How to Heal Your Broken Heart - Starting with Forgiveness
Can’t watch the video for some reason? Scroll to the bottom for the text version.
2 Things Before We Get Started
1) This is a mini-workshop. Understanding what I’ve said above doesn’t heal you. And doing this in your head doesn’t set you free. You MUST write this out as a means of confession and naming what’s bothering you. Sorry. It’s a process of making the invisible that’s inside of you visible. There is no other way. So please write out your answers to the following questions.
2) The way this app works is that you give us your email and we’ll send you your journaling answers to you for safe keeping and your own journal, if you have one. Feel free to delete the emails or keep them, but all of your writing goes directly to you alone and to no one else. If you prefer, you can do this in your own journal, but the main thing is: you gotta actually write this out for it to work.
Step #1 - Start Your First List
Ask God to help you to start listing some names of people who you still feel hurt by.
Father, let there be light. I’m sure that I have plenty of people to forgive, but I ask that you would guide me to the ones that you want to work on today. I thank you and trust you.
Now, start listing the folks who have hurt you. Start with the small stuff or the big stuff (just to get it out of you), whatever. The order doesn’t matter. Just list the people at home, or school, or work, or church who have come against you. Anyone who’s hurt you, harmed you, abused you, neglected you, dismissed you, disrespected you, made fun of you, insulted you, bullied you, opposed you, stood in your way, sabotaged you or held you back. Circle back again, thinking through people you despite, hate, feel envy towards, feel jealousy towards, or are even just against in general. Feel free to list 5 or 50. Today we are just getting the hang of how to do this.
For the easier names you listed, you can probably just go through and tell God that you drop all charges against them and say out loud, “As an act of my will, I drop all charges against them and release them back to God.” And that’ll probably do it. Like I said, those are the easy ones. Now let’s take on one that is a deeper cut.
Step #2 - First Drop All Charges Against Yourself
Pick one of the names in the list above as you sense that God guide you. If you don’t sense his direction on anything in particular, then just grab one that’s meaningful to you (not the worst one, but not the easiest one either).
Now it’s time take responsibility for your part (if any) in what happened.
Father, I confess my part in my unhealthy relationship with (person’s name).
(Stop and ask yourself if you played any role in inviting this into your life, any rebellion, any selective blindness, any sinfulness, any weakness or fear that hindered you from stopping it or walking away, or any ways in which you have been shaming yourself since this happened to take more blame than you should - which is also wounding. Then pray…)
I allowed and entertained ________ (insults/disrespect/rebellion/weakness/shaming/lies/sins/agreements/postures/foul spirits…get specific. Just confess your part in it and no more).
As an act of my will, I now release myself from the expectation that I should have handled this any better or any different. I accept that I was where I was in my journey and cannot blame myself for not doing anything other than what I did because I was how I was back then.
Now as an act of my will, I drop all accusations against myself for my part and plead the blood of Jesus for this. I release myself back to God for any correction or discipline that he might think I need, but for my part, I am will not hold myself in debt for this any longer.
(Good job. Now take a breath and thank God for this new found freedom.)
Step #3 - It’s Time to Release your betrayer
This takes the shape of the same pattern from above: release them from expectations, drop the charges, release them and then bless them.
Father, I know that I was made for relationships that are based in love, respect and (whatever other longings you have), but this isn’t Eden! This is earth after the Fall and we have problems here. I accept that this is the person I have in my life and they are not perfect, so I release (person’s name) from all expectations that I’ve put on them to have handled me any better or any different. I accept that they are where they are in their journey and cannot blame them for not doing anything other than what they did because that is how they were back then. I see that and accept that now. I’m not saying that it’s ok, but merely that I accept thatchy were acting according to their nature.
Now as an act of my will, I drop all accusations against (person’s name) for _______ (linger here and get specific, list them all, whatever their part was in doing this - which is probably more than just the act, but also the intention and heart behind it, knowing better, etc).
I release them back to God to be exactly where they are on their journey. If they is to be correction or rebuke or punishment needed, none of that is my business. Father, I release them back to you completely.
Go back and do a few more if you have time. Try to do with with 5 people if you can….or, the whole list if you are eager. It doesn’t work to say, “God, for this whole list of people…” No, you gotta do them one at a time. Sorry.
This was Day 1
Again, all of this is just what we gotta do to get the freedom and joy that Jesus wants for us.
There is much more where this came from! For some reason, we go to the doctor when we hurt our bodies, but we don’t get the help we need when our insides get hurt. These daily guided exercise will totally change your life if your set your face like a flint and determine right now that you will work through all of these until you see the freedom that Jesus is offering us. It’s more possible than you think!
Bless you. See you tomorrow.
The TEXT Version of the Video
I just want to be free. And whole. And alive.
If anything inside of me is holding me back, or is a barrier to me being ridiculously, crazy happy, then I want that junk gone, you know?! Why hang on to it!?
The wounds that have shaped me and my warped view of the world need to go. I want to be free of all of that junk. Forgiveness is the key to it all.
This will be easier than you Think
Life can be rough on us, and whether or not we are honest enough to admit it, we have all been beaten up.
While on the outside, we all seem to be doing just fine, on the inside, it looks like a modern-day hospital with all sorts of problems and conditions, being treated by a whole host of drugs and bandages and triage care - some more unhealthy than others.
It all comes down to this: the most mentally, emotionally and spiritually powerful thing you can do is to forgive some folks. It’s really that simple.
And the process is easier than you think. Within just a few minutes, no kidding, you can be free of all sorts of the worst things that have ever happened to you.
You might say back to me, “No Brad, you don’t understand what I’ve done, or what’s been done to me. It would take a decade of counseling and a lifetime of prayer to fix this! So far, I have tried all that and more whiskey/drugs/sex/work to heal it, numb it and kill off these terrible feelings and images, and nothing will get rid of it. It’s sweet for you to try, but honestly there are just some things that will have to wait for heaven to heal.”
And I say back to you, that I know something that you don’t know. Try out these exercises over the next few days to see for yourself, ok?
I agree that not everything will be healed on this side of heaven, but I have pushed into the edges over and over in my own life and in my counseling practices and am blown away by how much ground can be gained so quickly. Far more than you can imagine.
I recently took a group of men through this exercise and most of them came back feeling amazing, but one older gentleman said that he gave it a try and nothing happened, so he figured that God just didn’t want this wound healed, even though it has been affecting everything he does for over 13 years now. I asked him a few questions to clarify what had happened to him, and then pulled him off to the side to run through the exercise again, and poof! Gone! What he’s been devastated by for 13 years was gone in about 4-5 minutes flat. Easy.
Then you might also say back to me, “But Brad, I’m not ready to forgive my mom/dad/lover/boss/friend. You don’t know what they did to me!”
And again, I say back to you that there are some things you don’t know just yet that I will show you. For instance, you don’t need to “be ready” to do this, nor do your emotions need to be in line with this. We are going to work on a different level…and what’s cool is that your emotions will follow our lead.
Seriously. Once you experience this, you’ll wonder why everyone on earth is not doing this. The freedom and lightness you will feel will be amazing!
The Terrifying Biblical Case for Forgiving Others
Matthew’s gospel is the toughest of the four gospel writers on the topic of forgiveness. Jesus says some very odd things, like during the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 6:12), he teaches the us to pray “Forgive us our debts AS we forgive our debtors.” Yikes.
So that he doesn’t get misunderstood, Jesus clarifies, saying the same thing…two more times. Verse 14 and 15 read, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Double yikes!
Of all the amazing things he could have double-clicked on in that epic prayer, he pushes in on the topic of forgiveness. This must be far more of a serious thing than anyone has taught us so far!
But it doesn’t stop there.
In Matthew 18, he keeps going on and on about forgiving people, doing it the right way, doing it over and over and over, and then the kicker: he says in the last verse that you gotta forgive “from your heart.” Ouch!
Conclusion: Jesus is as serious as a heart-attack when it comes to cleansing us out from the inside out. He wants to set us free. He wants to make us whole. He wants us to love as he loves. And do to that, forgiveness seems to be at the top of his list. It’s the thing blocking all kinds of ways that God wants to flow in and through us. So…
We’ll start with the easier stuff and work our way to the tougher ones, ok? So now it’s about time I explain the different shapes that wounds take on.
5 Different Kinds of Wounds
Mirroring the physical world, our invisible wounds take on 5 shapes…
1) Bruises 2) Scrapes 3) Cuts 4) Breaks 5) Loss of a Part.
Bruises and Scrapes are easy come, easy go. They might ruin your morning or your week and they certainly hurt because you’ve been mishandled, but they aren’t going to ruin your life. When a car pulls out in front of you in traffic and you have to slam on the brakes which spills your coffee, or the the jerk at work is being demeaning again, or your dad calls you “artsy fartsy” every time you talk about your passion for music or dance or movies - these are easier to let go of almost as soon as they come. If you were standing in court, you’d tell the judge that you drop all charges and to let them go free. And because you “loosed” them on earth (a legal term), then they are truly loosed/forgiven. (Matt 16:19)
Cuts & Breaks hurt really bad. They are terrible! They can drag you down and put a shadow over your entire life. This is where father and mother wounds come in - too much mercy or not enough, silence or violence, neglect or abuse. This is where bullies come in, and tragic accidents, and being cheated on, and being abandoned, and going broke, and failing in front of people who matter to you. Insults might be a bruise, or they could cut you pretty deeply.
The difference between a cut and a break is crucial to determine. A cut is something that you feel all the time, on a low level, right below the surface, if you stop to notice. A break is a fragment of your soul that was in so much pain that to survive and go about your everyday life, you had to actually break it off to quarantine the pain. So when Jesus says in Isaiah 61 that he “came to heal the broken-hearted,” he’s not using a metaphor. He’s talking about actual fragments of us that still feel terrified like a 5 year old when Daddy slapped you, or we still feel alone in the world like an 8 year old when Daddy left the family, or still we feel like we’re not enough like we did at 17 when our first love cheated on us. Cuts are always there, but breaks are something you kinda “bounce” into and out of. (I’ll explain more on this later).
If you were standing in front of a judge about these, no matter if you tried to drop the charges or not, these are so serious that the City or State is mandated to press charges (like when you hear, “the State charges you of murder”). Seeing that the authorities have taken up your case, you realize that you can go on and live your life so there is no reason to stand around to ensure that this person gets all that they deserve. In light of this, you stop building cases against them and release them over to the judge and jury, to the police and the lawyers. If they get corrected, or rebuked, or punished - none of that is your business. You are moving on in freedom.
Loss of a Part is devastating. This is where something happens that is so bad that a whole chunk of you, not only breaks off, but shuts down. You don’t “bounce” into and out of this. It’s just dead. The door is shut and double locked. No one is getting in. This is all healable too. It just requires a few more tools, all of which you’ll learn in these various tracks.
Denial & Selective Blindness
What’s wild is that most of us are totally unaware of our wounding and how it influences almost every decision daily. (Yes, I mean you too). Counselors around the world are always shocked by the level of both denial and self-UNawareness in their patients. We are all like the solider in the heat of battle, gun in hand, limping around with a broken leg and his insides dragging behind him as he says, “Oh I’m fine. Plus, I’m not gonna be some kind of sissy who moans about his wounds. We got work to do!” When he falls he blames the rock or the hill or being tired, but never acknowledging that he’s got a broken leg!
Oh dear. We need some help. Someone needs to wake us up.
Ok, So What Do I Need to Do First?
Ok, so for today, let’s keep this easy. I’ll ask you to begin to list out folks who have hurt you, folks you are mad at, folks that you despise, etc and then I’ll walk you through a simple prayer for each one.
Again, let’s think low-hanging fruit for right now. We’ll deal with the hairy ones later, ok?