“Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The disciples had just asked Jesus to teach them to pray. They must have been thunderstruck when he said those words. Jesus told them to ask the Father to forgive them in the same way that they forgive others who trespass against us.
You might very well say, “But wait, you mean my being forgiven hinges upon whether I have forgiven people who have hurt me?”
Forgiving those who have hurt us is one of the most difficult acts we humans need to learn. Being able to forgive begins to happen as a by-product of an ongoing healing process. That process includes being able to let go of feelings – whatever they are – feelings of hurt, resentment and hatred, to bitterness, anger, and the desire for revenge, to shame and the determination not to be vulnerable anymore.
Forgiveness is difficult. To be able to forgive does involve a stage of healing,...
“Come, follow me.” Jesus gazed intently at those who became his disciples, and said those simple words: “Come, follow me.” There was something in his demeanor, in the way he spoke, that caused Andrew and Peter, James and John, and all the rest to immediately drop what they were doing, in order to follow this unusual man who had suddenly appeared in their lives.
Jesus gazes intently at those in every generation who become his disciples. He gazes intently at you and at me. Sometimes we follow him instantly. Sometimes it seems we have to struggle to let go of whatever it is, that would keep us from following him – including the struggle of traumatic abuse in our church. But we are still drawn to those words. “Come, follow me.” We will find our healing when we follow Him even – or maybe especially when we are tempted to believe that our pain is more powerful than the Presence of the...
Last week I explained how I came up with these three phrases:
If you didn't read last week's blog, I invite you to do so now.
Each one of those phrases represents a part of the healing process from having been spiritually abused. There comes a time when the pain and suffering have had their say in “rendering” us. We realize that we can’t carry it any longer. We’ve had it. And so we sur-render to our Maker.
The Latin prefix “sur” means “over” or “above.” We have given over our “rendering” by life's events, to the Lord who loves us unconditionally. And now he can “sur-round” us with his loving comfort and healing presence.
There’s a song I can remember singing a few decades ago called “His banner over me is love.” Exactly. ...
The Palmist said, “You are my hiding place and my shield; I hope in your word.” (Psalm 119:114)
And a contemporary songwriter wrote these words based on that verse, “You are my hiding place. You preserve me from trouble. You always fill my heart with songs of deliverance. Whenever I am afraid I will trust in you. Let the weak say “I am strong in the strength of the Lord.” 1
It is the Lord’s joy to do all of that for us. It is his joy when we know that he is our inner hiding place, and that we can go there any time we need to or want to. It is his joy to fill our hearts with songs of deliverance from whatever tempts us to think that somewhere else is our hiding place. It gives the Lord joy when we trust in him instead of letting our fear take us somewhere else. It is his joy when we allow his strength to make us strong. His strength undergirds us when we are broken-hearted. His...
I’m thinking my way through some steps to healing from spiritual abuse. How do we heal from such atrocities? Is it totally the Lord who swoops in and performs an outright miracle? He certainly could. Perhaps he does in some cases.
But is that how our healing always takes place? Or can we play a part in our healing? What does the process look like? Are there steps to go through? The following list is not meant to be comprehensive. And they’re not in any particular order. It’s simply what I’m thinking about today. See what you think.
How many Scripture verses can you recite from memory? Perhaps you know a verse or two from Psalm 23 – you know – “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…” Or maybe you know the whole Psalm by heart. Or how about this verse from Psalm 27: “The Lord is my light and my salvation, of whom then shall I be afraid?”
When we know Bible verses from memory, they become part of our mental furniture, and they go with us wherever we go. And when we need comfort or strength, there is that verse popping up in our mind.
What about this Scripture for comfort and strength from Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Many Christians have memorized...
Psychologists, sociologists, philosophers, and theologians have researched to the nth degree what it means to be human, and what it means to find fulfillment as a human being. We yearn to find that “something” that would fill the hunger that we experience in our hearts. We believe that when we find that “something” we will be fulfilled and therefore happy.
Part of finding fulfillment lies in discovering the innate talents we were born with, whether that’s a musical or artistic ability, scientific or mathematic ability, athletic ability, or an intuitive mindset that can seem to easily and accurately understand people. Or maybe your innate talent is something I haven’t named.
When we’re considering those kinds of talents, we say that fulfillment consists of developing them so as to be of use in one way or another. Becoming skilled in your particular talent perhaps takes a lot...
When we’ve been abused, our spirit feels crushed, our soul feels shame, and our body’s energy is down. We can even think that somehow the abuse is our fault. The “friend” who is the abuser has behaved in such a way as to move us from perhaps a healthy outlook on life, to the line of thought and swamp of emotions, that not only do we hurt, but also we think that we’re so unworthy that no one could value us anymore. And so we don’t value ourselves either. Spiritual abuse is a real downer.
I’m here to tell you that that’s not the way it’s supposed to be in the Body of Christ. That kind of abuse is utterly abominable, and it’s not your fault. Let me say that again. It’s not your fault! Spiritual abuse is an external event that someone else caused to happen to us. And it is abominable and totally opposite of anything remotely Christ-like!
How is it supposed to be? ...
The purpose of my website reads: “Empowering women who have been spiritually abused by someone in their church, to discover their path through healing toward unleashing their Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ.” Today’s blog is about the phrase “Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ.”
I’ve been collecting ideas for quite some time, for various ways to define that phrase. I hope that working with you all will cause my definition to grow, as I listen to your experiences. But for now, I will offer over several blog entries, my beginning definition for “Ultimate Creative Potential in Christ”:
"Growing throughout life into an ever wiser and stronger maturity, with faith, hope, love, and joy, while being able to express our unique creativity with all the giftedness that the Lord has given us, in order to serve God, Self, and Others in His Kingdom."
Over time, our “ever wiser, stronger...
Life has a way of confronting us with difficult challenges. Suffering spiritual abuse in a church is one of those challenges. When we’re thrown into an intolerable situation, our emotions play havoc with us. The shock of such behavior from the perpetrating Christian that we trusted, can truly devastate us.
In the middle of it all, it’s easy to focus on the emotions that we’re feeling, because they’re front and center. If we’re not careful, we will have let those feelings rule the day. While we do need to pay attention to the anger or sadness or exasperation, or whatever the feelings are, if we only behave in the heat of them, then there’s a day coming when we may well wish we had reacted differently than we did.
Invite Jesus into Your Emotions.
The key to finding the first value of a broken heart is inviting Christ into our emotions from the beginning of the difficulty. A lot of our...