Finding Physical and Emotional Healing by Forgiving Others

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The Bible says that if we do not forgive others from our heart, the Lord will not forgive us either (Matthew 6:14). When we forgive someone, we are not saying that what they did was good or right, but by forgiving, we are actually “releasing” that person or circumstance into the hands of God.

Our hearts can easily get contaminated through the events of life and through relationships with people. It’s important to guard our hearts from seeds of bitterness. The scriptures show us that bitterness not only affects our own lives, but also affects those persons around us.

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled…

— HEBREWS 12:14-15

“And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”

— MARK 11:25-26

The parable found in Matthew 18:21-35 shows the severity of the sin of unforgiveness. It’s the story of a man who had a huge debt and he had no way to repay it. He pled with his master to grant him forgiveness instead of punishment. His master showed him compassion and released him of his debt. However, when someone owed him only a small amount, he would not show compassion and release this person from their debt. The parable explains God’s anger toward this man who had been shown forgiveness but withheld extending that same forgiveness to others. God put the man’s entire debt back into effect (Matthew 18:33-35)!

Unforgiveness is a rotten seed in a person’s body. Sickness can be caused by many things, whether it be the environment or genetics, and sometimes sickness may result from the spiritual root of unforgiveness or bitterness. We are not meant to carry the weight and burdens of the sins of others. Unforgiveness and bitterness can open the door to all types of sicknesses, crippling diseases, and demonic oppression.

When our hearts have been severely damaged and our hurts go deep, offering forgiveness can seem impossible. God offers us His supernatural power to help us release others of their wrongs. Releasing our offenders through prayer not only heals our hearts, but also shuts the door where sickness entered so the prayer of faith can be activated.

Pray and ask the Lord to open your heart to this issue. Is there anyone in your life you need to forgive? Are you bitter in your heart towards another person? Pray and ask God to help you forgive and release them from their sin.

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Spiritual Maturity

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The length of time a person walks with the Lord doesn’t always equal spiritual maturity. The Word of God is the ultimate test to see if we are spiritual adults or if we are still babies who need a bottle of milk.

1 Peter 2:2 …as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Hebrews 5:12-14 – For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

It’s a natural part of life that babies drink milk and as they get stronger and grow, they develop teeth to be able to chew meat. Babies are not capable of feeding themselves and have to have someone to help them.

Milk is a positive way to feed those who are new in their faith and should never be considered a handicap for a new believer. We would never consider a baby to be handicapped or impaired for needing basic necessities! It is God’s design that babies be cared for and fed until they have strong teeth and digestive functions to chew and swallow.

A new believer often has many questions about God’s word and the Christian life. They must have others chew the word for them and break it down into a type of digestible slush. Even the Holy Spirit will communicate with a new believer in such a way that it is tasty and easy to digest.

Babies can only see what is in their direct line of sight and their reasoning abilities haven’t developed yet. If they are hungry, they don’t choose a recipe, make a shopping list, or go to the grocery store. Instead, they are very simple minded. If they are hungry, they will cry until an adult takes all the steps necessary to make a meal. A parent will choose a recipe, purchase food, prepare it and then an adult can break the food down into a digestible form so the baby can receive their nourishment. A new believer has to have help in breaking down food that is given to them. The Holy Spirit will help them to understand spiritual things as they learn and mature in their Christian walk.

Baby Christians are also focused on the immediate world around them. They assume that the blessings of God are those things of the earthly realm such as money or cars. They are not capable of understanding that we are citizens of a greater kingdom. They don’t understand that this earth is not our home and these things are temporal.  The blessings of spiritual revelations, depth of God’s word, and intimacy with the Lord are eternal blessings and just like a new born baby doesn’t make a good plan for dinner, new believers and immature Christians are unable to reason or even envision what a full spiritual bank account looks like.

Unfortunately, this lack of spiritual discernment and impaired sight may lead to deception. Babies eat anything that is fed to them without knowing or discerning what exactly they are partaking of. All they know is someone is providing a digestible substance to satisfy their hunger. Babies want what tastes good, even if it will not help them grow or mature.

Babies always need care and assistance but it’s only for a short period of time. If they are eating, drinking and their needs are met, they will soon grow and before long they will be eating solid foods, drinking many beverages, dressing themselves and they will begin to walk and talk.

However, if someone claims to be a mature Christian or a teacher of God’s word and they cannot chew on God’s word for themselves but must run to the latest teaching or event to receive their nourishment, then that is not a growth process – that is a spiritual crisis. We all like to share revelations from the Lord with each other but if a mature Christian has to borrow manna from the next-door neighbor as their only means of feeding themselves or others, this is a sign of impaired spiritual growth. This person is no longer growing but has become spiritually stunted and they are on spiritual life support.

Where’s the Beef?

The bible says those who are mature no longer drink just milk but they also eat solid food. Hebrews 5 says those who are mature in their faith eat meat and are knowledgeable in the word of God. They can give to others what they have received from God themselves. They are skilled at putting into practice the lessons they have learned in God’s word. Hebrews 5 also says they have exercised their senses to discern both, good and evil. Their obedience to God isn’t just staying away from certain sins but, through practice, they learn how to seek God’s will and follow His instructions as they are led by the Spirit of God.

Just like an adult goes to work even if it isn’t fun or enjoyable, a mature Christian knows that choosing to spend time with God will be more fruitful and beneficial than enjoying the pleasures of the world.  In fact, after a person has grown in their spiritual walk, they find that eating a good meal of spiritual meat with the Lord is not just beneficial but it becomes much more fun than parties, sporting events, shopping or other idle activities.

A mature Christian will set God as their priority. They are no longer led by their feelings or their flesh. An athlete doesn’t wake up in the morning and decide if they “feel” like going to the gym or not. They are dedicated to their physical progress and have developed discipline that in turn produces growth and strength. Likewise, seasoned Christians are dedicated to their spiritual life and are led by the Spirit of God to develop spiritual disciplines. They know that God is a rewarder of those who will diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6) and that truly finding God is available only to those who seek Him with the whole heart. (Jeremiah 29:13). This intentional feasting on the things of the Spirit soon produce a heavenly harvest of blessings from the heavenly realm: revelation, power, wisdom, spiritual encounters with the Holy Spirit.

If you are a new baby in Christ, enjoy your milk. Love it, eat it up. Everyone loves a good glass of milk! The more milk of the word you receive and put it into practice, the stronger you will grow. You will no longer desire for someone else to feed you what they have, but as you mature, you will learn how to receive from God for yourself without the influence or help from man. You will get a different worldview as you are transplanted into a different kingdom.

If you are no longer a baby but haven’t come completely into a place where you can receive from God without the help of others, it’s ok! Strengthen and stand on what you do have.  As you practice denying your flesh, you will develop spiritual disciplines that will help you grow. Sometimes, we have to tune out the voice of man, so we can learn to discern the voice of the Father without the static of human reasoning.

If you are a mature Christian who is steadfast in your faith – keep your eyes on the author and finisher of your faith until He completes the good work that He began in you. Stay diligent in the Word of God and prayer. Even the most seasoned Christian will soon revert back to worldliness and carnality if they reject to feed and care for their spirit man with spiritual disciplines and God’s word.

Being a mature Christian doesn’t mean that you are now a perfect Christian. Even Paul said, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.”

Wherever you are in your Christian walk, may God reward you as you diligently seek Him with your whole heart. Whether we are eating the milk of the word or if we eat solid foods, let’s keep growing – with our eyes fixed on Christ until we reach our heavenly destination!

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The Legacy of the Ugly Duckling

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This is the true story of how God used one sister’s rejection to impact the entire world.

The story is about two sisters – one of them named Rachel was very beautiful. She had pretty eyes and a very shapely figure. The other sister, named Leah, had weak eyes and an unshapely body. She was unattractive, unappealing, and she was unloved.

A young man named Jacob fell madly in love with the beautiful Rachel. Rachel’s father required that Jacob work for him for seven years to be able to marry her. Jacob loved Rachel so much, it flew by in a flash!

Finally, after seven years of hard labor, it was time for the long awaited wedding. After a lot of wine and celebration, Jacob went into his wedding tent to finally be with the bride he had waited so long to be with. The next morning Jacob was shocked to see he didn’t wake up next to the beautiful Rachel! After waking up, Jacob realized he had married and spent the night with the unattractive and homely sister, Leah!


He was furious and went to find the girls’ father. His new father in law explained that it was their custom that the older sister would need to marry before the younger sister could be given in marriage. He told Jacob he could marry Rachel after he finished his wedding week with Leah, as long as he agreed to work for him another seven years!

Bridal veil during the time period of Jacob’s wedding

I know a lot of people would feel bad for Jacob and Rachel about this (and I do too!), but my heart really goes out to Leah. She was used to being the ugly duckling, second choice to her popular sister Rachel. I can’t imagine what it would be like spending my wedding week with a husband who was angry that he had married me. I don’t know what it would feel like slipping into a tent to pretend that you are the pretty sister until the light of day showed that you are not the pretty sister at all, you are just ugly duckling Leah.

I can imagine her sadness as the week was finished and she watched her new husband’s excitement to finally marry the one that he really loved. I am sure she was sad she had to trick someone into marrying her by pretending to be someone that she was not.

I know a lot of people would feel bad for Jacob and Rachel about this (and I do too!), but my heart really goes out to Leah. She was used to being the ugly duckling, second choice to her popular sister Rachel. I can’t imagine what it would be like spending my wedding week with a husband who was angry that he had married me. I don’t know what it would feel like slipping into a tent to pretend that you are the pretty sister until the light of day showed that you are not the pretty sister at all, you are just ugly duckling Leah.

Through time, a huge sibling rivalry developed between the two sisters. Clearly, Rachel was Jacob’s favorite, but Leah never gave up on having a husband that would love her. God looked on Leah’s trouble and let her have children, but Rachel was barren.

Leah named her first child “Simeon” meaning “The Lord has surely looked on my affliction. Now therefore, my husband will love me.” Sadly, Leah gloated a little too much about her ability to have children while Rachel was barren and God gave Rachel a son that she named Joseph.

This rivalry escalated throughout time until the day that Rachel died while giving birth to her second son. Even after her death, it seemed that Rachel was still the favorite. Jacob gave their son, Joseph, a coat of many colors and the most special place in his heart, even above all the other brothers.

It’s easy to look at this story with our natural eye and feel sorry for Leah. The poor ugly girl who would never be loved. But let’s look at this story with our spiritual glasses on to see the hidden blessing of the unloved and how God has a special love for all the ugly ducklings in the world, who have been abandoned and rejected.

Leah learned to lean on God for her strength but Rachel never fully leaned on the Lord (that had even played a part in her death). Yes, it’s true that Joseph was the favorite son of Jacob, but six of Leah’s sons would become heads of the twelve tribes of Israel.

Leah gave birth to a son named Levi. Through the bloodline of Levi, we find such famous Israelites as Moses, Aaron, and Miriam. To be a priest or a worshiper in the temple of God, you had to be from the tribe of Levi. Yes, God favored Levi, son of unloved Leah.

Leah’s son, Judah, would be the forefather of all the kings of Israel. Through Judah comes quite an impressive pedigree. We see such famous people as King David, King Solomon, Boaz, and King Hezekiah.

Jesus Himself descended from this union of Jacob and Leah! Just like Leah, Jesus was described as one having “no beauty that we would desire Him.”

All of the king and priests of Israel, and even the Lord Jesus, came from this one rejected woman, who probably felt like her life didn’t matter very much.

Also, we find that Leah’s prayer to be loved may have eventually been answered. At the end of his life, Jacob didn’t request to be buried with his beautiful wife Rachel – but he wanted to be buried with his beloved wife, Leah!

 

Tomb of the Patriarchs where Jacob and Leah are buried in Israel

If you find that you are lacking in looks, money, smarts, or personality… thank the Lord for it! You are in great company! The very things that you thought disqualified you, have made you rely on fully on God. And it is HIS acceptance that qualifies you to do great and wonderful things in the kingdom of God!!

For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.

1 Corinthians 1:26

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