Are you beginning to surrender to Him and His oh so great love for you?
We are going deep again today… get ready.
In the book Every Womans Battle, Shannon shares a story about a woman who was going through a struggle. The woman shared that she was no longer acting out sexually but was still struggling. She shared how she couldn’t get along with her roommates and how she hated the way she looked in the mirror, how she couldn’t sleep. How she was anxious, stressed, and angry but didn’t know why. She shared how she had been sick for months with one thing or another but the doctors could not find anything wrong… and now she was having suicidal thoughts again.
Shannon spoke with her and asked her to dig deep to see if there was anyone she was harboring unforgiveness toward but the woman was sure she had forgiven everyone who had ever hurt her. Then Shannon said it hit her. She asked the woman if she had ever forgiven herself… to which the woman burst into tears and cried “No, and I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to.”
Regardless of its source, we must surrender the pain from our past in order to stand strong in the battle for sexual and emotional integrity. ~ Shannon Ethridge
That surrender also includes the pain that comes from realizing our own choices have hurt us and no one else… Are you going through what this young woman was going through? Are you walking in self-unforgiveness?
These are some facts that Shannon shares concerning unforgiveness. According to the January 1999 issue of Prevention magazine unforgiveness causes negative feelings about people in general, failure to recognize and enjoy potentially good relationships, and the following psychological and physical problems:
*anger and hatred
*rush of horomones exhilarate heart rate
*limits or shuts down immune system
*chances of heart attack increase by 500 percent
*risk of high blood pressure and cholosterol
*enhances risk of blood clots and cancer
*a host of other chronic issues
Shannonshares how she herself eventually found God’s grace for every person who had ever left her, let her down, or offended her. But forgiving herself for her own poor choices seemed to require more grace than she could muster. She shared how when she would reflect on her past choices she would think “How stupid I’ve been!” “I should have known better!”, “No one could possibly love me if they knew all that I have done”
I know what she is talking about… I have been there with those same very thoughts. These thoughts leave you with a constant need of approval. You need someone else to tell you that they love you, to affirm your very reason for taking up oxygen on this earth. Because you hate yourself so much you are almost shocked when someone notices you… and you become an easy target for those who would take advantage of your weakness… you become a weak woman.
For among them are those who enter into households
and captivate weak women weighed down with sins,
led on by various impulses,
always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2 Timothy 3:6-7
You keep learning and learning but you never come to the truth. To the truth that God has forgiven you… so you are forgiven. God loves you… so you are loved. God says you are beautiful… so you are beautiful. God’s grace is sufficient for you. So you fall prey into the hands of those who will destroy households and the cycle continues…
Ladies, listen closely…
When you believe that you are unable to forgive yourself then you are saying what Jesus did was not enough. You are calling the blood of your Christ insufficient. You also are saying that your own forgiveness of you is more important than God’s and requires more grace than what God is able to give.
For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one,
much more those who receive the abundance of grace
and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
Satan uses unforgiveness as a tool to bring about our destruction. Forgiveness foils Satan’s plots to stunt our spiritual growth.
Now today’s challenge is to look deep into your own heart and see if you need to begin the process of forgiveness… either toward yourself… or someone else.
I had student once say that she knew she needed to forgive. She knew she was supposed to, but no one has told her how. She wanted to be obedient. She wanted to forgive, but she did not know how to do it… so here are some steps in case you have this same question.
*Acknowledge your anger and hurt. It is very real and God knows it is there.
*Realize that holding on to this pain only holds you back
*Consciously let go of any need for revenge
*Consider the source of your pain: Hurting people hurt other people. Put yourself in there shoes.
*Pray earnestly for those who hurt you, asking God to heal the wounds that cause them to wound others.
*Pray that your wounds do not cause you to do the same to others.
As you walk through these steps of surrendering your unforgiveness so that you might be healed of your past emotional pain… you must also work on surrendering your pride.
Pride assumes several things:
*I deserve what I deserve
*My needs should be met at any cost
*Life is all about me and my pleasure
*The rules apply to everyone else but not me
*I’m above the consequences
Here’s the thing about pride… you could take that above list and use it as your excuses to commit sin or you could also take that list and use it as excuses to NOT accept the forgiveness of Christ for your past committed sins or His grace in your struggles in your new redeemed life.
We must surrender our unforgiveness and our pride if we are to be free from our past emotional pain. If we are to be able to walk into our future with the freedom that is ours in Christ then we must let go of all this junk that wrapping us up around our ankles.
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us,
let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin
which so easily entangles us,
and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith,
who for the joy set before Him endured the cross,
despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Honey, you are loved!
You are forgiven.
You are accepted.
You are secure.
You are significant.
Trust me… His grace is enough.
His blood is enough… it is sufficient for your forgiveness and for your ability to forgive others.