes the blessings that we will receive for obeying God and also some of the results if we choose to disobey Him.  In Genesis 19:15-26, Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt because she disobeyed the Lord and looked back after being told not to do so.  The cost of her disobedience was immediate death.

My Scriptural understanding of our responsibility to forgive others has changed greatly during the past several decades.  I was taught repeatedly, and as a result I once believed, that we are supposed to forgive everyone regardless of what they did, whether they were a genuine follower of Jesus Christ or not, and whether or not they were sorry and repentant.  I no longer believe that based on several Scriptures, many of which are Jesus’ own words.  According to Luke 17:3, Jesus stated that repentance is a condition required for us to forgive a brother—a fellow Christian.

Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

Luke 17:3 (NKJV)

True Christians will obey the Lord and if they occasionally sin, they will repent and change their behavior.  They will express genuine remorse.  However, there are many wolves in sheep’s clothing who are pretending to be followers of Jesus Christ, but do not obey Him and do not repent for their sins.  We can know the difference based on a person’s actions and sincere sorrow.  John 3:36 clearly warns us that the wrath of God remains on those who do not obey the Lord.

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. 

John 3:36 (ESV)

Sincere followers of Jesus Christ should always be willing to forgive others when it is appropriate to do so.  Our Most High God does not forgive everyone, but He is ready and willing to forgive us when we are truly sorry for our sins and change our behavior—repent—to live according to His Word.  God’s forgiveness can only be received through the birth, death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus Christ. People who refuse to genuinely accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior, and obey God’s commandments and directions, will not spend eternity with Him in Heaven.  

For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
And abundant in mercy to all those who call upon You.

Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

However, the Lord Jesus said, in Matthew 12:31-32, that there is a sin that God will not forgive.  Blasphemy—the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence—against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven by God.  These words from Jesus show that our Most High God considers that to be unforgivable!

“Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” 

Matthew 12:31-32 (NKJV)

In Acts 5:1-11, Ananias and Sapphira tried to deceive the Holy Spirit and lied to Peter about the amount of money they had received when they sold a possession.  They kept back a portion of the proceeds from the sale.  That was not the problem.  Their sin was that they lied about it.  They were both guilty of deception and lying.  Ananias and Sapphira were given the opportunity to repent and tell the truth, but they did not do so.  They died as a result.  That may seem like a harsh consequence for lying, but it is one example of believers receiving God’s judgment for not repenting for their sin. 

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

Acts 5:3-4 (NKJV)

Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, “Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?” She said, “Yes, for so much.”

Acts 5:7-8 (NKJV)

In addition, when we have sinned and have not asked God to forgive us, and have not repented for our sins, it always blocks our relationships with Him.  He will not hear our prayers if we have known sins on our accounts.  

But your iniquities have separated you from your God;
And your sins have hidden His face from you,
So that He will not hear.   

Isaiah 59:2 (NKJV)

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. 

Ephesians 4:32 (NKJV)

God does expect us to forgive as we have been forgiven in Christ.  After we make a sincere profession of faith in Jesus, ask God for forgiveness for our sins, and repent, God forgives us.  The condition of repentance is often ignored by those who want us to forgive them, but do not want to change their behavior.  At times, people may forgive someone who is not repentant because they do not want to lose that relationship.  However, that is a very selfish reason to forgive and it allows the offender to continue the ungodly behavior without consequences. That is not in agreement with God’s character and Word.  In this life or after they die, our Most High God always carries out His judgment against those who do not repent.

This is a powerful quote from John Hagee: “Granting forgiveness without demanding a change in conduct (behavior) makes the grace of God an accomplice to evil.”  Just think about that statement.  Ungodly behavior is sin and evil.  If we grant forgiveness without requiring the person to repent and change their behavior, we are making the grace of God a partner with that evil.  Godly sorrow and repentance are not optional in order to receive God’s forgiveness, and it should be a requirement for us to forgive others. 

Why would we think that we should forgive unrepentant rapists, pedophiles, murderers, and other evil people, including pseudo “Christians,” when Almighty God does not forgive such people?  Those who tell abuse victims/survivors to forgive an unrepentant, evil perpetrator are asking them to do something that our Most High God does not do!  One woman to whom I ministered told me that she would never forgive the person who murdered her daughter.  Not only was the killer unrepentant, but he denied that he had committed the crime even though all the evidence proved he had done it.  Based on God’s Word about forgiveness, I do not believe that the Lord expected that heartbroken lady to forgive the unrepentant murderer of her precious daughter.

Repent therefore of this your wickedness, and pray God if perhaps the thought of your heart may be forgiven you. 

Acts 8:22 (NKJV)

 For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.    

2 Corinthians 7:10 (NKJV)

Without faith in the One True God and His Son, Jesus Christ, a person cannot truly forgive.  The love of God makes it possible for us to genuinely forgive when it is appropriate.  A desire to obey and please the Lord is absent without that faith.  A remorseless wrongdoer cannot benefit from God’s forgiveness.  The fact that God forgives us based on our acceptance of Jesus’ sacrifice and our repentance is the only reason that we have hope and the assurance that we will spend eternity with the Lord in Heaven.  Obeying God and forgiving—when it is appropriate—helps to keep our relationships with the Lord strong.

Also, we cannot base whether or not we have truly forgiven someone on our feelings.  We may still feel emotional pain when we think about the person or situation.  Many years ago, the life and career of a man I knew was seriously damaged and almost destroyed as a result of the wicked actions and lies of several people.  He was carrying an indescribable amount of pain and trauma.  Hoping to reduce his suffering, that Christian man eventually made the conscious decision to forgive the people involved, but he still felt lots of bitterness and anger regarding the injustice that had been done to him.  The bitterness and anger were attached to the emotional pain and trauma that he had suffered, which had not been released or healed.  If we forgive someone who is truly sorry and repentant, we may not always feel like we have done so until Jesus releases the pain and trauma and heals our broken hearts.

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

Our Most High God gives everyone the opportunity to receive forgiveness for sins, true freedom, and healing through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Whether or not we are forgiven by God depends on our sincere acceptance of Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  Our obedience to God and His Word, and our repentance when we sin, prove that our relationships with Him and Jesus are genuine.  Almighty God will never force anyone to repent, but thank God that He gives us the opportunity to do so! Otherwise, we would all be doomed to an eternity in Hell.

               Kathy Shelton

The Pain

Emotional pain.
Physical pain.
Mental pain.
Spiritual pain.

The pain is so real. The pain is so intense. The emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain from traumatic events can cause people to do many things to try to escape, numb, or cope with the pain they are feeling. A person may turn to drugs, alcohol, sexual promiscuity, cutting, denial, anger, and other self-destructive behaviors. Numbing the pain with drugs, alcohol or other ungodly coping mechanisms to try to alleviate the pain can lead to addiction. However, the Lord is the only One who can bring true, lasting freedom and healing from the pain.

He heals the brokenhearted
And binds up their wounds.

Psalm 147:3 (NKJV)

Traumatic events include betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, domestic violence, divorce, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. As traumatic situations become more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, cause physical illness.

Secondary trauma is trauma that we heard about or saw that happened to someone else, but did not directly involve us. Secondary trauma can have a significant impact on our hearts and spirits even though we did not experience the traumatic event first-hand. Ministers, counselors, mental health professionals, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes disabling, amounts of primary and secondary pain and trauma.

Trauma is energy. It comes at us like a blow to a bone. That bone can receive a hair-line fracture, a splintering, a complete break or several breaks depending on the force behind the blow. Emotional and spiritual trauma have similar effects on our hearts, minds and spirits. The effects from traumatic events that do not receive healing will steadily distract our focus and drain our energy away from reaching our God-given destinies.  The pain from trauma will fester and eventually erupt like a volcano if it is not released and the damage is not healed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a serious result of extreme traumatic events. It is not just limited to veterans of war, although there are a high percentage of veterans suffering with horrific PTSD symptoms. Many more people are living with the debilitating symptoms of PTSD than anyone realizes. PTSD is a real illness. It can develop after living through or seeing a life-threatening, traumatic event. PTSD makes a person feel stressed and afraid after the danger is over. PTSD can cause problems like flashbacks, or feeling like the event is happening again, trouble sleeping or night terrors, feeling alone, and panic attacks. PTSD starts at different times for different people. Signs of PTSD may start soon after a terrifying event and then continue. Other people develop new or more severe signs months or even years later.  PTSD can lead to all of the ungodly coping behaviors mentioned above and that last, most self-destructive action of suicide.

Current traumatic situations can, and often do, bring the emotional pain of similar past traumatic experiences to the surface. We were meant to love God with whole, not broken, hearts. We cannot do that when the pain and trauma are constantly bombarding our hearts and spirits.

Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”

Matthew 22:37 (NKJV)

The pain can also cause us to wear an emotional “mask” around others. We don’t want others to see how deeply we are hurting. Many people just don’t know how to cope. They may try to get help, but it may be unsuccessful, or even cause more damage. So, they may eventually turn to wearing a “mask,” not letting anyone know how severely brokenhearted they are—not letting anyone know the level of pain that they are carrying. However, the more they wear that “mask,” the more the “mask” becomes part of who they are! The following poem by Helen Joseph, The Mask, addresses this very well.

Always a mask

Held in the slim hand,

Whitely,

Always she had a mask

Before her face–

Smiling and sprightly,

The Mask.

 

Truly the wrist

Holding it lightly

Fitted the task:

Sometimes however

Was there a shiver,

Fingertip quiver,

Ever so slightly–

Holding the mask?

 

For years and years and

Years I wondered

But dared not ask.

 

And then–

I blundered,

I looked behind,

Behind the mask

To find

Nothing–She had no face.

  

She had become

Merely a hand

Holding a mask

With grace.

I have quoted the above poem during Healing the Brokenhearted Ministry seminars and workshops for many years. There has always been a very strong reaction to the poem from those in attendance. Many people can relate to wearing am emotional mask/false face. It is not socially acceptable to wear our pain on our sleeves—to let it be known to others. Unfortunately—very unfortunately—in Christian churches, there is an enormous amount of emotional and spiritual pain being carried by believers, and they are afraid to be real with anyone. They have been hurt too much. They may have been spiritually abused and deeply wounded by professing Christians. They don’t want to take a chance that it will happen again and understandably so.

When we go to a church service and look around, we will normally see rows and rows of people wearing their emotional masks. If we ask them how they are doing, they will answer, “I’m doing fine. I’m doing good. I am blessed.” Yes, Christians are blessed because Jesus came, died, and rose again so that we can spend eternity with Him and the Father in Heaven. However, life on this earth is difficult to say the least. It is not a bed of roses even for, and sometimes especially for, Christians. We have all experienced emotional pain and trauma.

The answer, however, is not to walk around wearing a mask! The answer is not to worry about what others will think. Our Most High God is the only One we need to please. Wearing “masks” does not please Him. If we please Him, then we will be pleasing those people He wants us to please. We cannot do that while wearing an emotional mask!

Instead of continuing to wear an emotional mask/false face that will draw us deeper and deeper into isolation from our Most High God and other people, we need to find someone with whom we can share our deepest pain. We need to allow that emotional mask to come off. We need to be careful, because as many of us have discovered, not everyone is safe. However, we can ask a trustworthy, Christian friend or family member if they know a safe believer who can help us receive freedom in Biblical ways. We must reach out and not isolate ourselves in order to receive the inner healing we need.

The LORD is near to the heartbroken
And He saves those who are crushed in spirit (contrite in heart, truly sorry for their sin).

Psalm 34:18 (AMP)

Healing for our pain requires that we take the first step and sincerely ask Jesus to be our Lord and Savior. We must obey God’s Word and repent for our sins. Jesus’ sacrifice was a huge price paid for our freedom and healing, and we need to honor it by being honest with our Most High God and genuine in our confession of faith.

Jesus Christ can release and heal our pain and trauma! 

Jesus said:

“The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;”

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

JESUS is always safe! We need to talk to Him. We must pray and listen for His response. He will lead us and guide us on the healing path that we need to follow for the specific pain and trauma that we have experienced.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.

Revelation 21:4 (NKJV)

May the Lord Jesus bless you as you seek His healing and freedom from pain and trauma. I pray that your heart will be open to receiving that healing and freedom and that nothing will stop you from pursuing it. I bless you as you determine to stop wearing an emotional mask long enough to get the help you need so that one day you will not have to wear that “mask” ever again. May Jesus Christ strengthen your heart and give you courage. May you see the goodness of the Lord as you remove your mask!
Kathy Shelton

Children of God

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.

1 John 3:1 (NKJV)

Genuine followers of Jesus Christ are children of God. What an amazing truth to meditate on and embrace with our hearts, minds and spirits. Sincere Christians are sons and daughters of the Most High God! They have an inheritance as such that is out of this world. Our Most High God has promised His children a glorious eternity with Him that we can only imagine if we have genuinely accepted His Son as our personal Lord and Savior. That is His incredible love for His children!

However, when our hearts are broken as a result of any type of abuse, the death of a loved one, divorce, domestic violence, rape, accidents, natural disasters, or any other form of trauma, we may begin to believe that our future will be determined by those extremely painful and traumatic experiences. We may feel like it is who we are, and our outlook can be skewed, because we have accepted the negative labels—word curses—that accompanied the trauma.  Those labels may include victim, abandoned, rejected, or unloved. They can help keep us in bondage and prevent us from receiving freedom from the emotional and spiritual pain.

The trauma is not who we are—it is what happened to us! If Jesus Christ is our Lord and Savior, we are sons and daughters of the Most High God. That is our true identity. We are loved by the Creator of the Universe, the Great Physician, the Lord of Hosts. We are precious in His sight and He wants to heal our broken hearts. We must embrace that truth. God loves His children with an incomparable, everlasting love!

The Lord has appeared of old to me, saying: “Yes, I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore with lovingkindness I have drawn you.”

Jeremiah 31:3 (NKJV)

The following is a short list of who we are according to the Word of God, the Bible, if we have sincerely accepted God’s Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior.  The associated Scriptures are in parentheses below each statement.

We are children of God.

(Romans 8:16)

Our sins are forgiven through the blood of Jesus. 

(Colossians 1:13-14)

We have been saved by grace through faith.

(Ephesians 2:8)

We are new creations in Christ Jesus.

(2 Corinthians 5:17)

We are partakers of His Divine Nature.

(2 Peter 1:4)

We are delivered from the powers of darkness through the blood of Jesus Christ.

(Colossians 1:13)

God’s children are led by the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit.

(Romans 8:14)

We are getting all our needs met by God through Christ Jesus.

(Philippians 4:19)

We humble ourselves and we cast all our cares on God.

(1 Peter 5:6-7)

We are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.

(Ephesians 6:10)

We can do all things through Christ Who strengthens us.

(Philippians 4:13)

We are heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ if indeed we suffer with Him.

(Romans 8:17)

We can receive the blessing of Abraham, the promise of the Spirit through faith.

(Galatians 3:13-14)

We have been given eternal life in God’s Son, Jesus Christ.

(1 John 5:11-12)

In Christ, we are blessed with every spiritual blessing.

(Ephesians 1:3)

We are healed by Jesus’ stripes.

(1 Peter 2:24)

We are more than conquerors through God and Jesus Christ Who love us.

(Romans 8:37)

We are overcomers by the blood of the Lamb, Jesus Christ, and the word of our testimonies.

(Revelation 12:11)

We can have victory over evil spirits. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

(1 John 4:4)

      We do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen.

(2 Corinthians 4:18)

We walk by faith and not by sight.

(2 Corinthians 5:7)

We are being transformed by the renewing of our minds.

(Romans 12:1-2)

We are God’s fellow workers.

(1 Corinthians 3:9)

We are the righteousness of God in Jesus Christ.

(2 Corinthians 5:21)

We are to be imitators of God as dear children.

(Ephesians 5:1)

We are to be the light of the world.

(Matthew 5:14)

The above declarations clearly describe who we are as children of the Most High God! We must never let the devil convince us otherwise. The negative labels that people and the kingdom of darkness have inflicted on our hearts, minds and spirits are lies. God’s Word shines the truth of who we are and what we are called to live as God’s children and genuine followers of Jesus Christ.

We love Him because He first loved us.

1 John 4:19 (NKJV) 

Not only do our heavenly Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit love us, but we love them in return. They show us their love for us in countless ways. We show our love for them by trusting God and obeying Him and His Word, because He first loved us.

Kathy Shelton

A Whip of Cords!

 When He had made a whip of cords, He drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and the oxen, and poured out the changers’ money and overturned the tables. 

John 2:15 (NKJV)

WOW! Jesus was very angry when He saw how those people had turned the temple, His Father’s house, into a place where business was being conducted. That was a perfect example of godly, righteous anger displayed as a result of people’s sinful actions. The temple was meant to be a house of prayer, not a “den of thieves,” which Jesus called what the money changers and sellers had made it.

Jesus was furious when he used that whip of cords to drive those people, who were defiling the temple, off the premises. He was not being timid, shy, or politically correct. He was extremely angry and had a very good reason to react the way He did and kick them out. We should never feel guilty for having righteous anger. There are times when godly, righteous anger is not only appropriate, but also necessary to deal with ungodly situations! 

And when He had looked around at them with anger, being grieved by the hardness of their hearts, He said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” And he stretched it out, and his hand was restored as whole as the other. 

Mark 3:5 (NKJV)

Jesus was in the synagogue when He looked at the supposedly godly men with anger. Jesus was angry! Many followers of His have been told by others—both Christians and non-Christians—that being angry is not a godly response to any situation. However, there are many examples in the Bible where the Most High God and His Son, Jesus Christ, were angry due to evil, unrighteous behavior of human beings.

We have to understand the difference between righteous, godly anger and anger that is a product of our mind, will, emotions, or a demonic spirit. Righteous anger is a response to sinful actions, or injustice, and Jesus experienced it when He walked on this earth. The pain and trauma that is caused by unrighteous circumstances break our hearts and usually result in righteous anger in our hearts and spirits as well.

However, we must be careful not to allow our hearts to become hardened. Mark 3:5 says that Jesus was grieved by the hardness of their hearts. We should always try to please the Lord and not grieve our heavenly Father, Jesus or the Holy Spirit. We must do our best to prevent our hearts from becoming hardened, but if that has already happened, we can ask the Lord to forgive us and soften our hearts. He wants to heal our broken hearts and to release the unspeakable emotional and spiritual pain we carry. We must take the first step by surrendering to His ways and perfect will for our lives.

Be angry, but don’t sin — don’t let the sun go down before you have dealt with the cause of your anger; 

Ephesians 4:26 (NKJV)

Be angry? Does God’s Word really say that it is okay to be angry? Yes! However, the Lord qualified that statement by adding the phrase “but don’t sin.” Righteous anger—godly anger—is not sin, but can turn into sin if we let it. We must recognize the difference.

It is absolutely normal to become angry when someone or something has caused us pain and trauma. In fact, anger is often attached to emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts. However, ungodly anger can grow into bitterness, which can then lead to other destructive emotions if it is not released from our hearts and spirits. It can also cause physical illness. We must be very careful how far we allow the emotion of anger to progress, because we are the ones who will ultimately suffer damage to our hearts, bodies and spirits. If anger has developed into sin, we must confess that sin and ask God to forgive us in Jesus’ name.

Our hearts can even become hardened concerning God if we are not cautious regarding anger. Healing for our broken hearts is more difficult as a result.  People with hardened hearts turn away from God—the One who can release the pain and heal them. Asking Jesus to release the pain and anger from our hearts and spirits and asking the Holy Spirit to apply His healing balm are part of the inner healing process. Hardened, broken hearts can be healed by the Lord!

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 

Ezekiel 36:26 (NKJV)

The good news is that our Most High God has promised to give us new hearts and new spirits! He promised to give us soft, pliable hearts in place of the hard hearts that can result from the pain and trauma in our lives. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to heal the brokenhearted. Deep pain from traumatic events can be released and hearts can be healed. The miraculous process of inner healing is possible through the incomparable love and freedom offered by Jesus Christ.

Traumatic situations include abandonment, betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, rape and domestic violence. Those emotionally and spiritually devastating acts against us can make us feel unclean, filthy and angry.  Bitterness, anger, hatred, and other destructive emotions can be attached to the pain and trauma. Those destructive emotions may even be the root of us trying to take matters into our own hands to repay the offending individuals for what they did that wounded our hearts and spirits. When ungodly anger leads to retaliation, it is not healthy for us in any way. Retaliation does not heal or release the pain and trauma that we carry.

Allowing Jesus to remove the emotional and spiritual pain in our hearts and spirits is the only way to receive true freedom. Biblical, healing and cleansing prayer can release the pain and trauma—healing our hearts and spirits—which normally also releases the attached destructive emotions. Only the Lord Jesus can truly cleanse us from the effects of abuse, pain and trauma. As Jesus cleanses us from the defilement of trauma, and releases the emotional and spiritual pain from our hearts and spirits, we can truly experience newness and peace. Our hearts of flesh can be restored!

God is a just judge, and God is angry with the wicked every day.   

Psalm 7:11 (NKJV)

We must trust that the Most High God will judge those responsible for causing us unspeakable pain and trauma. His Word says that He is angry with the wicked every day. He is a Just Judge and He will bring about the appropriate consequences and punishment to those who do not genuinely repent for their sins. Repentance must include heart-felt, godly sorrow for evil actions or words—and a change in behavior—or it is not true repentance at all. It is essential that we place the offenders in the hands of the Most High God and let Him determine the timing for justice to be done. Then, we will know peace in the midst of pain and trauma. As we trust the Lord to judge and punish the evil doers,  the healing of our broken hearts—and the release of attached anger—will be more easily achieved.

Kathy Shelton

GODLY BOUNDARIES – No Door Mats!

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works,
And that my soul knows very well. 

Psalm 139:14 (NKJV)

Brokenhearted people often have major problems setting godly boundaries in their lives. The lies of the enemy, Satan, can cause a trauma victim to feel like they deserved the abuse and trauma that they suffered. They may feel like a doormat, being walked on over and over, because they were vulnerable and an easy target. That is how the enemy would like wounded Christians to view themselves. Embracing the true identity that the Lord God has created for His children enables them to reject Satan’s lies!

We are fearfully and wonderfully made in the image of the Most High God! The enemy would like us to forget that and see ourselves as less than the beautiful creations that we were meant to be, reflecting God Himself. When we are carrying pain and trauma in our hearts and spirits, our opinions of our worth and value can be skewed. Not having godly boundaries is agreeing with the devil that we are worth less than the enormous cost that Jesus paid to set us free. The true nature of who we are in God’s eyes can be distorted—which then causes us to accept more abusive treatment—and the destructive cycle continues. We must break that cycle by believing God’s Word and taking godly action to receive the freedom to be who God created us to be.

“I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.”

2 Corinthians 6:18 (NKJV)

Genuine followers of Jesus Christ are sons and daughters of the Most High God, the Lord Almighty! We must protect our hearts, minds and spirits, realizing that we are precious to our Heavenly Father and that He is saddened when we do not do so. God chose to pay the ultimate price for us to become His sons and daughters when He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer an excruciating death for our salvation. Jesus’ death and resurrection from the dead needs to be treasured for the amazing and incomparable gift it is to us by our valuing ourselves enough to set godly boundaries!

Connected to the practice of not having healthy, godly boundaries is fear, especially the fear of man. The fear of man—and what a person may think or do if we do not make them happy and comply with their requests or demands—is one of the most difficult things for people with broken hearts and spirits to overcome. Many people learn that the fear of man keeps them from suffering additional abuse and trauma. The fear of man becomes stronger with time and brokenhearted/traumatized individuals will often do anything to please people to avoid the consequences of not doing so.

We must understand that being a born-again Christian does not mean that we are supposed to allow repeated abuse. Nowhere did Jesus say that we have to trust someone to love them. He also did not say that we have to continue in relationship with those who continually cause us severe emotional or spiritual pain. Jesus told the woman who was caught in adultery to go and sin no more. If a person is not remorseful and repentant, we should not stay in the relationship unless the Lord leads us to do so, knowing the possibility of future reconciliation. If they honestly repent and/or seek help to stop the behavior, we should cautiously and with the Lord’s direction, support their pursuing freedom from the sin. However, allowing anyone to continue to hurt and abuse us is not how the Lord wants us to live. We must value ourselves as sons and daughters of the Most High God who loves us beyond anything we can imagine. It grieves Him when we don’t set godly boundaries with people.

Not setting godly boundaries in our own lives is a trap that the devil uses repeatedly to cause us emotional pain, especially in the lives of ministers. Sincere Christian ministers are compassionate. That is why they have entered ministry. They desire to help people and this desire drives them at times to neglect the wisdom of the Lord in setting healthy, godly boundaries in their lives.

Although followers of Jesus Christ should be “moved with compassion,” that does not mean they are supposed to allow people to deceive or take advantage of them. Setting godly, healthy boundaries is so important if we are going to run the race and stay in it to the end. People will test our boundaries just like children test the boundaries with their parents. It is not a sin or an ungodly practice to protect ourselves from exhaustion and unreasonable demands from others. Saying no to people is not sin. Of course, saying no applies only to people and not to the Lord. He will never ask us to do anything that He does not give us the strength and guidance to accomplish.

Godly boundaries are good walls. However, painful and traumatic situations happen in our lives that can break down the good walls that the Lord designed to shield us from evil. We tend to develop ungodly, destructive walls as a result. Those detrimental walls can separate us from the love of God and His Son, Jesus. Harmful walls can also prevent us from receiving the healing we need for emotional, mental and/or spiritual pain that exist inside us.

We cannot be truly healed unless we allow the finished work that Jesus did on the cross to penetrate the ungodly walls that we have built around our broken hearts and spirits. Jesus will remove the harmful walls as we receive His healing, and He will replace them with godly ones. Asking Jesus to gently and safely release the pain we are carrying and replace it with His love will help us to develop godly, healthy walls, or boundaries, in our lives.

Accepting help for healing and freedom from past pain and trauma can be a difficult and frightening thing to consider, because it involves facing the truth and being honest with others about what we have endured. This is especially true if the pain and trauma were caused by other professing Christians. However, we must return to the Lord’s truth that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, and ask God for the courage to begin setting godly boundaries and to restore our true identity in Jesus’ name!

Kathy Shelton

Laughter and Healing from Traumatic Events

 

I would have lost heart, unless I had believed
That I would see the goodness of the Lord
In the land of the living.

Wait on the Lord;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the Lord!

 Psalm 27:13-14 (NKJV)

Many people lose heart because they do not believe that they will ever see their situations improve. The emotional and spiritual pain they carry from traumatic events can become unbearable. The enemy can bring discouragement through numerous methods. One of those is when he whispers the lie, “God does not care about you. He would not have allowed this terrible thing to happen if He did.” If we listen to the devil and his lies, our faith will be weakened, our hearts can become more troubled, and deep depression can set in.

Traumatic events always cause a broken heart and spirit. Trauma includes betrayal, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, physical abuse, spiritual abuse, sexual abuse, ritual abuse, rape, the death of a loved one, divorce, domestic violence, accidents and natural disasters. The levels of emotional pain that we can experience from trauma vary greatly. When traumatic situations are more severe, and if they are ongoing, the emotional pain can, and often does, lead to physical illness.

Secondary trauma is trauma that we heard about or saw that happened to someone else, but did not directly involve us. Secondary trauma can have a significant impact on our hearts and spirits even though we did not experience the traumatic event first-hand. Ministers, counselors, doctors, nurses, mental health workers, police officers, firefighters, and people in many other professions that deal with the public can carry extreme, and sometimes debilitating, amounts of emotional pain from secondary trauma.

A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.

Proverbs 15:13 (NKJV)

A merry heart does good, like medicine, But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

These verses make it very clear that a merry heart is good for our physical well-being. However, when we go through emotionally painful and traumatic experiences, it is difficult to have a merry heart. That, in turn, can seriously affect our physical and spiritual health!

If our hearts have been broken, a merry heart is sometimes very difficult to even imagine. However, our broken hearts and spirits can, and often will, result in physical sickness if the emotional and spiritual pain are allowed to continue without relief. That is what is meant by “a broken spirit dries the bones.” Dry bones are not healthy bones.

Not only is our spirit broken by sorrow of the heart, but our physical health is negatively affected as well. If we do not acknowledge the emotional pain and trauma we are carrying and seek help through godly, Bible-based prayer and ministry, the results can be devastating. When we least expect it, the suppressed emotional pain can be triggered by other similar situations, contributing to undesirable and ungodly behavior. This cycle will repeat until a person deals with the inner pain.

Proverbs 17:22 says that a merry heart is good medicine! One way to help the healing of our broken hearts and spirits is to laugh. There is absolutely nothing funny, nor laughable, about suffering emotional and spiritual pain due to a traumatic situation. However, laughing in the face of pain and trauma as we are able to do so is very important. It will help heal our hearts and spirits. If we cannot think of anything to laugh about, watching a funny movie is helpful. Reading a humorous book can also be healing.

Medical and scientific research has found that laughter reduces stress hormones and boosts the immune system. It also lowers blood pressure and reduces physical pain. Once again, the secular world is proving that what the Lord told us in His Word is absolutely true.

Laughter and a merry heart are part of the physical and inner healing process for past and present emotional pain and trauma. They are also excellent maintenance for our bodies and spirits. Genuine followers of Jesus Christ must be intentional and very selective regarding what they read, listen to, and watch in order to maintain a merry heart and peaceful spirit. They must let laughter be a regular part of their daily spiritual exercise.

We cannot allow our circumstances and the people responsible for breaking our hearts to determine our emotional, spiritual and physical health, or lack thereof, by staying in depressed and hopeless states. What Jesus Christ did on the cross for us is more than enough to give us hope and cheer us up. If Jesus Christ is truly someone’s personal Lord and Savior, they have the assurance from our Most High God that they will be rejoicing in heaven with Him and Jesus in the future. So, they must let their hearts be merry about that awesome promise!

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Nehemiah 8:10 (NKJV)

It requires an inner joy of the Lord to laugh when one’s heart and spirit are broken! If the enemy, Satan, can steal our joy, he has won half the battle. The devil loves to lead a Christian into a state of anxiety, fear, or worry. That is one of the ways he can get their focus off the joy of the Lord. If a person’s heart is broken, they are more likely to succumb to Satan’s tactics. One reason it is so important for us to cling to the joy of the Lord in spite of our circumstances is that it gives us strength against the enemy. It also makes it much easier to have a merry heart.

Laughter and having a merry heart are very important parts of the healing process for our broken hearts and crushed spirits.  Laughing has many beneficial effects on us emotionally, spiritually and physically.  It is one of the remedies that the Lord created through which we can receive some healing when we are brokenhearted.  However, we must deliberately participate in that blessing to receive the healing it provides. Having and sharing a godly sense of humor with others is also extremely healing and essential in the inner healing process. Choosing to laugh and rejoice about something on a daily basis is choosing to have a merry heart!

Kathy Shelton

Inner Healing — Healing from the Inside Out

The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord,
Searching all the inner depths of his heart.

Proverbs 20:27 (NKJV)

Inner healing is the healing of a person’s emotional and spiritual wounds. Many of them are wounds that were initially experienced in early childhood. Our spirits register everything about us from the moment of conception on. 

There is a great need for inner healing in this world! So many people are miserable because they cannot bear the emotional and spiritual pain from trauma that they are carrying. That pain can result in addiction, abuse, divorce, domestic violence, murder, abandonment, physical illness, suicide, and many other epidemics in our society. Inner healing from emotional and spiritual pain that we have suffered is not optional if we desire to fulfill the Lord’s destiny for us.

A merry heart does good, like medicine,
But a broken spirit dries the bones.

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,
But who can bear a broken spirit?

Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)

Trauma can be experienced in many forms including molestation, rape, domestic violence, death of a loved one, divorce, accidents, and natural disasters. Abuse, including mental, verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual abuse, produces traumatic effects on our hearts and spirits. Traumatic situations always leave our hearts and spirits broken. Without inner healing for emotional and spiritual pain, we can become bitter, resentful, excessively angry, full of hatred, and physically ill.

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.

Luke 6:45 (NKJV)

The good treasure in our hearts does produce good in our lives, but it does not prevent evil treasure from producing pain and suffering for our family and friends. Those closest to us—the ones we love and who love us—end up being easy targets when our own pain and trauma are triggered. This dynamic alone causes more relationship issues, broken homes, and divorces than most people realize.

Some of the evil treasure of our hearts may be formed as the result of painful and traumatic circumstances. We often suppress the emotional and spiritual pain without even trying as a defense mechanism that we develop to continue to function from day to day. Suppressed emotional and spiritual pain doesn’t just disappear. It can turn into lingering physical pain! In addition, the pain will not stay hidden forever, and it will eventually erupt like a volcano. That is when the abundance of the heart pours out of our mouths, or through our ungodly actions. Denying that emotional and spiritual pain exist within our hearts and spirits will never stop that from happening, and it will never cause the inner healing that we need to be accomplished.

Reproach and insults have broken my heart and I am so sick.
I looked for sympathy, but there was none,
And for comforters, but I found none.

Psalm 69:20 (AMP)

Many people have hurt us because they were carrying emotional and spiritual pain and trauma for which they never received healing. It is often said that hurt people, hurt people. That is true, but no excuse for us to continue to hurt others because we have not pursued inner healing for ourselves.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Psalm 51:10 (NKJV)

A clean heart represents a heart that has received healing for the things it contains that are not godly and glorifying to God. Our spirits cannot be steadfast as long as we are suffering the effects of pain and trauma. Once a person has sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, they must ask God to show them what is in their hearts and spirits that needs to be released so they can truly obey Him in every area of their lives. We need to be living from the heart that Jesus gave us. Unfortunately, most of us are living from a heart that is broken. None of us will ever have a totally clean heart until we pass from this life into eternity in Heaven, but pursuing the cleanest heart possible should be a Christian’s goal in their inner healing journey.

According to Isaiah 53:4 (NKJV), Jesus has borne our griefsand carried our sorrows. Griefs and sorrows include our spiritual and physical sicknesses. Borne and carried mean to take upon oneself, or to carry as a burden.

Bible-based inner healing that relies on the power of Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit is the most effective and long-lasting healing. We do not have to live our lives in a prison of pain and trauma that we carry in our hearts and spirits! Isaiah 61:1 (NKJV) says that Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted—not Buddha, Allah, Mohammed, or any pagan god. Jesus Christ, the Son of Almighty God, came to heal the brokenhearted and set the captives free (Luke 4:16-21, NKJV). True freedom is possible if it is pursued in a godly way.

Asking for help to receive inner healing takes courage and a willingness to admit that there is emotional and spiritual pain and trauma that are contributing to a lack of peace. Talking to a Christian counselor or prayer minister about your need for inner healing may seem frightening, but it will be the most important step you can take to help yourself and those you love. The Lord has provided many Christian ministries that help with inner healing. However, they will not search you out. You must do some research and find the best one for the specific pain and trauma that you have experienced. Our website includes a HELPFUL RESOURCES page on the top menu which lists suggestions for ministries that you may want to contact for help (CLICK HERE).

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted
And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

Inner healing for emotional and spiritual pain is a process like peeling an onion. It is ongoing. Inner healing is not about trying to be healed and whole all at once. Each person needs to allow themselves the time necessary and receive the Lord’s grace to continue one day at a time. Each step taken in the inner healing process will increase one’s love for and closeness to Almighty God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.

Kathy Shelton