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

Seasons of Emotional and Spiritual Healing

Jesus Christ can lead us through seasons of healing from past emotional and spiritual pain and trauma if we will let Him. The Lord never forces anyone to do anything. Our Most High God created us with free wills. It is our choice to enter the inner healing process, or to remain in wounded and broken conditions. Jesus was born, died and rose from the dead to set the captives free and to heal the brokenhearted (Isaiah 61:1, NKJV), but we must choose to receive His freedom and inner healing.

The first step to receiving inner healing is to sincerely ask Jesus to be the Lord and Savior of our lives! Only genuine relationships with Jesus Christ, Father God and the Holy Spirit can provide the emotional and spiritual healing that we need. Our obedience to the Lord and His commandments and instructions is the evidence that we are His children. Obeying God is crucial in the healing process.

The Lord rarely releases all past pain and trauma at one time. The emotional and spiritual healing He provides usually occurs during different seasons of our lives. Seasons of healing can last days, weeks, months, or even years.  Just as in the natural realm, there are longer seasons, shorter seasons and more stormy seasons in the process of emotional and spiritual healing. The important thing is that we enter the inner healing season trusting the Lord to lead us through it. We must have the courage to enter or re-enter the healing process whenever He directs us to do so.

 
 
 
   
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)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sometimes the opportunity to enter a season of healing presents itself spontaneously without us doing anything to initiate it. Emotional pain from the past can be, and often is, triggered and comes up as the result of current painful or traumatic situations. When that happens, we need to trust that the Lord knows the perfect time for healing of an area of emotional pain and trauma and follow His guidance to pursue freedom. We should pray as Jeremiah prayed in Jeremiah 17:14 (NKJV), “Heal me, O LORD, and I shall be healed; save me, and I shall be saved, for You are my praise.” However, we also need to realize that the healing of emotional pain and trauma can be a painful process, especially if we have experienced serious emotional trauma over a long period of time.
 
We must enter seasons of healing with this realization that we may experience pain during the process. Just as healing from physical surgery, illnesses, or accidents normally involves pain, healing from emotional and spiritual pain and trauma is a journey that includes good days and some very painful ones. Don’t expect the healing journey to be a piece of cake. However, Jesus promised to be with us always and we can endure the pain of the healing process with Him right by our sides. His incomparable love and peace give us the strength we need to receive inner healing from pain and trauma.
 
If we fell into a cactus plant, and needles were lodged in our bodies, there most certainly would be pain involved in their removal. We are blessed as followers of Jesus that He can apply supernatural anesthesia during the healing process and minimize the pain of the process as He releases the suppressed emotional and spiritual pain and trauma, and heals our hearts and spirits. The healing balm of the Holy Spirit’s presence is the best medicine available for the challenging and ongoing, inner healing process.
 
We must give ourselves time to recover during and between seasons of healing. Our hearts and spirits cannot endure non-stop emotional and spiritual surgery any more than our physical bodies could survive numerous physical surgeries without resting and recovery time between surgeries. Rest is another important aspect of the inner healing process.
 
Also, it is more difficult to receive inner healing from past pain and trauma if we are experiencing current stress and trauma. That hinders the healing process just as an underlying illness can hinder healing and recovery from physical surgery. Therefore, we must do whatever we can to reduce or eliminate ongoing stress and trauma to receive the most effective, godly inner healing possible.
 
The end result of going through seasons of inner healing is worth whatever the journey may require. Healing for emotional and spiritual pain and trauma usually requires more than prayer from a family member or friend. We must be diligent and wise in seeking help from trained, Christian counselors or prayer ministers if necessary. We must also always give God praise and thanks for the freedom and healing He provides every step of the way. Thankfulness increases joy and they are both essential in the healing process.
 
 
 
 
I will praise You, O LORD,
with my whole heart;
I will tell of all Your marvelous works.
 
Psalm 9:1 (NKJV)

 

 
 
Another very important aspect of completing the journey through seasons of healing is waiting with hope. When we see a rose bud that has not yet opened, we wait with hope that it will someday become a beautiful flower. Waiting on the Lord and His perfect timing for the seasons of healing in our lives to be accomplished brings freedom in and of itself. It brings freedom from fear and hopelessness.
 
 
 
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)
 
 
 

 
 
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.
 
Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) 
 
 
 
 
 
My prayer for you is that you will face emotional and spiritual pain and trauma as the Lord leads you into your seasons of healing, and that Jesus will release that pain and trauma so that you can blossom into all He has planned for your life.
 
 
Kathy Shelton
 
 
 

 

Joy to the World… Surviving Holidays and Celebrations

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 should be a blessing to get together with family and/or friends during Easter, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years, birthdays and other times of celebration.  However, these days and seasons—which should be joyful—can be extremely lonely and emotionally painful times for many people.  As a result, and very sadly, the rate of suicide increases during the holidays. 

If you dread the holidays because emotional pain from the past is usually triggered, please know that you are not alone.  This is very common.  However, there is help.  Jesus can release that past pain and trauma!  As Nehemiah 8:10 says, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”  His joy is not dependent on our circumstances or any past emotional pain we have suffered.  His joy is endless and without comparison.  If we are on a downward spiral into the opposite of His joy, we must draw near to our heavenly Father and pray for His strength and joy to overshadow the emotional pain. 

My soul melts away for sorrow; strengthen me according to your word!

Psalm 119:28 (ESV)

When emotional pain or trauma from the past is triggered during the holidays, it can be extremely difficult for those who are unknowingly carrying that pain.  They may not realize that their reaction to Aunt Carol or Uncle Harry is really partially the result of past pain that has been buried and is now coming to the surface.  Reactions to what should be happy situations can appear to be inappropriate and even unreasonable to the traumatized person and others, because they do not understand that suppressed pain and trauma are being triggered.

Why are you in despair, O my soul?
And why are you restless and disturbed within me?
Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall again praise Him,
The help of my [sad] countenance and my God.

Psalm 43:5 (AMP)

An example of emotional pain from the past being triggered after over six decades was described to me by one of my ministry recipients several years ago.  This woman, Betty (not her real name), had been married for over 50 years when she asked her husband to go to the store to buy a jar of pickles for her.  Betty told him the type and brand of pickles that she wanted, but when he returned home, he had a jar of generic pickles that was not even the type that she had requested.

This woman, who was in her seventies, said that she went into a rage!  Thankfully, Betty also had some knowledge about inner emotional wounds and quickly realized that her reaction had very little to do with the pickles.  So, she asked the Lord what was going on with her, and He revealed the root of her emotional outburst.  When Betty was a child, her family was very poor and her mother only bought things that were the least expensive.  If her mother came home with anything that was not the cheapest item, this woman’s father got very angry.  The pain and trauma that surfaced when Betty’s husband came home with the generic brand of pickles had been stuffed for over 60 years!  The end of the story is that Betty received the healing and freedom that she needed through Jesus Christ from this past emotional pain and trauma.  Praise the Lord!

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)

Until inner healing is received, there are several things we can do to minimize experiencing emotional pain during the holidays.  If we know that particular people, or specific situations have caused us emotional pain in the past, we must do whatever we can to limit our contact with them, or completely avoid being exposed to them, if at all possible.   We must set healthy, godly boundaries to protect our hearts and spirits.  Other examples of guarding our hearts also include not watching worldly, seasonal programs on television or on other devices, not listening to certain holiday music, and not going to some parties or events, all of which may bring past emotional pain to the surface.  It is much easier to avoid being triggered than to deal with the emotional pain once it has come to the surface.

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)

Also, focusing on the main reason for the celebration is a must in order to avoid emotional pain and trauma from ruining holidays.  For example, remembering that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior—and not about the gifts, parties and social events—will help immensely.  We cannot get offended and hurt as easily if we keep the main thing, the main thing.  Jesus’ birth allowed for His death and resurrection which provided all people the opportunity to receive forgiveness for their sins and healing for their broken hearts.  Taking our focus off Aunt Carol or Uncle Harry will help prevent the pain and trauma they trigger from coming up in our hearts and spirits.  Everyone with a broken heart must focus, focus, focus on the Healer and not on the people and situations that caused their heart to be broken.  Creating new, joyful memories helps heal broken hearts as well. 

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

Psalm 34:18 (NASB)

It takes determination and laser-like focus on our part to be joyful during the holidays. Returning to a place of peace once emotional pain and trauma have produced depression, great sadness, despair or hopelessness in our hearts and spirits is not easy.  However, it is possible through the love and healing power of a genuine, personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  There is never a better time to sincerely ask Jesus to be our personal Lord and Savior than the present moment.  He wants to heal our broken hearts, but He will never force anyone into a relationship with Him.  We must willingly choose to accept that gift, which will make it possible for emotional and spiritual healing to take place.  Once Jesus becomes the true focus of our lives, we can ask Him to release the pain that has surfaced and replace it with His peace and joy.

“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)

God loves His children, followers of Jesus Christ, very much and wants them to be set free from past pain and trauma.  Luke 4:18 are Jesus’ words, proclaiming that He came to heal the brokenhearted.  My prayer for you is that you will make the choice to accept God’s gift of salvation if you have not already done so, and that you will allow the Lord to direct your steps to receive the inner healing you need.  May God bless you with His peace and joy in your hearts, minds and spirits every day and especially during the holidays when we celebrate God’s amazing love and goodness to us.

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

What did THEY just say?

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 (Amplified Bible)

If you have not already done so, please read the article titled, “What did you just say,” before reading this one (CLICK HERE). That article explains the basics of the power of the tongue and word curses.

Quite often, doctors and other medical professionals unknowingly say things to their patients that are word curses. They do not realize what they are doing. They do it because that is what they’ve been taught. Give the patient a diagnosis. Give the patient a prognosis. A prognosis is simply a prediction of future events based on the diagnosis. However, only God knows the future! Many of those diagnoses and prognoses are taken to heart by patients, and their conditions can worsen rapidly as a result of the word curses spoken over them.

Several people I have known, who were diagnosed with cancer, are examples of this principle. They were told by their doctors that they only had a short time to live. Within weeks, they were dead. They lost all hope as a result of the words spoken to them. Their hearts and spirits were broken.

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

Proverbs 17:22 (NKJV)

In comparison, one Christian lady was diagnosed with brain cancer and told she only had a few months to live. She was a fighter and did not accept that prognosis. She did not accept the word curses spoken over her life. That godly woman survived for several decades defying the doctor’s prognosis.  Her attitude, faith and trust in God truly affected the longevity of her life. Sincerely following Jesus Christ was her passion and He extended her life far beyond what the doctors had predicted. Our attitude can make all the difference.

Doctors have decided that certain diseases and illnesses are incurable. They have told patients that. I was one of them. I was diagnosed in 1990 with a condition called biliary dyskinesia. The symptoms are extreme abdominal pain similar to a gallbladder attack where a gallstone is stuck in the bile duct. However, my gallbladder had been removed years before these attacks began. For over a year after the diagnosis, the doctors did everything they could, including several experimental procedures, but the attacks increased and the pain was excruciating. Eventually, I was told by one doctor that there was no cure and I would have to live with the condition for the rest of my life, taking very strong narcotic medication for the pain.

Many times, medication just masks the symptoms and does not cure the problem or disease. Our Heavenly Father is the Great Physician. He is more than able to cure any disease. Since I was only thirty-seven years old, the thought of living like that for the rest of my life was not something I was willing to accept. That prognosis did not take into account the amazing, miracle-working power of our Most High God who supernaturally healed me of that disease through prayer soon after the doctors gave up. Praise God!

Before I continue, I want to make something very clear. There are definitely times when medical procedures and medications are necessary to assist our bodies in the healing process. However, our Most High God enables them to work to restore our health and ability to function. I am not saying that doctors or medical professionals are wrong when they suggest treatments, but that we must be careful what we allow ourselves to accept as inevitable. The Lord may have a different outcome in His plan.

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.

Isaiah 55:8 (NKJV)

Another group of professionals that often speak word curses over their patients are mental health professionals. They diagnose people as this or that. As they speak the diagnoses over the patients, they may be breaking their hearts and spirits more than they were already broken when they came to them for help. They are putting labels on the patients that make it even harder for them to get well, to be healed, and to be set free. Our Most High God is much bigger than any label that has been assigned to someone. He can heal a person regardless of what diagnosis and prognosis they have been given.

In Mark 5:1-20, the Bible gives the account of the man who was bound with chains because no one could tame him. He was cutting himself with stones. He was literally out of his mind. Today, he would certainly be given a diagnosis by mental health doctors. However, Jesus restored the man to his right mind by casting out unclean spirits. Jesus did not put a label on the man. He did not prescribe drugs for him to take. He compassionately set him free from what was tormenting his mind.  There are many people these days who have been diagnosed as mentally ill—who are suffering from broken heart issues and spiritual oppression. If they could receive the love and healing of Jesus Christ, they may not need the mind-altering medications that have been prescribed for them.

After they received the inner healing they needed for past emotional pain and trauma, some ladies to whom I ministered no longer required medication for depression. One of those ladies had been given an antidepressant drug a few months before she came to me for prayer. After Jesus ministered to her broken heart during several prayer sessions, she decided on her own to tell her doctor that she did not think she needed the medication any longer. He then helped her get weaned off the medication. (I have never told anyone to stop taking medication, but to talk to their doctor about medical decisions!) After that lady received inner healing prayer and had completely discontinued the antidepressant, she still experienced painful and traumatic life circumstances, but she did not feel the need for medication. She said that she was able to function much better overall and deal with the trials with Jesus’ help.  

People working in the criminal justice system are another example of professionals who may speak word curses over individuals. In the prisons, people with a history of criminal activity may be suffering from mental illness and severely broken hearts, but they may be told that they will always be criminals and never be able to stay out of prison. They may even hear that from their own family members or be told, “You are no good,” or “You are a bad apple.” Those are powerful word curses. They can make the difference between life and death.

The diagnoses and prognoses that I described above can take away hope. They do not give hope. The devil wants to destroy hope. We must not let him! We must look to our Most High God and His Son, Jesus, for our hope.

“… Christ in you, the hope of glory.”

Colossians 1:27 (NKJV)

The bottom line is this. Do not accept things that are spoken over you by anyone as always being truth and the end of the discussion.  Whether it is a doctor or mental health professional giving you a diagnosis or a prognosis, or a teacher, family member, or others speaking words over you, be careful what you accept as truth. Embrace the Bible. Embrace what the Word of God says about you! Embrace the fact that God loves you more than you can imagine and that He wants the best for His children.

“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.”

Jeremiah 29:11 (NKJV) 

We should give God much more credit than we do! We need to give the enemy, the devil, much less credit. We need to stop agreeing with the devil and the kingdom of darkness by speaking word curses over ourselves and other people.

Genuine Christians need to speak God’s promises out loud on a regular basis in spite of how things look in the natural realm. We must believe God and His Word, pray, and leave the rest in our Heavenly Father’s hands. God’s Word is full of encouraging promises for His children. They include the following verses.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Philippians 4:6-8 (NKJV)

So prepare your minds for action, be completely sober [in spirit—steadfast, self-disciplined, spiritually and morally alert], fix your hope completely on the grace [of God] that is coming to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

1 Peter 1:13 (Amplified Bible)

For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:16 (NKJV)

For as many as are the promises of God, in Christ they are [all answered] “Yes.” So through Him we say our “Amen” to the glory of God.

2 Corinthians 1:20 (Amplified Bible)

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.

1 Peter 2:24 (NKJV)

And we know 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)

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

The Trauma and Heartbreak of Spiritual Abuse

The seriousness of spiritual abuse and its effects cannot be overstated!

Spiritual abuse is the abuse of a person’s spirit. The deception accompanying spiritual abuse often keeps the victim in a state of confusion and disbelief. They may ask themselves, “How can people who are supposed to be helping me grow in the things of God be abusing me?” Unfortunately, spiritual abuse happens more often than one might imagine. The results are ugly and extremely damaging.

Since I began ministering to the brokenhearted, I have prayed with many women who have been spiritually abused. Yes, there are the obvious ritual abuse and Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA) survivors who suffered horrific levels of spiritual abuse. There are also those who have come out of mainstream churches, “Christian” organizations, and non-Christian organizations where there was intense spiritual abuse that caused them substantial amounts of emotional and spiritual pain and trauma. Spiritual abuse can happen in religious organizations, but also in homes, schools and the workplace.

 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

Matthew 20:25-28 (AMP)

Exerting power and control over another person using Scripture or religious beliefs is spiritual abuse. Anytime a person places themselves in authority over another person—in place of the ultimate authority of the Lord Jesus Christ—that is a recipe for spiritual abuse! When someone is told that the person in authority knows better because they “have a better connection to God,” that is a wide-open door to spiritual abuse. Spiritual abuse is evil and it increases if left unchecked.

One of the ladies to whom I ministered in the past told me about an abusive incident, which was one of many, that she experienced with her husband. She had disagreed with him about something that a man in ministry was teaching. She said that her husband grabbed her arm, twisted it behind her back, and repeatedly yelled at her that she needed to repent for disagreeing with the minister. He told her that she needed to ask God to forgive her for having the “horrible” thought that the man in ministry could possibly be wrong. This lady was in tears as she shared the details of this event with me. It was physical, emotional, verbal, and mental abuse, as well as spiritual abuse! This is just one example of spiritual abuse being accompanied by other forms of abuse. It is often the case that emotional, verbal, mental, physical and/or sexual abuse happen together with spiritual abuse. 

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

Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)

The damage that is done to a person’s heart, mind and spirit—to their whole being—as the result of spiritual abuse can be overwhelming. It can be devastating. It can lead to the victim not being able to function normally. Survivors of spiritual abuse often struggle with anger. They experience different levels of anger as a result of the abuse. Most of the time, it is righteous anger and not sin.  The pain and trauma of spiritual abuse can also lead to suicide attempts, or a successful suicide, if the victim becomes hopeless about the possibility of relief from that pain.

 …we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.

2 Corinthians 1:8 (ESV)

People who are spiritually abusive often twist Scripture. They take Bible verses out of context. They manipulate people in ways that are absolutely inspired by the kingdom of darkness. Perpetrators of spiritual abuse also use isolation, secrecy, and fear to control their victims. They count on the victim’s silence about their abuse. All of these things make it very difficult for a victim to break free and receive the healing they desperately need for the emotional and spiritual pain and trauma.

Spiritually abusive people are sometimes deceived themselves into thinking that what they are doing is right. A lot of the perpetrators of spiritual abuse are deceived, and the nature of deception is that the person does not realize that they are deceived. However, that is no excuse and does not forgive their deeply harmful behavior, nor does it release them from accountability. They will answer to God for their actions. On the other hand, many perpetrators of spiritual abuse know exactly what they are doing!

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?
Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.

Jeremiah 13:23 (NKJV)

Leopards cannot change their spots and abusers do not discontinue their abusive behavior, because they are accustomed to practicing evil. The perpetrators of spiritual abuse do not respond to the conviction of the Holy Spirit, nor does their conscience tell them that they have gone over the line. Normally, someone who is spiritually abusive only stops if they are forced to do so by an earthly authority or by the Lord. 

Several of the women to whom I have ministered were survivors of Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA). One of those ladies told me the reason that the abuse finally stopped for her. The high priest was in the process of murdering her when he suddenly and unexplainably died. His neck snapped. The lady told me that she believed angels came to her assistance at the precise time when the perpetrator was going to end her life. I do not believe that the high priest would have stopped otherwise. The Lord came to her rescue!

 Are not all the angels ministering spirits sent out [by God] to serve (accompany, protect) those who will inherit salvation? [Of course they are!]

Hebrews 1:14 (AMP)

People may ask, “Why does God allow people to be spiritually abused? Why doesn’t He stop it?” It is the same reason that He does not stop sin in general in this world. God has given a free will to everyone. We need to stop blaming God for all the horrific things that happen and put the blame where it belongs—on the human beings who make the choice to be abusive and on the kingdom of darkness that inspires those evil choices. Spiritual abuse is one of Satan’s many tools to destroy human hearts, minds and spirits.

The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

John 10:10 (NKJV)

When people sincerely invite Jesus Christ to be their personal Lord and Savior, they are often brokenhearted because they have experienced significant pain and trauma in the past. Many times, what draws them to the Lord Jesus Christ is that He is so loving and forgiving, and it is an opportunity to be accepted in spite of all their past sin, pain, and trauma. However, their woundedness also makes them easy targets for those who are spiritually abusive. Christians, especially new Christians, can be too trusting of other people, which can lead to them being spiritually abused.

Jesus Christ is never spiritually abusive. He never tries to force anyone to do anything against their will. Jesus understands the frailty of human beings. He understands the sin nature of human beings and how it can interfere with our relationship with God. He did not accept or condone sin, but He forgave sin and told people to “go and sin no more.” That is God’s will for us—that we would be forgiven and that we would not repeat the sin in the future. That is called repentance. Abusers rarely repent! Although they may call themselves Christians, they are not truly following Jesus Christ. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 7:15 (NKJV)

If you are currently suffering spiritual abuse or you are a survivor of spiritual abuse, I would highly recommend that you seek help from a trained, Christian prayer minister or counselor who can give you the assistance you need to obtain freedom from the emotional and spiritual pain you are carrying. Seek someone who can help you receive the healing you need from the effects of that abuse. There are suggested resources on the HELPFUL RESOURCES page on this website (CLICK HERE).

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation [that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] for our sins [fulfilling God’s requirement for justice against sin and placating His wrath].

1 John 4:10 (AMP)

God loves you and He wants you to be whole. He wants you to be free. He wants your heart and spirit to be healed. He has a destiny for your life and it is not for you to experience or suffer spiritual abuse and its effects any longer. Please make the decision today to step out and pursue your healing and freedom. It is worth it. You are worth it!

May God bless you! My prayer for you is that you will have the strength to stand up and make today the first day of the rest of your life—free from spiritual abuse.

Kathy Shelton

 

The Importance of Godly Relationships

The Importance of Supportive, Godly Relationships While Going Through and Healing from Trauma

Supportive, godly relationships are critical as we go through and heal from traumatic situations. Traumatic situations include the death of loved ones, serious illnesses, physical abuse, sexual abuse, spiritual abuse, emotional abuse, mental abuse, verbal abuse, rape, domestic violence, being the victim of a crime, divorce, accidents, devastating financial conditions and natural disasters. Those extremely painful circumstances can leave us feeling alone, abandoned, rejected, depressed, hopeless, betrayed and even suicidal at times. Negative and harmful emotional responses are often initiated or exacerbated by the lies of the devil. He always tries to discourage God’s children and lead them into a pit of despair when they are weakened by traumatic situations.

We live in a world full of pain and trauma and there is no way to avoid it. However, our Most High God provided ways for us to not just survive, but to more easily go through and heal from the effects of trauma. We must be diligent in staying connected to God and genuine Christians in order to avoid the traps of the devil that occur if we isolate ourselves due to one-time or ongoing traumatic events.

The eternal God is your refuge,
And underneath are the everlasting arms;

Deuteronomy 33:27 (NKJV)

 

A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows,
Is God in His holy habitation.

Psalm 68:5 (AMP)

The most important relationships that our Father God wants us to turn to when we experience and need healing from traumatic events are our relationships with Him, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. Our Most High God wants to comfort us and lead us on the paths that will help us. He wants to heal our broken hearts and spirits that have been devastated by traumatic situations. However, we must sincerely accept God’s love and His Son, Jesus, as our personal Lord and Savior, to be able to receive His incomparable comfort and healing. 

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

John 14:6 (NKJV)

Jesus also said,

 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 

Matthew 11:28 (NKJV)

Therefore, the first relationships that we should always rely on for comfort and healing are those with Father God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. They are the most important relationships we can ever experience on this journey that we call life. Supportive, godly relationships with other people are also essential for us to continue to be comforted during, and heal after, emotionally traumatic situations. The Lord knows our need for godly counsel, prayer and support, especially when we are weary and vulnerable to the lies of the enemy.

We all need a listening ear and a kind word from a godly person to lift our spirits when we are drained as the result of emotional and spiritual pain. He will surround us with people who love us and care deeply about our pain, but they may be people other than family members. The family was created to provide that kind of comfort and support. However, we do not live in a perfect world and our own family members may be the cause of some of the emotional pain and trauma that we suffer. Feelings of rejection, betrayal and abandonment can become intensely painful when trauma is caused by our loved ones. Loneliness and a feeling of isolation are lessened when we reach out to genuine Christians.

God makes a home for the lonely;
He leads the prisoners into prosperity,
Only the stubborn and rebellious dwell in a parched land.

Psalm 68:6 (AMP)

Traumatic circumstances always break our hearts. People often carry emotional pain for years and decades without even realizing that suppressed pain and trauma are affecting them in significant areas of their lives. We were never meant to go through pain and trauma alone. Isolating ourselves during those circumstances is the worst thing we can do and only adds to the pain. That is why we must receive love and kindness from people who are living according to God’s Word—whom we can trust with our broken hearts—not in place of the Lord, but in addition to Him. 

We must reach out to godly friends, family, healing ministers and others who can provide prayer, encouragement and the love that we need for the healing process to be accomplished. Our Most High God created us to be in close relationship with Him and godly people. Cutting ourselves off from those relationships makes us incredibly susceptible to destructive feelings and to attacks from the devil. Fear of being hurt again can also cause us to be hesitant to reach out to people for help. However, The Lord will show us who can be trusted and through whom He wants us to receive His comfort and healing. We must receive God’s provision of healing for our broken hearts through His Son, Jesus, and the godly relationships with which He blesses us.

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 came to not only save us from our sins, but also to heal our broken hearts! A genuine, personal relationship with Him is essential in receiving comfort and healing during and after times of emotional pain and trauma. Our heavenly Father also blesses us with His love and peace through supportive, godly relationships with people who know how to listen and be compassionate when we are in emotional pain. Keeping emotional pain stuffed inside only makes things worse. We must let go of our pride, reach out to the Lord Jesus and His sincere followers, and allow them to help us.  

 

Kathy Shelton