There is a wonderful promise in John 8:36 that when Jesus sets us free we experience true freedom:
“So if the Son makes you free, then you are unquestionably free.” AMP
“So if the Son sets you free from sin, then become a true son and be unquestionably free!” TPT
I believe that true freedom comes when we let go of the emotions that result from being hurt.
After we’ve done the hard part of forgiving someone we then need to take it a step free and let go. Choosing to forgive is a powerful thing but we ALSO need to release the emotions that have festered within us. Ephesians 4:31-32 urges us to let go of all bitterness; wrath; anger; animosity; and deny our fault-finding nature. We are to let go of slander; malice; spitefulness and refrain from verbal abuse. By allowing God to help us let go of all of those things we can develop a kind nature; become helpful to those around us; we can have a tender heart full of compassion and understanding; and we’re given the ability to readily and freely forgive others just as God, through Christ Jesus, has forgiven us.
But why is letting go so important? When we hold a grudge, nurture anger, harbour resentment, or cultivate bitterness we give the devil an opportunity to lead us into sin (Ephesians 4:27). When we hold onto those dangerous emotions and fan them into a flame we’re actually allowing satan to manipulate us. I know that this is true because I’ve seen it unfold in my life. I’ve had a small spark of anger and when I haven’t dealt with it I’ve seen it suddenly leap into a roaring fire. When I’ve sat stewing and brewing on wrong emotions I’ve seen them poison my attitude. I’ve seen the sad and devastating result of my out of control anger affecting those around me, I can tell you now I have regrets. But I’m so pleased that God has helped me work through all of that.
I know that my out of control emotions have poisoned my heart. There is a warning in Hebrews 12:15 that the root of bitterness (resentment) causes trouble and poisons the heart.
But why is the health of our heart so important?
A crushed heart = sickness and depression.
A broken spirit saps our strength because when our heart is crushed we struggle with sickness and depression. Jealousy and envy stored up in our hearts eats away at our lives like cancer in our bones. BUT there is of course Good News because a happy cheerful heart brings healing to both the body and the soul.
A happy heart = good medicine for our bodies, spirits and souls.
“It is a simple equation that God gives us to deal with those irritable and troublesome hunks of humanity: Love + Prayer = Victory. There is an anecdote for bitterness and wrath; it’s called kindness. There is a way to overcome anger and clamor; it’s known as being tenderhearted. There is also a way to conquer slander; it’s recognized as forgiveness. We bless with our tongues, with our heart attitudes, with our emotions and with our actions.”.
As I read that I was reminded that I can’t do any of this in my own strength so when I pray I invite God into my heart to change me and allow His heart of love, compassion and grace to become my heart.
I love the promise in James 4:7 that when we submit to the authority of God and resist the devil, by standing firm against him, that he will flee. That reminder has helped me so much when those little sparks of anger flash in my heart. I surrender my anger to God, I ask for His help and focus my attention on God’s amazing grace. My journey of inner healing has revealed so many ugly aspects of my character but as I’ve allowed God to go deep and heal me I’ve also seen His truly amazing grace at work. I’ve experienced James 4:8-10 which urges us to come to God with a remorseful heart for then He will draw close to us. When we cry out with deep grief over our sin asking Him to wash our sinful hands and purify our unfaithful hearts He will. When we humble ourselves in full repentance He lifts us up and gives us purpose once again.
Words of Life
When our heart is healthy we can then release words of life and healing to others.
Ephesians 4:29, 31-32 urges us to not use foul or abusive language. Rather everything we say should be good and helpful, so that our words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. We need to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. We’re urged to be kind to each other; tender-hearted; and extend forgiveness towards others just as God, through Christ, has forgiven us.
Proverbs 18:21 warns us that death or life is in the power of the tongue. This means that the words we say can either build someone up (bless them by bringing life) or tear them down (curse them by bringing death through condemnation or hurt).
Now that we understand the importance let’s spend time inviting the Holy Spirit to implant within us His goodness through prayer:
Lord, I let go of all bitterness; wrath; anger; animosity; and I deny my fault-finding nature. I let go of slander; malice; spitefulness and I’ll refrain from verbal abuse. God help me to completely let go of these things so that I can develop a kind nature and become helpful to those around me. Develop within me a tender heart full of compassion and understanding. Grant me the ability to readily and freely forgive others just as God, through Christ Jesus, has forgiven me (Ephesians 4:31-32).
Holy Spirit I ask You to remove the root of bitterness as I let go of all feelings, especially resentment. I don’t want those feelings to trouble and poisons my heart any longer (Hebrews 12:15).
Lord a broken spirit has sapped my strength; my heart has been crushed and I struggle with sickness and depression; jealousy and envy are like cancer in my bones eating away my energy. Holy Spirit come and heal my broken spirit and restore to me strength; please grant me a new heart and remove all traces of sickness and depression; I ask You to remove all jealousy and envy from my life and revive me in every area of my life that has been affected. Grant me a happy cheerful heart which will bring healing to both my body and my soul because a happy heart is good medicine; please grant me a tender tranquil heart that brings health; and a joyful heart that brings healing (Proverbs 14:30 & 17:22).
Lord, I ask You to cleanse my mouth so that I no longer use foul or abusive language. Let everything I say be good and helpful, so that my words will be an encouragement to those who hear them. I ask for Your help to get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour. Empower me to be kind to others; tender-hearted; and quick to extend forgiveness towards others just as God, through Christ, has forgiven me (Ephesians 4:29, 31-320.
Lord I heed to the warning in Proverbs 18:21, that death or life is in the power of the tongue. I want my words to build others up because I want to bless them and share the amazing gift of Life that You’ve given me. Please stop me from speaking words that will tear others down, I don’t want to curse people by bringing death through condemnation or hurt.
Lord Jesus I want to walk in Your ways and so I invite You to come and teach me. Holy Spirit I invite You to come and touch my life and do a great work within. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.
Many blessings, Keona