Context: I’m in London today, facing a battery of specialised medical tests. It’s only 5am, but I’m having a very early breakfast, as I have to fast for several hours before arriving at the hospital.
This blog considers how free-will, honesty and forgiveness contribute to emotional healing. Each of these factors builds on the one before, until healing is complete. This completion can take place progressively, during life, or instantaneously, at death, when we meet Christ face to face.
He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted (Luke 4:18; NKJV).
Emotional healing is a lifelong process of personal growth in mind, heart and soul. It is brought about by revelation and personal insight, which gradually help us to change how we think, speak, behave and feel.
Let’s begin with free-will. In order to be healthy, all personal change needs to be based on independent choice. Changes which are expected, required, demanded, imposed, or forced upon us by others can never bring about deep, inner healing.
Similarly, if we try to make ourselves change in order to become an idealised version of ourselves, we are only suppressing how we honestly feel or think, and what we really want to say or do. This is a very unhealthy, incongruent and inauthentic way to live, which stores up further emotional problems for the future. There is no substitute for learning to speak the truth in love.
Next comes forgiveness, another essential, inescapable aspect of inner healing. It can take years to feel forgiven for all the bad things we have thought, said and done. Furthermore, genuinely forgiving those who have hurt us can be equally difficult.
This process is facilitated by being honest with those who have hurt us, forgiving them, and working towards reconciliation, if possible. We can also apologise to those we have hurt, asking them to forgive us.
If those involved are no longer available, all this can still be done through honest prayer.
4. Emotional healing
Free-will, honesty and forgiveness help us to take responsibility for fostering the long-term healing God offers. We can do this by:
- Being honest with ourselves, others and God
- Developing insight into ourselves and our behaviour
- Praying simply and honestly, as children do
- Learning from experience
- Learning from books
- Learning from good role-models
- Offering healthy, honest, equal, loving relationships to everyone
As we change and grow, we can slowly be healed in mind, heart and soul over the course of our lifetime. Gradually our thinking, speech and behaviour become more honest, more loving, and more genuinely aligned with God’s will for us, progressively promoting our emotional healing.
Through reflecting on the role of free-will, honesty and forgiveness in the process of emotional healing, I have come to see these four concepts as being essentially indivisible. Thus, as we freely choose to become more honest, more forgiving, and more Christ-like, we are slowly healed in mind, heart and soul.
I want your will to be done, not mine (Luke 22:42; NLT).
1. Accept, I beseech thee, the free-will offerings of my mouth, O Lord (Psalm 119:108; WEB).
2. You desire honesty from the womb (Psalm 51:6; NLT).
We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ (Ephesians 4:15; NLT).
3. Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us (Luke 11:4; NLT).
4. I am the Lord who heals you (Exodus 15:26; NLT).
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:5; NIV).
The Lord – who is the Spirit – makes us more and more like him as we are changed into his glorious image (2 Corinthians 3:18; NLT).