King David prayed and asked God to show him what was in his heart. That’s interesting isn’t it? David didn’t assume to know. I have learned over the years that I really don’t have much idea what is in my heart until God shows it to me.
Many times I have been surprised to discover what was deep down inside of me. As a Christian counsellor, I teach on the importance of forgiveness on an almost daily basis. A few years back I was in worship at a Christian conference and I heard God whisper to me “If you would get rid of all that offence out of your heart, I might really be able to use you.” What??? Me??? I can’t tell you how shocked I was but I could feel the truth of it as He showed me.
Had anyone tried to tell me that I had a need to forgive prior to that, I would have laughed at them. I immediately asked God to deal with it but nothing happened at the time. I wasn’t aware of specifically what the offences were, but I had a general sense that there were things in my heart that needed to be resolved.
Over the next few months it felt like all hell broke loose in my emotional life. One by one little issues from the past started to surface. There were not really any major hurts, just lots of little ones. I came to realise that in my desire to be a “good Christian”, I had begun to suppress my negative emotions. I knew that I wasn’t supposed to be angry, so when something happened that hurt me, I would simply push the anger or hurt away and “choose to forgive”. Oh, I thought I was so spiritual and in control of my emotions. Little did I realise that I wasn’t dealing with anything at all. I was just lying to myself and not allowing myself to feel anything.
So the anger, hurt and offences had been building up inside my heart. I’m so grateful that God revealed it to me, and although the next few months were emotionally messy, it was wonderful to learn that it’s ok to take some time to process through pain.
As the different issues surfaced, I would invite God in to the place of pain so He could bring His healing truth. At times I needed to forgive the person who had hurt me, at other times I just needed God to replace the lies that I had learned through the situation with His truth. For example, one painful situation surfaced and I realised that the hurt I felt was because someone’s treatment of me made me feel that I wasn’t important. As I realised that, I heard God whisper that I was important to Him and with that, the pain left my heart.
With all those wounds and lies gone from my heart, my love for my husband, family and God increased dramatically. Also, because the lies about myself have now been replaced with truth, I have far more confidence and inner peace. I know now that I can do the things that God has called me to do without the fears and doubts which once plagued me.
It can be difficult to allow God to deal with areas of our hearts. It requires courage, trust and humility to surrender our hearts to Him and allow Him to surface what has been hidden inside. Our journey of healing requires the courage to allow painful memories and emotions to come to the surface and the trust to know that God will not abandon us and leave us struggling to cope on our own.