Overcoming the Effects of Past Hurts


Inner Healing

Emotional and psycological hurt linger in the form of bad memories (thoughts of hurtful experiences from the past) and barriers to personal growth. They may even lead us into various forms of sin, emotional problems and physical illnesses.

Emotional and psycological hurts,including bad memories, are caused both by our sin and by our being sinned against. The healing of these past hurts restores the inward (unseen and unseeable) part of men and women, as opposed to purely physical, visible or outward healing. Therefore, the healing of past hurts is commonly called "inner healing".


Leading practitioners of inner healing have observed certain behavioural and emotional patterns that arise in people who have not adequately applied Christ's grace and forgiveness to the problems created by hurtful memories. The following characteristics are frequently found in people needing inner healing.

The burden of pain that we carry drains our energy from creative and productive activity and makes us feel unworthy, guilty, hopeless, broken and unforgiveable.

This burden would be destructive enough if it's effects went no further, but such is not the case.These negative feelings, now converted over a period of time into attitudes, begin to develop within us negative patterns of behaviour, and our past begins to destroy our present. That which is so negative begins to want to destroy itself, and so we develop habits of self destruction or habits of sin.

Some of the initial manifestations can be a judgmental spirit that is harsh and demanding on self and others, a strong perfectionist attitude demanding the impossible from self and others, a strong pattern of fearing future events, a sense of aloneness and abandonment whenever there are times of decision, a preoccupation with one's own guilt and a compulsive reaction to compete for position and success. Usually there is a constant expectation of growth or breakthrough to a new spiritual freedom, but it hasn't happened. It doesn'y happen because the heart is hurting.

Inner healing is indicated whenever we become aware that we are held down in any way by the hurts of the past. Any unreasonable fear, anxiety or compulsion caused by patterns built up in the past can be broken by prayer, provided the person is also doing his best to discipline his life in a Christian manner.

When the emotional and psycological effects of hurtful memories are not dealt with, physical problems like migraine headaches, sinus troubles, indigestion, nightmares, dizziness ect...

Memories of the Way we Were

It is impossible to correct wrong attitudes and emotions that result frompast hurts without in some way affecting how we cope with the painful memories of those bad experiences. These attitudes and ways of thinking, so deeply embedded in our hearts, subconciously hold us back from believing God's promises to us of peace, comfort and spiritual liberation from the past.

When we are held back by the guilt and pain coming from hurtful memories, we miss out on experiencing many spiritual blessings that God is more than ready and willing to give us. The broken heart is restored through release from the bondage to hurtful memories, a process that includes forgiveness and emotional reconstruction under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Many people cannot face their painful memories and suffer inevitable emotional trauma. They need the power of the Holy Spirit and the gift of faith to be able to face the past, thus freeing themselves to live fully in the present and the future. Understood in this way, the "healing of memories" is not the elimination of painful memories from our conciousness; it is God's Spirit taking away their sting and healing the resultant emotional damage.

Another way of thinking about the healing of bad memories is that though God does not eliminate the memories, He does reframe memories so they are no longer significant factors in how we feel, think and act. Their hurt recedes into the background. We may now think of ourselves as new creations in Christ, not as victims of past hurts--no matter how terrible or unjust those hurts may have been.


The most essential ingredient is inner healing prayer, the kind of prayer that gets to the deeper memories and associated hurts and bitternesses that hold us back from true freedom in Christ, is the two-sided coin of repentance and forgiveness.

See the parable of the unmerciful servant in Mathew 18:21-35. Jesus introduced the parable by saying there is no sin committed against us that we cannot forgive; then through the parable He taught that we can always forgive others because God has already forgiven us far more than we will ever need to forgive someone else.

The Lord forgives unforgiveable sins. The point is that when we have wronged God or someone else, we must learn to receive forgiveness, no matter how great our sins.

God has given us mercy, so we may extend it to others, and if we forgive others we will continue to experience God's forgiveness.

There is one last principle regarding forgiveness that is important to maintaining emotional health: Each Christian is responsible in every conflict to put things right by receiving or giving forgiveness. We have no right to withhold forgiveness or refuse to receive forgiveness, because God has extended His mercy to us. Extending forgiveness is implicit to reconciliation.


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