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

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

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

The Emotional Pain and Trauma of BETRAYAL

And Judas, who betrayed Him, also knew the place; for Jesus often met there with His disciples.

John 18:2 (NKJV)

Betrayal is the most insidious form of deception and it causes deep emotional pain and trauma. If you have ever been betrayed by someone close to you, you know the extreme pain that betrayal can cause in your heart, mind and spirit. Betrayal can break your heart more quickly and more deeply than any other kind of emotional pain or trauma. It is much worse when the person who betrayed you is a professing Christian.

Jesus suffered betrayal at the hands of one of His disciples, Judas. He sold Jesus out for thirty pieces of silver!

Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver. So from that time he sought opportunity to betray Him.

Matthew 26:14-16 (NKJV)

This betrayal preceded the transition in Jesus’ ministry to his death and resurrection. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were necessary for God’s plan of salvation to be accomplished. The betrayal of Jesus Christ was even prophesied in Psalm 41 and Zechariah 11.

Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.

Psalm 41:9 (NKJV)

Then I said to them, “If it is agreeable to you, give me my wages; and if not, refrain.” So they weighed out for my wages thirty pieces of silver.

Zechariah 11:12 (NKJV)

In spite of the fact that He knew it would happen, I believe that Jesus suffered great emotional pain from that betrayal. In Matthew 26:24, Jesus said, “The Son of Man indeed goes just as it is written of Him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” What a powerful statement! “It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.” The Lord takes betrayal very seriously and, as followers of Jesus Christ, we need to do the same.

That is just one form of betrayal, delivering someone to an enemy. Betrayal can occur in other forms such as revealing confidential information, or breaking a vow or a promise. It is always based in deception, which is lying. Since Satan is described as the father of lies in the Bible, we know that he and his army are at the root of betrayal. This is clearly pointed out in the following verse.

Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.

Luke 22:3-4 (NKJV)

Betrayal can be used by the kingdom of darkness to bring disunity in ministries, families and other relationships. Many families and marriages have been devastated as the result of betrayal. Genuine Christians are often under attack from the kingdom of darkness. When professing Christians betray and attack true believers, they are assisting the devil and his forces.

A lack of integrity within the Body of Christ has led to backstabbing that resembles what occurs with non-Christians. This practice is definitely not loving one another as Jesus instructed His disciples to do. Gossip is extremely damaging and frequently involves broken promises of confidentiality. That betrayal can and has caused unimaginable emotional and spiritual pain for those who were betrayed in this way. Many of those who were betrayed by wolves in sheep’s’ clothing, phony Christians, have left churches as a result. 

All-too-common, overwhelming heartbreak occurs when genuine Christians are serving the Lord Jesus and being productive for God’s kingdom and, at the same time, being attacked and gossiped about by fake “Christians.” It may be done out of jealousy or pride, but it is always sin and causes deep wounds to those who are the targets of the betrayal. The ones doing this may not realize how much pain they are inflicting on Jesus’ sincere followers, but they are still accountable to our Most High God for their sinful behavior.

Broken trust is always a result of betrayal. Trust is not easily restored once someone has been betrayed. Whether it involves disloyalty, unfaithfulness, infidelity, gossip or any other form of betrayal, trust is always broken!

There are many examples in the Bible of situations where people experienced various types of betrayal. Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss (Matthew 26:49). Joseph was betrayed by his brothers and sold into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36). Delilah betrayed Samson after learning the secret to his strength. She had a man shave off Samson’s hair and then turned him over to the Philistines for an enormous amount of money (Judges 16:4-21). Hosea’s wife committed adultery (Hosea 3:1).

Adultery, breaking the marriage vows by having a sexual relationship with another person, is an extremely damaging form of betrayal. It destroys not only the trust between the married couple, but it also defiles the soul of the one committing adultery. Ungodly soul ties are formed between the man and woman committing adultery. This negates the ability of the one committing adultery to be loyal to the godly soul ties with their spouse. The more the adultery is repeated, the more desensitized the people involved become, as with any other sin. The ungodly soul ties become stronger and the result is often another marriage ended. Having an emotional affair is also betrayal of one’s spouse and can be just as devastating as committing adultery for the same reasons.

Viewing pornography is another form of betrayal. It is a serious betrayal of a person’s relationship with the Most High God. It becomes an addiction and an idol in the heart of the sinning person, because it takes the place of the Lord in their mind, heart and spirit. Viewing pornography is also a form of adultery. Jesus said in Matthew 5:28, “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (NKJV). The betrayal by a spouse who views pornography has destroyed innumerable marriages and families.

Healing from the emotional and spiritual pain of betrayal may take a significant amount of time, possibly even years. God does not forgive unrepentant sinners and He does not expect His children to do that either. However, forgiving someone who has betrayed you—and has repented due to godly sorrow—can be an incredibly difficult thing to do. It may require that you receive inner healing prayer from a sincere believer to release some of the pain before you are able to forgive the repentant person.

If you allow emotional and spiritual pain to fester inside you, it will turn into bitterness and resentment. In time, it will also affect you physically. Dealing with emotional wounds is for your benefit and well-being. Inner healing—through the love and blood of Jesus Christ—from the pain and trauma caused by betrayal is absolutely necessary if you are going to fulfill your God-given destiny. Thank God that Jesus is able to heal broken hearts and release the emotional and spiritual pain from betrayal!

Kathy Shelton

What did you just say?

Our words carry so much weight, especially in the spiritual realm. The Bible says that death and life are in the power of the tongue. As always, the Bible is absolutely true.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it and indulge it will eat its fruit and bear the consequences of their words.

Proverbs 18:21 (AMP) (portion underlined for emphasis)

We need to be very careful about the words that we allow to come out of our mouths. Word curses are real and they have significant power. People who are serving the kingdom of darkness know this very well. They speak word curses, curses, spells, and incantations, and they see the results of the words that come out of their mouths.

Genuine Christians are not exempt from speaking word curses. They do it all the time. I know numerous followers of Jesus Christ who have unintentionally spoken word curses over themselves or others. Destructive and unwanted situations can come upon us based on things that we have said about ourselves. We are responsible and accountable to the Most High God for what we do and every word we speak.

There is a difference between speaking a word curse and speaking the truth—saying something that is factual. An example of a factual statement would be saying, “My father just died.” That is not a word curse. That is a fact. “I just filed for bankruptcy,” is also not a word curse. That is a fact. However, if someone says, “I am telling you right now, you are going to file for bankruptcy within the next five years,” that is a word curse. They are ignoring the power of God in someone’s life when they say those words. People have told others, “You are going to end up _________!” (Fill in the blank with any negative circumstance.) That is another example of a word curse. That does not take the Lord’s power into account and acknowledge that all things are possible with God. We must be very careful what we allow to come out of our mouths!

Many of the women and men to whom I have ministered in personal inner healing sessions, or in group workshops and seminars, have been told as children that they were not good enough. They were told that they were stupid. They were told that they were ugly, too this, or too that. Those were word curses that affected them throughout their lives in many ways. It is a form of brainwashing that is tremendously hurtful to the person receiving those negative words.

Another example of the power of word curses in someone’s life is when a person is told that they are not smart enough to do whatever they think they would like to do. If they are told that by people who have significant authority and influence in their life, they will often just give up pursuing the dream they once had. Word curses can change the course of a person’s life!

Word curses can also be spoken in anger to us or by us to others. Words said in anger can be very damaging. The effects of those words are long-lasting and hurtful to our hearts and spirits.

One woman was told by several family members that if she divorced her husband, she would go to hell. All the people involved were professing Christians. Yet, they told this woman—who was being abused physically, emotionally, mentally, verbally, and sexually by her husband—that if she divorced her husband, she would go to hell. Their words could have kept her in bondage in that horrific marriage. She had two small children who were also being impacted by the ungodly actions of their father. That woman eventually divorced her husband. I don’t believe for one second that she is on her way to hell because she left her husband and his abuse. That does not line up with what the Bible teaches about God’s love for His children!

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting comfort and encouragement and the good [well-founded] hope [of salvation] by His grace, comfort and encourage and strengthen your hearts [keeping them steadfast and on course] in every good work and word.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (AMP)

Christians need to diligently watch their words! So many people have used Scripture from the Bible, taken out of context, to speak word curses over others. That does not honor our Most High God, our loving heavenly Father. He says that He wants the best for us—that He has a future and a hope for us. He had a future and a hope for that young woman and her two children that did not include continuing to be subjected to that horrible abuse.

For I know the plans and thoughts that I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘plans for peace and well-being and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11 (AMP)

Word curses from any source, including curses and all the evil words that people who are serving the devil and the kingdom of darkness speak, can have a huge impact on our lives. However, we can break word curses because of the power of the blood of Jesus Christ! What Jesus Christ did on the cross was more powerful than any word curse, spell, or curse that can possibly be spoken over us by Christians or non-Christians. Jesus’ blood provided the means for us to be set free from those curses. Jesus’ resurrection provided the power to break word curses. We have to believe it is possible and we have to pursue freedom. We also have to be walking with the Lord in a way that is free of known sin in our life. We cannot be straddling the fence. We cannot have one foot in the kingdom of God and one foot in the kingdom of darkness and expect to have the authority we need to break word curses that have been spoken over us.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

1 John 1:6-7 (AMP)

We must be fully and totally sold out to the Most High God, the Creator of heaven and earth. Then we can apply the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, over us to cleanse ourselves from those curses. The most important part of that process is that we have fully given our hearts, minds, and spirits to our Most High God. We must have submitted ourselves to the Lord Jesus Christ and sincerely asked Him to be our personal Lord and Savior, not just our Savior, but our Lord and Savior. Repentance is crucial. Stopping ungodly habits and known sin is vital for us to be able to break word curses in Jesus’ name.

So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin];

Matthew 3:8 (AMP)

Following the Lord’s guidance and obeying Him are essential for freedom from oppression caused by word curses. We cannot expect to have victory over the word curses that have been spoken to us, by us, or over us if we are not walking with the Lord to the best of our ability. It is not a game. Satan is very serious about wanting to destroy as many people as he can on this planet. He is doing a really good job. The devil is very disappointed when people become Christians. However, the devil doesn’t stop trying to kill, steal and destroy (John 10:10) when someone makes the profession, “I am a Christian. Jesus is my Lord and Savior.” Satan does not end his attacks on us until the day we die. We have to stop giving him the pathway to attack us by using our own words, or by using words spoken over us by others. We have to break those word curses in Jesus’ name once we have genuinely surrendered our lives to the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you need help to receive freedom from word curses you have spoken or from word curses spoken by others, there is help available. Check out our HELPFUL RESOURCES page.

Word curses can play a part in causing our hearts to be broken. God does not want us to continue living with broken hearts! He wants the work that His Son did on the cross when Jesus said, “It is finished,” to be the source of victory in our lives. Take steps toward your victory by pursuing the freedom that you need from word curses. Begin the habit of speaking words of blessing over yourself and others. Be blessed today as you submit your life to Jesus Christ—the One who loves you more than you can imagine.

Kathy Shelton

Thankfulness… One Leper Returned

 

And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, and with a loud voice glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks. And he was a Samaritan.

Luke 17:15-16 (NKJV)

Luke 17, verses 11-19, recounts the story of the ten lepers who were healed by Jesus at the same time. It is a remarkable testimony of the genuine thankfulness of the one leper who returned to thank Jesus and give glory to God. However, it is also a very sad statement that the other nine lepers did not return once they realized that they had been healed.

The one extremely grateful man glorified God with a loud voice! He wanted everyone to know that Jesus healed him and how thankful he was to God. He did not just continue on his way as the other nine did, accepting the miraculous gift of cleansing, but failing to go back and thank the One who had mercy on them.

Besides returning to thank Jesus, this one leper also showed his great thankfulness by falling down on his face at Jesus’ feet. He did not just glorify God verbally, but he demonstrated his immense gratitude with his physical actions as well. He humbled himself, knowing that only God could have done such an incredible healing. His physical suffering from the horrible effects of leprosy was over. The terrible social stigma of being a leper was also ended. The emotional pain and trauma connected to that would no longer continue. He was overwhelmed with thankfulness!

Although being healed of leprosy was a miraculous example of healing, the most important healing anyone can receive is the healing of their heart and spirit through a sincere conversion to becoming a follower of Jesus Christ by asking Him to be their personal Lord and Savior! As followers of Jesus, we should also be overwhelmed with thankfulness regardless of what might be happening in our lives. Our hearts and spirits should reflect the amazing gift we have been given of being forgiven for our sins and welcomed into God’s family. We are children of the King of Glory! We are sons and daughters of the Most High God! The undeserved gift of salvation is more than enough for us to be forever grateful to the Lord.

We must show our thankfulness and love for Jesus by obeying God’s Word and allowing the Holy Spirit to convict us when we fall short of living the godly life that the Lord desires for us. When that happens, we must ask God to forgive us in Jesus’ name, and repent by changing our attitudes and behavior. Repeating the same sin over and over does not indicate that we are truly thankful for Jesus’ incredible sacrifice. Only genuine repentance— having a change of heart and following the Lord’s instructions—demonstrates how much we love Jesus and how grateful we are for what He has done for us. 

Too many people, including a large number of Christians, take everything for granted and have an attitude of entitlement. They act like they deserve blessings from God—like the Creator of the Universe owes them something. If we do not surrender our lives to the Lord in humility and have a sincere, personal relationship with Jesus, what we deserve is punishment for our sins. That includes spending an eternity after physical death in Hell—separated from Almighty God forever. None of us deserve any blessings without living a life of obedience and thankfulness to our Most High God. However, thanks to our merciful and loving, heavenly Father, He does bless us if we accept His Son, Jesus, and live according to God’s Word. That includes being thankful to the One who sent His Son to die for us and to heal our broken hearts and spirits.

An attitude of entitlement is an ungrateful attitude. It is also a sign that people do not really understand Who provides for them. How could the nine lepers not return and thank Jesus? The Scripture says that the one who returned was a Samaritan. The Samaritans and Jews normally despised each other. Jesus was a Jew, but this Samaritan man did not care about that fact. That one leper was exceptionally grateful and honored Jesus!

Jesus Christ, God’s Son, was a wonderful example of giving thanks to God. The Bible contains several instances where Jesus gave thanks, including the following one in Matthew 15.

And He took the seven loaves and the fish and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitude.

Matthew 15:36 (NKJV)

Paul exhorted believers to give thanks as well. In 1 Thessalonians 5:18, he urged followers of Jesus to give thanks in every situation no matter what the circumstances. We need to be thankful in every situation, not necessarily for every situation. Paul said that we should be thankful and continually give thanks to God for this is “the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” The will of God for His children is that we are thankful and continually give thanks to Him! If we are not actively being thankful to God, then we are disobeying God’s Word. Disobedience to God’s will is sin and causes distance in our relationships with the Lord. It also hinders the healing of our hearts and spirits. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 must be put into practice in our lives!

Rejoice always and delight in your faith; be unceasing and persistent in prayer; in every situation [no matter what the circumstances] be thankful and continually give thanks to God; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (Amplified Bible)

Expressing and showing the Lord our thankfulness is an essential part of the inner healing process for emotional pain and trauma. We must verbalize our gratefulness to the Lord and share our testimonies of what He has done for us. There is no substitute for being thankful. It blesses the Lord when we thank Him and we bless others when we tell them how He has set us free. The more we do that, the more freedom we will receive. Our broken hearts will continue to be healed as we deliberately and daily thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit for every blessing in our lives, especially the priceless gift of being able to spend eternity in Heaven with the Lord.  

Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever.

Psalm 118:1 (NKJV)

 

Kathy Shelton

 

 

One More Time—Falling and Getting Back Up

Do you feel like a failure? Are you brokenhearted? Have you struggled with the same behaviors or addiction for years without victory? Have you felt like giving up? Don’t! It takes courage to get back up when we fall. Be courageous and the Lord will strengthen your heart.

Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart,
All you who hope in the Lord.

Psalm 31:24 (NKJV)

If you have sincerely asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Savior, then you can hope in the Lord. We all occasionally miss the mark of perfectly following and obeying the Lord. However, practicing known sin on a regular or daily basis is not missing the mark. That is rebellion and willful disobedience to God.

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

1 John 1:6-9 (NKJV)

Our faithful God will forgive a repentant person who is genuinely sorry for their sins and makes the choice to change their behavior. God is ready to forgive.

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

Psalm 86:5 (NKJV)

Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are good! However, no person is good all the time—no one. Human beings have all sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Falling short of the glory of God does not make us hopeless cases. It means that we are human.

Just because you have failed once, twice or even hundreds of times, that does not mean that you cannot succeed. A friend of mine once told me that a high-ranking officer in the military shared with him that he would rather have someone under his command who had fallen and gotten back up than someone who had never fallen at all. He knew that the one who had fallen and gotten back up would not easily succumb to defeat. The person who has failed at receiving healing from past pain and trauma, but continues to pursue their freedom is very likely to eventually be victorious. Do not lose heart!

And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.

Galatians 6:9 (NKJV)

The enemy of our souls, Satan, encourages genuine Christians to feel defeated and discouraged. If we allow him to accomplish that in our lives, he has won the battle. However, he does not win the war! The Bible makes it clear that Satan and his forces will be completely defeated in the end. We must hold on to that truth as we fight the good fight of faith.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 

1 Timothy 6:12 (NKJV)

Regardless of what you are facing today, do not give in to the temptation to give up! Yes, there are horrible storms that come into our lives. Those situations can cause us a lot of emotional, spiritual and/or physical pain, and trauma, but our victory is found in overcoming through the Lord Jesus Christ.

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  As it is written:

“For Your sake we are killed all day long;
We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:31-39 (NKJV)

We are more than conquerors through Jesus Christ!

Do not give up! If you have fallen again, get back up one more time and fight for your victory. You will succeed with the Lord Jesus Christ by your side. Take His hand and let Him lead you into freedom. He loves you and wants that for you more than you can imagine. I have witnessed Jesus Christ set hundreds of people free from past pain and trauma. He can do the same for you!

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13 (NKJV)

For suggestions regarding how to receive help, check out our HELPFUL RESOURCES page. Your freedom from sin, addiction, and past pain and trauma is worth fighting for. Be filled with hope today!

Kathy Shelton

No More Games!

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone wishes to follow Me [as My disciple], he must deny himself [set aside selfish interests], and take up his cross [expressing a willingness to endure whatever may come] and follow Me [believing in Me, conforming to My example in living and, if need be, suffering or perhaps dying because of faith in Me].”

 Matthew 16:24 (AMP)

Are you a genuine Christian, or just playing games?
Do you still have one foot in the world?
Are you in rebellion to God and His Word in some areas of your life?
Are you obeying our Most High God at all costs?

This is the message [of God’s promised revelation] which we have heard from Him and now announce to you, that God is Light [He is holy, His message is truthful, He is perfect in righteousness], and in Him there is no darkness at all [no sin, no wickedness, no imperfection]. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness [of sin], we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we [really] walk in the Light [that is, live each and every day in conformity with the precepts of God], as He Himself is in the Light, we have [true, unbroken] fellowship with one another [He with us, and we with Him], and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin [by erasing the stain of sin, keeping us cleansed from sin in all its forms and manifestations].

1 John 1:5-7 (AMP)

Sincere Christians do not continue to live according to their own wills and ignore God’s commandments and directions. They do not continue to intentionally live worldly lives. True Christians do not walk in darkness—they walk in God’s light.

No soldier in active service gets entangled in the [ordinary business] affairs of civilian life; [he avoids them] so that he may please the one who enlisted him to serve.

2 Timothy 2:4 (AMP)

Spiritual warfare is real. Our enemy, Satan, and his evil forces will fight us for the rest of our earthly lives once we make a genuine profession of faith in Jesus Christ, ask God to forgive our sins in Jesus’ name, and repent by changing our behavior to line up with the Bible. We must know which side we are on in this unending warfare. If we are children of God, we must be on the side of His kingdom and stay there. We cannot be victorious in spiritual battles if we are constantly switching back and forth between God’s kingdom and the kingdom of darkness! 

 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this [present] darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) places.  

Ephesians 6:12 (AMP)

Everything we do either pleases and honors Almighty God, or it pleases and honors the devil. Our actions must match our words. Our testimonies of being followers of Jesus must be demonstrated by our obedience to God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit.

“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not practice what I tell you? Everyone who comes to Me and listens to My words and obeys them, I will show you whom he is like: he is like a [far-sighted, practical, and sensible] man building a house, who dug deep and laid a foundation on the rock; and when a flood occurred, the torrent burst against that house and yet could not shake it, because it had been securely built and founded on the rock.”

Luke 6:46-48 (AMP)

We will be judged by our Most High God based on the sincerity of our commitments to Him. He knows our hearts and every thought we entertain. God knows the motives for our actions and whether or not we are just pretending to be Christians, but in reality are wolves in sheep’s clothing. Our Holy and Just God will not welcome phonies into His kingdom to spend eternity with Him in Heaven.

All the nations will be gathered before Him [for judgment]; and He will separate them from one another, as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right [the place of honor], and the goats on His left [the place of rejection]. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father [you favored of God, appointed to eternal salvation], inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’

 “Then He will say to those on His left, ‘Leave Me, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels (demons);’

“Then these [unbelieving people] will go away into eternal (unending) punishment, but those who are righteous and in right standing with God [will go, by His remarkable grace] into eternal (unending) life.”

Matthew 25:32-34; 41; 46 (AMP)

We cannot afford to be Christians in name only, nor should we ever desire to live a life that deceives others. That way of life leads straight to Hell. Jesus made this very clear in the following verses. 

 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day [when I judge them], ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, and driven out demons in Your name, and done many miracles in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them publicly, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me [you are banished from My presence], you who act wickedly [disregarding My commands].’

Matthew 7:21-23 (AMP)

If we say that we believe in God—and that Jesus Christ is God’s Son—and we have consecrated our lives to the Lord, we must act like it. Even the demons believe in God, and Satan witnessed the birth, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The devil knows the truth about Jesus, but he is still the most evil being around. He inspires people to do wicked things. However, every human being has a free will and can choose to do good or evil. Genuine Christians are not perfect, but they do their best to live according to God’s will and not their own. 

But someone may say, “You [claim to] have faith and I have [good] works; show me your [alleged] faith without the works [if you can], and I will show you my faith by my works [that is, by what I do].” You believe that God is one; you do well [to believe that]. The demons also believe [that], and shudder and bristle [in awe-filled terror—they have seen His wrath]!

James 2:18-19 (AMP)

A person becomes a genuine Christian and part of God’s kingdom when the Holy Spirit draws them, convicts them of their sin and shows them their need for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. We either dedicate our lives to our Most High God, or we don’t. There is no middle ground. True conversions to becoming a child of God and following His Son, Jesus Christ, happen one time. Genuine believers will never need to “rededicate” their lives to the Lord, because they did that once and for all time at some point, and they never looked back. 

Jesus answered, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot [ever] enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh [the physical is merely physical], and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be surprised that I have told you, ‘You must be born again [reborn from above—spiritually transformed, renewed, sanctified].’ The wind blows where it wishes and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it is coming from and where it is going; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8 (AMP)

Once a sincere confession of faith and acceptance of Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior occurs, there is no turning back. From that point on, our whole perspective and focus changes to line up with God’s Word and His will. People who respond to altar calls, or invitations to accept Jesus, over and over have never before sincerely become born-again Christians. During difficult and frightening times, people may turn to God, but once the crisis is over, they often return to their wicked, worldly ways. Jesus taught about that in Matthew 13:18-23. Steadfast faith only happens if someone is truly born again.

 “Listen then to the [meaning of the] parable of the sower: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom [regarding salvation] and does not understand and grasp it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is the one on whom seed was sown beside the road. The one on whom seed was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and at once welcomes it with joy; yet he has no [substantial] root in himself, but is only temporary, and when pressure or persecution comes because of the word, immediately he stumbles and falls away [abandoning the One who is the source of salvation]. And the one on whom seed was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the worries and distractions of the world and the deceitfulness [the superficial pleasures and delight] of riches choke the word, and it yields no fruit. And the one on whom seed was sown on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands and grasps it; he indeed bears fruit and yields, some a hundred times [as much as was sown], some sixty [times as much], and some thirty.”

Matthew 13:18-23 (AMP)

It is time for pseudo Christians, wolves in sheep’s clothing, to be revealed for who they really are and, if at all possible, for genuine followers of Jesus to separate from those people who are just playing games. The sin in the lives of pseudo Christians will have a negative effect on God’s children if they allow those wolves in sheep’s clothing to influence their hearts and spirits—knowingly or unknowingly. Paul warned the Galatians about this peril in the following Scriptures.

You were running [the race] well; who has interfered and prevented you from obeying the truth? This [deceptive] persuasion is not from Him who called you [to freedom in Christ]. A little leaven [a slight inclination to error, or a few false teachers] leavens the whole batch [it perverts the concept of faith and misleads the church].

Galatians 5:7-9 (AMP)

Only godly sorrow for sin will result in a true born-again experience in someone’s life. There is no fake it until you make it in God’s kingdom. We are either sold out for the Lord, or we are on our way to Hell.   

For [godly] sorrow that is in accord with the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but worldly sorrow [the hopeless sorrow of those who do not believe] produces death.

2 Corinthians 7:10 (AMP)

Living for—and obeying—our Most High God in every area of our lives is the only way to truly honor Him. Asking Him for forgiveness when we miss that goal and sincerely repenting by intentionally changing our behavior to be God-honoring will be a natural response for any genuine, born-again Christian. Only genuine, born-again Christians can receive the healing and freedom offered by our Most High God through His Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted and to proclaim liberty to the captives (Luke 4:18, NKJV), but we must be sincerely following Jesus and walking in God’s light to receive the peace and joy produced by those incredible gifts!

Kathy Shelton

 

Be angry and do not sin.

 

Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still.

Psalm 4:4 (New King James Version)

You can be angry, but do not sin! Think about this as you lie in bed, and calm down.

Psalm 4:4 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Be angry, and do not sin: do not let the sun go down on your wrath,

Ephesians 4:26 (New King James Version)

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 (Complete Jewish Bible)

Okay. So, the Bible tells us that we can be angry, but not to let it escalate into sin. That is what it says! It does not say do not be angry, period, as so many people have taught or preached. I have heard many testimonies from people who were told to repent for their anger that had resulted from an emotionally painful or traumatic situation. That is ridiculous!

Our Most High God created us with emotions. One of those emotions is anger. There are several types of anger that people experience. Anger can be righteous anger, meaning that it is justified and godly, resulting from something unjust and hurtful that happened to us or someone else. God’s anger is reported in many places in the Bible, and it resulted from the sin and disobedience of human beings. However, God’s anger is never sin. He is holy and righteous. His anger is always justified and appropriate regarding wickedness and evil.

 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)

Jesus was extremely angry when He made a whip of cords and drove the money changers out of the temple. 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 is how Jesus described what the money changers and sellers had turned it into. 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! 

Most of us in the United States felt righteous anger after 9/11. That is not sin. That is a result of a horrific act that was perpetrated against our country and thousands of innocent people. As I have ministered to survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse, I have seen incredible levels of righteous anger attached to the emotional, spiritual and physical pain and trauma that they had been carrying for decades. To tell them to repent for their anger would be further abuse! The same is true for survivors of sexual abuse and molestation. See the article It is not who you are! dated February 14, 2020, in which I described a woman in her seventies who had over-the-top levels of anger that were surfacing as a result of childhood sexual abuse. We should never tell others to repent for righteous anger!

Of course, there are times when our expression of anger is sin. That occurs when we allow our emotions to spiral out of control past the point of righteous anger. That is sin. In that case, when we step, or leap, over that line, we do need to ask God and anyone at whom we released the anger to forgive us.

There can also be demonic spirits of anger that are attached to our own sinful anger, or to the pain and trauma that we have suffered. During ministry sessions with wounded individuals, I have observed that righteous anger, as well as demonic spirits of anger, can be attached to pain and trauma that has been suppressed in someone’s heart or spirit. No amount of repenting will free a person from that anger. Only after the pain and trauma are released will the anger be released as well. Demonic spirits must usually be dealt with to rid a person of them once that person has asked for forgiveness for sin, or received healing from pain and trauma. When that happens, the demonic spirits will leave. However, I have also observed a great amount of spontaneous deliverance from spirits of anger during ministry sessions when people are healed and the pain and trauma are released. Praise the Lord!

One of the reasons, I believe, that typical deliverance methods used by many people in the Church are only temporarily helpful is because the demonic spirits returned and reattached to the pain and trauma to which they were originally attached. Unless it too has been healed and released, there cannot be true freedom. Lasting healing can only be received through the blood of Jesus Christ and the healing balm of the Holy Spirit.

Having experienced emotionally, physically, or spiritually painful and traumatic events should never be an excuse to continue acting out in anger! Repeated episodes of unexplained anger should be a signal to us that we need to get help. People often say, “I am this way because of what I have gone through in my life,” but that is a cop-out. Yes, the pain and trauma from the things that we experienced may very well be the root of the anger that keeps coming up. However, it does not need to continue! There is help available to receive Biblical inner healing and freedom.

Jesus said,

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

Luke 4:18 (NKJV)

All anger is not sin, but some of it can be released by dealing with suppressed emotional pain and trauma. Bottled-up emotional pain and trauma—in addition to anger attached to them—can lead to years of physical illness and pain as well. However, there is hope through Jesus Christ. We can be released from the prison of experiencing unrighteous anger! Jesus came to set the captives free and to heal the brokenhearted. 

God does not want anyone to remain a prisoner of pain and trauma from their past! He has provided help through His Son, Jesus Christ, but we must do our part to pursue healing and freedom. The first step is to sincerely ask Jesus Christ to be our personal Lord and Savior. Asking Almighty God to forgive our sins and then repenting by changing our behavior to line up with God’s Word and obey Him is crucial in the inner healing process.

Kathy Shelton