“You will begin to heal yourself when you let go of the things that hurt you in the past, forgive those who have done wrong to you and learn to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made.” – Anonymous
“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on Him, and by His wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
Jesus suffered many physical injuries on His road to Calvary. The beatings, whippings, and crucifixion left him barely recognizable to His family and friends. For love and for our salvation, He took up the cross and it is by His wounds that we are healed. It is through His punishment that we have peace.
Why then do we wrestle with forgiveness, first in giving it and second in receiving it? We have such an incredible Savior and role model, who loved us while we were yet sinners. John 15:13 says, “ Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” There are surely believers who have lived and died this example of Christ’s love, but the majority of us have not. Our sufferings are great in our own eyes and yet, they are nothing compared to the sufferings of the early church.
We should not compare our pains and trials to other believers, as God knows each of our frames and the measure of strength He has given to each of His children. Rebellion and personal sin can magnify personal sufferings, so our obedience and submission is a factored in to our trials.
What really matters is that if we sin and then confess it, we are forgiven. God never refuses our request for forgiveness and communion with Him.
Therefore, why do we withhold forgiveness when others ask it of us?
Is it due to a cold and hardened heart?
How then do you heal a hardened? It is surely a sign of a sad spiritual state. It is a hungry and thirsty soul who has neglected the Word of Life and the Springs of Living Waters. It is parched and weak for lack of food and water.
The first thing a hardened heart needs is the love and healing found in the Word of God. For a time, this hard heart has not been open to the wise counsel of others and has stopped communicating with God, or listening to the prompts of the Holy Spirit. The truth contained in the Word can break through the self-protection and remind the wounded of the truths Jesus taught. It is after all in dying that we are set free to find eternal life.
God’s Word will not only feed the human spirit, but it will untwist the lies *satan has implanted in the heart of marble.
Another important part to healing a hard heart is fellowship. All of us have sinned. There are many believers who will not throw the first stone for their own sin reminds them of God’s continuous grace and forgiveness. It is said in Ecclesiastes that it is a good thing to heed the rebuke of a wise person. When we are not walking closely with the Lord, the usual action is to avoid others of the faith. We tend to become anti-social and isolated. It requires humility to accept that you have travelled off the path God had you on and seek the support of the Body of Christ. However, once you decide to fellowship and honestly face what has hardened your heart, peace and joy will once again return to your life.
Forgiving yourself for the sins you have committed is also required if you want to soften your heart. God has taken all the sins of the world, including yours, and laid them on the cross. It is finished. When you refuse to forgive yourself you are dishonoring what Christ has done for you. When you confess your sin, it is cast as far as the east is from the west. It is forgotten. Stop reminding your Father of things He has already forgiven and forgotten. Stop beating yourself up! He was beaten and bruised so that you would not have to suffer His fate. Say these words aloud: By His wounds I am healed.
“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Psalm 103:12 (NIV)
“ Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” John 15:13 (NIV)
“It is better to heed the rebuke of a wise person than to listen to the song of fools.” Ecclesiastes 7:5 (NIV)