by Larry Kreider

A young man and his fiancée came to me for premarital counseling. The young man had experienced many hurts in his life. For one, his father had constantly blamed him for the problems in his marriage because the son was conceived out of wedlock. The young man was hurting and in need of healing. I asked him if he was willing to forgive his dad. He was willing. We laid hands on him and prayed for him to be healed of the painful memories he received while growing up.

The young man had a wonderful wedding a few months later. His father was at the wedding and there was no longer a wall between them. God had healed the young man. The pain was gone. God supernaturally healed him because Jesus Christ took that pain on the cross 2,000 years ago.

Many Christians long for a deeper, closer relationship with the Lord, but they have a hard time hearing from God as they continue to struggle with fears and hurtful memories from their past, unable to break free. Crippled emotionally, they need to be set free from the curse of painful memories and hurts. It is not God’s will for people’s hearts to be broken. He wants to heal us emotionally, according to Luke 4:18-19: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

The term “inner healing” is used for explaining emotional healing. To receive inner healing means to be healed of lie-filled memories or to have our broken hearts healed. Sometimes our present emotional pain comes from the misinterpretation (lies) embedded in our memories and not from the memories themselves. For example, an incest victim feels shame not because she was molested but because she may believe it was her fault (lie). When the lie is exposed, she can receive freedom.

Inner healing, or the healing of memories, is a very valid ministry in the Body of Christ today. If we believe that someone has hurt us and continue to remember those hurts and the memories of what happened, we need to be healed emotionally. We can be made whole. Jesus wants to heal us and set us free. The healing of memories does not mean that we no longer remember what has happened. We may remember what happened, but the pain is healed through Jesus revealing the truth to us. Eventually, we can look back and give praise to God for His healing on our life and His grace and strength to go on.

The healing process is often just that, a process. It can, but often does not, happen overnight. One of the keys to being set free is to forgive.

Forgive, Forgive, Forgive

An important scriptural principle to being healed and set free is found in Matthew 6:14-15: “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

This is important! We must forgive those who have hurt us in order for God to heal us. In Matthew 18, Jesus tells a parable about a servant who owed his king $1 million. He begged the king for extra time to pay the debt, and the king took pity on him and canceled the whole debt. The servant then went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him $2,000. He grabbed him by the shirt and demanded immediate payment. The fellow servant pleaded for more time, but the servant refused and had the debtor thrown into prison. The king discovered what had happened and called the servant in. “I forgave you $1 million and you couldn’t forgive someone a few thousand dollars? I showed you mercy but you could not show mercy to another?” Then the Scriptures make an interesting statement, “In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart” (Matt. 18:34-35).

The king had the man thrown into prison for not showing forgiveness to another. Jesus says that if we don’t forgive someone who has hurt us or ripped us off, God will deliver us to the torturers or demons of hell. Even Christians at times can be tormented with confusion, frustration, depression or other ills brought on by the demons of hell if they choose not to forgive. Unforgiveness leaves the door wide open for the devil!

Forgiving those who have hurt us is the first step to being set free. We may not feel like it, but because God forgave us, we need to forgive others. God will bring emotional healing as we obey His Word and forgive from our heart in faith.

And Forgive Some More!

In addition to forgiving the person who has hurt us, we must also ask God to forgive the person. Asking God to forgive him or her is a vital second step of forgiveness we need to take so that we can be set free. Stephen, when he was being stoned, said, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:60). Jesus, on the cross, said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

A third step is to ask God to forgive us for any wrong attitudes or any attempt to hide our sin. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” The word “prosper” means “to break out of bondage.” If we hide our sin and are not honest about it, we cannot break out of the bondage of the sin. If we don’t ask God to heal us for wrong attitudes, then we cannot prosper in this area of our life.

A fourth step is to confess our faults to someone and have him or her pray for us so that God will heal us. The Scripture says in James 5:16, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

Ask someone to lay hands on you and pray for your emotional healing. This is why it is so important to be connected to the rest of the Body of Christ through a local church. As you meet together with other believers, ask the Lord to show you someone you can trust to pray for you. The Lord wants to heal you and set you free.

A Sound Mind

We live in a day of extreme stress. Many of us face mental anguish. Jesus came to set us free from this curse on our mind that has its root based in unwholesome fear. The Scriptures tell us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (NKJV).

God’s purpose for your life is for you to have a sound mind. Perhaps your ancestors had some type of mental problems. God says that you can be free from that curse in Jesus’ name. As I was growing up, I can vividly remember various members of my extended family who had a history of mental illness. I feared that I would spend periods of my life in a mental hospital like some of my family members. One day I came to the realization that I didn’t have to fear mental illness because Jesus Christ became a curse for me. By the grace of God, I have been freed from that curse.

The Lord’s will for each of us is to have peace of mind. The Bible says that the Lord “will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3).

Since I have been set free from the curse, in Jesus’ name, the Lord has delivered me from the fear of mental illness. We serve a good God. We can trust Him. He has promised us perfect peace as we continue to focus on our heavenly Father, the author of all peace (see 1 Corinthians 14:33). Through faith in Jesus Christ, you and I are in a brand-new family, the family of God. We have a brand-new household, the household of God. Our new Father in heaven does not have any mental problems at all.

We can break every curse that is over our life, in Jesus’ name. By the grace of God, I have broken every curse over my life. I am a free man! Today is your day of freedom. Today is the day for any curse over your life to be completely broken. God has created you to commune with Him. When we are free from the noise of demonic bondage, we are then in a position to hear God’s voice clearly.

This article is reprinted from Larry Kreider’s book,  Speak Lord, I’m Listening.

About Larry Kreider

Larry has spent the past four decades training leaders to make disciples with the small group concept. Larry serves as the international director of DOVE International, a worldwide network of over 1,000 churches in 26 nations. Larry has written more than 40 books and travels extensively teaching and imparting practical discipleship to leaders globally. Read about Larry or catch up on Larry’s blog.