How do you let God heal you?
Hey there my wonderful friend. Before I even answer with a whole lot of functional details, may I just say: if you’re going through anything right now, I’m really sorry and I got crazy love for you. Here’s a prayer even as I’m writing this, and after too.
The thing about healing is that it hurts, sometimes even worse than the original wound. Most people think healing is just a “matter of time” or “don’t bring it up,” and while that’s partially true, it also involves an active confrontation with yourself to get where you want to be. When a bone breaks, you set it. When you get scraped, you use peroxide or alcohol. When you get bruised up, you endure an ice pack. I don’t mean to take the metaphor too far: but if you only allow “time to heal,” then you could end up with a mangled bone or an infection.
If you’re talking about someone who has hurt you, then forgiveness will hurt even more. It’s a daily process of letting go of what they did to you. It hurts because it’ll feel like you’re letting the person “get away with it” somehow — but without absorbing the pain and releasing the debt they incurred, then you let the person who hurt you to keep hurting you.
Forgiveness is not a one-time deal. Some days you’ll have to forgive them a hundred times just to get through it without punching a wall. And that’s okay. You can scream and cry it out and yell in your prayers. It’s better than dancing around it. It’s why Jesus says forgive as many as seventy times seven. He’s talking about one person here.
God knows: forgiveness is not so much a gift for them, but a gift for you. It’s not denying the sinful act that was done to you, but it’s robbing that act of its power by saying, “This will not define me or twist me or push me around. I will come out better in the end, not bitter.”
If you’re talking about healing from self-loathing or sustained trauma or some bad choices (like a bad relationship), all these things feed off the same lie of self-condemnation. We easily fall into a false narrative of decreased worth based on what we’ve done or have gone through, as if some poor choices stick to us like tar and cooties. The lie is always, “I am what I’ve done” or “I am what’s been done to me.”
I know this lie is hard to shake, because maybe there was some responsibility in where we ended up. But punishing yourself to pay off your own guilt can never work, and unless you’ve been violated against your will, denying any guilt at all is equally impractical.
This means healing here will require both 1) owning up to your part (which unless you’ve been molested or robbed or jumped, you have a part), and 2) letting your heart rest in God’s truth about you. Avoiding those things will only make you more prideful, more bitter, or more depressed.
Resting within the truth of Scripture is tougher than you think, because it means allowing God to contradict you. Since we’re inclined to use our pain as an excuse to retaliate or escape, God will constantly try to revoke this from us. Part of His healing is to remove our “right” to be reactionary. I heard a pastor once say that true meditation on God’s Word is allow the Scripture to argue against every part of you that is antithetical to His truth.
In other words, real healing begins when you scoop out the lies of your distorted thinking and replace them with God’s truth about you. This will hurt. But it’s the only way to real freedom and peace and joy. Everyone will naturally resist this because it feels corny or intrusive, but more than that, it feels undeserved. When we’re so comfortable with the dark, we squint at the possibility of things getting better in the light.
Yet God is so willing to rub the salt of His Word on your wounds so that you can wake up from your own self-loathing. He’s the well of cool water for your bruised tired hands. He’s the only love who could fulfill you enough not to overreact to the pain. God really does want you to know that you are not what has happened to you nor what you’ve done. Jesus came to take your wounds into his own hands and feet, so that you may live. He did this for our final victory in eternity: but he also did this for you today, in this moment, so you may experience a foretaste of that wholeness. And God is going to move at your tempo, never rushing, because He knows that your healing will take a step at a time. But so we must be willing to hold up those truths to our naked hurt, because healing begins with honesty.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
— Psalm 34:18