Our normal expectation is that in response to the wounds, the harassment, the abuse, the reproach and the inhumane treatment is that we should forgive and let it all go. It is an un-alterable mandate of Christ for us to do so – he will forgive us if we refuse to forgive those who intentionally or unintentionally hurt us. The crux of the problem is that’s all the church has taught us and as a result forgiveness has mistakenly become equated with healing, not that it doesn’t happen occasionally, but occasionally doesn’t cut when you’ve lived a life of abuse.
Many have been obedient to that belief and found it wanting, for they have forgiven and forgiven yet when they meet the offender in the market the hurt unexpectedly arises again. This is because their assumption has been that their forgiveness is somehow incomplete, otherwise they would feel nothing. What’s wrong?
There are a couple of things you need to know that will help you in your recovery from the wounds of the world;
1. Times does not heal all wounds. It only helps you forget what’s killing you.
2. The act of extending forgiveness is not ratified by your emotions. Neither will it vindicate you. In other words, you are not going to automatically feel better by your choice to forgive beyond whatever self-satisfaction you can derive from being obedient.
3. This is perhaps the biggest one; Forgiveness is not, in and of itself, healing. You can’t get healed of a wound without it, but it is seldom accompanied by healing.
4. The act of prayer (taking our wounds to the Lord) is not only advisable, but is certainly cathartic if you allow it.
In Isaiah 61:1 we see the complete provision for healing wounds; the spirit of the Lord comes to “bind up the broken heart(ed).” Once the prerequisite for healing (forgiveness) has been pronounced the Holy Spirit becomes available to you for healing in this second phase of the healing process. This “second phase” of the healing process is usually accomplished in the company of another believer who can help you engage with Holy Spirit personally and can act as an informal guide for the process.
This is the New Testament version of the priest before God acting on behalf of His people and I believe is the function of each one of us. The work of the priest is obviously more effective (not to mention efficient) if he or she has some specific tools to use in your behalf in the healing process.