Have you ever thought when faced with some sickness or physical problem, “If only Jesus was here on earth and healing still; I’d just go to him and touch him and be made well!”
I certainly have.
But I had a realization recently: Jesus himself, the head, is not physically with us here on earth, but his body, the church is. His Spirit, who empowers miracles, is. The Spirit of Jesus is present in the body of Jesus, the church, giving gifts to people as he wills, including the gift of healing, for the common good and to maintain the Body united.
Hezekiah, King of Judah, was very ill and “at the point of death” (2 Kings 20:1), when the prophet Isaiah comes to him with a word from the Lord telling him to get his house in order, because he’s going to die. Hezekiah reacts the way most of us would; in despair he cries out to God and “weeps bitterly.” God’s response is very quick; Isaiah hasn’t even left the palace when God’s word comes to him telling him to go back and tell Hezekiah that he’s heard his prayer, will heal him, give him 15 more years of life, and deliver the city from the King of Assyria.
One of the major issues with shame is that it blocks the essential process of recognizing and repenting of sin. This may seem counter-intuitive. Shame-filled people feel bad about themselves and feel they do wrong all the time. Shouldn't they be overly sensitive about their sin?
The answer is no. At least, not in the right way.
Shame. I'm no psychologist or expert, but I do have a lot of experience with that toxic emotion called shame.
Shame is more than an emotion. It's a total perception of yourself. It's the fundamental belief that you are worthless, bad, unlovable, unqualified. It silences your voice, causes you to retreat inside yourself, avoid relationship, and live in a toxic stew of depression, anxiety, and feeling bad about yourself all of the time.
This is certainly not an authoritative guide. I’ve had to do a lot of forgiveness, and this is what I’ve found works for me.
1. Recognize the need to forgive
This may seem obvious, but often it’s not. We may be suffering from anger, depression, and hurt over offenses that happened many years ago. Often facing those buried issues from the past and forgiving is the key to releasing that pain.
Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.