God wants to heal you of all your pain, of all your losses, from all your hurt. But you must let Him. You must allow Him to enter into the deepest recesses of your pain, loss & hurt to where you have buried the source of the pain, loss & hurt. Jesus is waiting for you there. It’s not easy, but you can trust Him to not cringe at what you have to say. Jesus is love and wants you to know that He cares for you and will heal you — but you must let Him. Jesus is found in scripture in both the old and new testaments. The Psalms, Proverbs, Wisdom, Sirach and all of the New Testament are the best healing scriptures. Read them and re-read them. Let them become for you like food to a starving person. Devour them and let them become a part of you! They are the word of God and will make you whole. Our lack of knowledge of the books of the bible hinders us from truly knowing right from wrong and wisdom. David, Moses and the prophets intimately knew God’s way of healing because they knew scripture and prayed and pondered His words. Being brutally honest with oneself to the point of finding the source of pain/sin will seem to open a can of worms. But you must.
There will be times when you will be crying all night long.* This is part of the healing process —– let it out….let it go, because in the end our ultimate goal is to hand it over to Jesus and forget it. The way to hand it over to Jesus after we handed it over to Him in prayer is to go to confession to a Catholic Priest. Usually you can go anonymously or face to face which can be more difficult. Let me tell you about my experience with confession and why I think very highly of confession, both of venial and mortal sins.
The year before I got pregnant with my daughter, I had gotten pregnant with another baby, but his father didn’t want me to have the baby. I had had abortions before because none of the fathers wanted me to have their baby and I was weak. But this baby I felt would be someone special and I fought to try to have him, but in the end had the abortion. Afterwards, I was devastated beyond belief. I couldn’t believe I aborted him, but couldn’t undo my decision. I then made a promise to God that if I ever found myself pregnant again I would have that baby no matter what. And a year later I was pregnant and kept my promise. But was still depressed about the last abortion. Several years later I confessed my abortions, but never “who” I thought I aborted. I never felt forgiven. Until about 10 years later, I finally found the courage to confess to a priest “who” I thought I aborted. I was crying before during and afterwards. When I came home I burst into tears again this time because the priest forgave me even when I finally told. At home I was in tears for thanksgiving and thanked God and all of a sudden I felt Divine Peace descend over me from head to toe and just wrap me in Peace. That is when I knew God really forgave me and the importance of being completely honest in confession even when I was scared to tell my secrets. I needed to be honest in my confession, including what I was thinking, not just my actions. And from that day forward, I not only confess my sinful actions but also my thoughts because God knows everything and truly cares about every part of us, even our thoughts which also need to be in-line with God’s plan for us.
There is no reason to remember hurt and pain, which is difficult. As God forgives and forgets, we must too forgive those who have hurt us and are the source of our problems, including ourselves, then forget it or exchange it for thanksgiving for being forgiven after confession. There is no other way. Through Christ all things are possible.
Humble yourself before God’s healing hand and accept the pain, loss or hurt as either 1) something brought about yourself; 2) something the enemy used to pull us down; or 3) something to learn from. I will address each one individually.
- When we see things as self-inflicted, we are not saying we did “it” (whatever “it” is) purposefully. We are saying it was brought about because of circumstances we let occur, for example getting too drunk and something happening, or hooking up with the wrong set of friends, or just making a bad decision. In this instance, we should humbly accept responsibility – however much pain it causes – give it over into God’s hands through prayer and confession. Accept our frailty as human and forgive ourselves and anyone else involved. Meditate on a healing scripture passages and then over time push the memory out of your mind and exchange it to recall the compassion of the priest who on behalf of God forgave you. Ask God to “cleanse your conscience and memory with the blood of Christ’s passion.” Offer up all the pain you are feeling through Mary to Jesus in reparation of your sins and for all the times you have offended God and for your continued conversion and healing. Learn to offer everything up in reparation of your sins, for continual conversion and for healing. Self-inflicted pains are the hardest to overcome sometimes because who wants to believe we actually caused something terrible to happen to ourselves.
- When the enemy – Satan – tries to hurt us we can sometimes feel that it is actually God punishing us —– not so. When we say the Nicene Creed we recite the words “…we believe in what is seen and unseen…” most people say these words with their lips but not truly with their hearts. Or to believe there is only good/love and not evil/hatred. From the very beginning, Satan hated man and woman with a passion because he was privileged to know that the son of man was placed above the angels and he could not accept God’s plan. In his pride, Satan turned against God and thought to fight against God. God cast Satan and the rebellious angels out of heaven and they lost their beauty, light and peace and became demons full of anger, hatred and all that was not of God. So how do we fight against that which is unseen? By coming closer to God, through reading scripture, personal prayer and spiritual deliverance payers like those from Neal Lozano and Robert Abel, and those found at the back of the book. You must not take it personally! Satan is after everyone and you are no exception. Know that the God in you — the Holy Trinity — is greater than any evil. When these evil forces use other people to inflict hardship, we must remember Christ’s words from the Cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” We must live the teachings of the Gospel like “turning the other cheek” and “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” and “be merciful as I am merciful.” We are also called to stand up for God’s laws too, when necessary. It is hard…..but doable! Thank God we have examples of those who have gone before us and have done great things because of the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Focus from our pain will eventually turn away from ourselves and more onto God’s love and others. We should not be the center of our own attention. If we continue to talk about events that have happened 5 – 10 – 15 – 20+ years ago as lost opportunities or those we want back……that is the place to start looking deeply into why we are still dwelling on them. Give them to God and go to confession if we need to and forget them. We can never get them back nor should we want to because God has other plans for you which are different and better. Like the old adage states, when one door closes, another will open. But we must shut the door first and look for the open door.
- We are sometimes placed into situations to learn. (Even though we should learn from every situation.) These are sent our way to learn the virtues; Chastity, Charity, Diligence, Patience, Kindness, Humility and Temperance. We should be humble enough and wise enough to know that God writes straight with crooked lines and that although we cannot see the big picture, we should be wise enough to trust God’s plan and that this (whatever ‘this’ is) is for my own good. Accept it because He has something better planned for you.
If we look at the “Our Father” prayer, in the bible it is mentioned twice; once in Luke 11:4 and the other in Matthew 6:13. One passage says “….deliver us from evil…” the other says “….deliver us from this test….” Is that right? Can God test us? Is that fair? Yes, yes and yes! God does test our faith. Right from the time of Abraham’s walk of faith, God tested him through his only son — unbeknownst to him. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. Abraham knew that if Isaac died, that the promise God made could not be fulfilled through him. However, Abraham also had a healthy fear, reverence and awe of God and planned to do as God asked. Abraham in the recesses of his heart also knew God to be merciful, compassionate and loving. On the way up the mountain Isaac ask his father where the offering was. Abraham in response said, “God will provide the offering…” This response from Abraham served many purposes. 1) Trusting that Isaac was to be sacrificed and that God in fact did provide Abraham and Sarah with an amazing son and wanted him back and could raise someone from the dead; 2) that most likely in silent prayer, Abraham asked God for an offering to be provided in replacement of his son; and 3) in choosing to trust God ~~ no matter what the decision God would make ~~ God in turn provided a ram stuck in a bush as the offering and the angel of the Lord stopped Abraham from killing his son.
Why does God test us? God needs to know we are serious about our faith. And I mean serious. We cannot straddle the fence and pretend to be good and faithful servants. We cannot be 90 % good. We need, and God requires, 100% of our commitment to Him. We must walk the walk, not just talk about it. Don’t give up if you are not there yet. Ask God in prayer to fill the rest of you with his grace. Ask for His will to be done, not yours.
Heaven, our ultimate goal, is such a beautiful gift that God offered His only Son’s life and death as a means to teach us how much we should desire it and strive every day to transform our lives to move closer and closer in imitation of Christ. To be His love and compassion, His zeal for others, His zeal for the Father, His way of prayer, His example of how to live a Christian life to the fullest! Wow, what a radical concept. You may be wondering if God moves today in our world. Yes, He does. God is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is I Am. How do we know? Because when we are in prayer and feel our hearts expanding with love, compassion and mercy, we are being touch by God — the Holy Spirit. When we see or receive unexpected good fortune or gifts, they are from God. How we give thanks in return of both good and bad, is also important.
We need to learn to see bad circumstances as opportunities to grow, to see them not as punishments, but as being refined and tested,” as gold is tested in fire…” When a sculptor is chiseling away rock to find the image below the surface he must take away what is not needed. Ultimately something of beauty is waiting underneath and with skilled hands, the sculptor smooth the rough edges into a beautiful, unique piece of art. We are all beautiful pieces of art in different stages of refinement. That is why we are all different personalities. Because we are all works in progress, we need to be patient and forgiving to everyone, including ourselves.
God may be using us to show patience and compassion and love to someone who may hate themselves and lash out at others. We may lash out and want to scream at someone who just spilled something on your new white shirt. But don’t. Thank them for the opportunity to let go of pretty and new things. Maybe you have three others in your closet and you really didn’t need this one. Or you need the shirt, but God is giving the other person the opportunity to be generous to you! Wow. If we only open our eyes, we will see God at work. We also should not expect certain outcomes because we may be disappointed. Sometimes situations don’t always turn out so nicely. Your patience and use of the virtues may be God’s way of planting seeds. Yes, planting seeds of faith, hope, love and mercy… or introspection. Maybe the person who spilled something on your shirt gets mad at you for getting in their way! What do you do? Be patient, loving and kind anyway. One seed, or three seeds will be planted and sprout under God’s love and care, may be watered by the next person to turn the other cheek.
My point is that we don’t know what stage of the journey anyone is on nor how many seeds have been planted and how many reached good soil. Are we the planter, the waterer, the pruner or cultivator? Words of love and compassion do not fall on deaf ears as we sometimes think. God is present and is all knowing. He puts people in our path for a reason.
Forgiving yourself and others may seem monumental, but it is not as hard at it may seem. We just need to look at Jesus Christ as our teacher. One of our examples lies in the prayer that Jesus taught us…. the “Our Father;” “…forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us…” Jesus also taught us forgiveness from the cross when after being brutally scourged, slapped, spit upon and crucified, he asks His Father to “… forgive them, for they know not what they do.” How can he do this? How can we do this? Well, if we are brutally honest with ourselves, how many times have we turned away from God and sinned purposefully? Isn’t that a slap in his face or a spit or punch? And yet when we come to Him with humility, truly seeking his mercy through confession with a priest (God’s hands on earth), he will grant it because as Jesus was asked: “How many times do we need to forgive?” Jesus replied, 7 x 70 times; which stands for an infinite amount of times.
The best way of forgiving is by interiorly forgiving. We do not need to write to the person who needs to be forgiven nor do they need to be told. But we do need to forgive them in our heart and mind…..then let go of the pain, hurt and loss. The next time we run into them, smile warmly and be friendly. It will throw them off guard and maybe they in turn will forgive you….if needed…in their heart.
It would benefit you if you write in a journal asking for forgiveness from someone you hurt. It is just for your use. In-turn, if someone has hurt you. Write in your journal from the other person’s point of view asking for your forgiveness. It is will help with your healing. We must remember that healing of pain, losses and hurts is very personal. However, we can be instruments to other’s healing by being true Christians.
As mentioned earlier we can turn the other cheek. What? Did I say let them hurt me again? Yes, but not physical or mental abuse. We are to stop those as soon as possible. The reason we can turn the other cheek is that you do not know what is going on inside them. Are they in great pain themselves and need our compassion instead of our retaliation. Besides, if needed God wants to respond on our behalf as he said …vengeance is mine says the Lord. We do not take revenge on anyone. They could be ill or having family or work problems. We must be empathetic. As Christians, we are Christ’s hands and love and mercy to others…as hard as this may be, we are Christ to others who may not know Him. How do we evangelize? By our actions. As the old adage states: “Actions speak louder than words.” Also, if we choose…because it is a choice…to see others empathetically and to walk in their shoes, we will begin to not take pain inflicted by others personally. It will roll off our backs. What … do I mean this…..YES! And what a freeing sense of purpose you will have; to love your enemy. Wow, who said that? Yes, Jesus! It is not looking down on someone as less of a person, but to see them with all their human frailty, as Jesus sees them too, as your brother or sister in Christ.
As Mother Teresa would say or has said…love until it hurts! I pray that God blesses you on your walk of faith and your journey to wholeness. It may take a while, give yourself time, we are all a work in progress a never-ending progress with God as the master sculptor ever forming us into his likeness…which is love!
* During times of intense letting go, listen to healing music…whatever works…whatever is calming to you is healing.