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  #1  
Old 09-18-08, 01:50 AM
miraclebruin miraclebruin is offline
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Default Unforgiveness Causing Distance from God?

Hello. Iím new to these boards. It looks very helpful and Iím grateful I can ask questions here and get compassionate, thoughtful and spiritual answers.

So, with that said, I have a problem I would love some prayer and advice on. I became a (true) Christian about 8 years ago-at age 22. I was so grateful bc God saved me out of such a shameful and unhealthy life. I couldnít get enough of Godís presence in my life for the first five or six years-even until last year, I felt I could taste a piece of Heaven just praying to my God. I guess I am a bit of an emotional person ☺ Anyways, I moved to Turkey to try to do ministry work while pursuing a new field of work here as well. I am enjoying the experience, tho its very difficult, but, sadly, I donít feel like Iím in a good position spiritually anymore to do any good for God.

I feel that things started to change in me about a year or so before coming to Turkey-I became an angry person and started to lose my passion towards God. Anger was an emotion I didnít really experience much before. I came from an abusive family. My father, an alcoholic to this day abused me for most of my childhood life (til 14). I believe my problem with God is in the fact that I cant forgive my parents, tho I have tried and tried.

I used to feel the presence of God and that He was listening and there for me constantly but now I cant feel anything but guilt because I feel I have lost my ability to pray (sometimes I just sit with God trying to form prayers to little avail) and I think more of myself in prayer than others and I am so caught up with my difficult new career and the difficult new life-not speaking the language well, etc etc, I donít know how to be effective here for God as I felt I was at home and with all this combined all I feel is guilt. I read the scriptures to remind me of the truth-that I am always forgiven and accepted and loved by God-that he will never leave me or forsake me, etc, but I just cant keep it in my head or heart long enough to battle the lies, it seems.

I think unforgiveness is my major problem but let me tell you about that. I never really felt angry at my dad for the perverted things he did-I felt sorry and disgusted but the anger was never directed at him. It was all directed at my mom. I was so angry at her for allowing him to abuse me the way he did, and I guess I still am. I donít think about it, I try to work it all out in my head to be compassionate towards her and I try to treat her much differently than I did before I was a Christian. I try to serve her, be affectionate with her when I can stand it, and I try to listen and accept her weaknesses, but my heart wont let me. All the while-I feel nothing towards my dad- in the way of anger-infact he has been my closest friend in the family for a number of years. I know this sounds twisted but its just the way it is. Iím 30 now and I have seen many counselors over the years and the spirit of Jesus, Himself was the best counselor ever, but now I feel stuck. I am trying to move forward and forgive both of them-I know I have to embrace the pain in order to truly fogive but I donít know how to do that either (towards my dad) and I certainly have embraced pain have with my mom, so after that how do you change your heart to forgive-I donít feel like itís a choice-I wonder if God finally ďgrantsĒ it. The worst part about it for me is that I donít feel any connection to my God anymore and Iím terribly, terribly sad about that.

I know you may not be trained professionals in these types of issues but please offer me some spiritual advice if you can. Sorry for writing so much! Thanks a lot, prayerfully-Miraclebruin
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  #2  
Old 09-18-08, 04:35 AM
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Charles Charles is offline
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Unforgivness does cause a barrier between us and God. In the Lord's Prayer Jesus teaches us to pray forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

I can understand a bit of where you are coming from on this. My parents separated before I was born and shortly I had a stepfather who had a very bad temper and seemed to focus it on me a lot. My mother gave me away to her parents who were generally good to me but never affectionate. I resented everything about the situation from the physical hurts to the rejection and feeling that both parents had thrown me away. My father lived in the same town but did not support unless I was sent to beg for it and did not allow me to be part of his life. My two sets of grandparents hated each other. I felt that my step siblings had a mom and I didn't. I was in church when I was little but got into some really bad things as I got into my teens. My aunt and uncle tried but all I got out of that was some religion and religion couldn't fix me. Finally the Lord got through to me and I was born again and very on fire for God. It has not been easy bit it has also now not been my effort really but now I have a relationship with my mother and with my stepfather. I probably have a closer relationship with them than my step brother and stepsisters do. I couldn't forgive on my own I had to ask Jesus to do it in me. There was no other way. He taught me that forgiving is a choice not a feeling. Going to the cross was a choice. It did not feel good to Him but it was necessary. There was no other way that would work. There was no other way that would work for me about my family either. I could either forgive them or block myself off from God's forgiving me and I needed a lot of God's forgiveness. I did not get warm sweet feelings for them right away. I did get an ability to tolerate them and that was pretty big. I had to ask Jesus to help me love them with His love.

You say you want to forgive but can't. Do you want to forgive or to feel like you've forgiven? There is a difference. You did not take your salvation just on feelings. You didnít feel saved before you received the Lord, did you? You won't feel forgiving towards your mother before you forgive either. Make the choice. Pray for her and bless her the way Jesus said in Matthew 5. You may have already done this and just got messed up because you thought you were supposed to feel something that you were not feeling yet.

The devil is giving you a hard time because you don't have certain emotions. The emotions don't determine if you forgave. An apple seed may take a long time to become a tree with apple on it but it is an apple seed not a prune from the first moment. The choice to forgive will grow and bear fruit in your life but it too may take time just like the apple tree. The devil is the accuser of the brethern. He is also a liar and the father of lies. He's been screaming condemnation in your ear and you've been listening. Quit listening. You're doing a lot of the right things, using God's word to answer the accusations. But partly you are believing the lies too.

Do you have any Christian fellowship there? Anyone who encourages you to know who you really are in Jesus? Any place you worship together with brothers and sisters in Jesus and learn His word? Be careful who you listen to. Some advice and counsel you get is not a good thing. The ways of Jesus and the ways of the world are very different. The world says someone must be sorry before we can forgive. Jesus just says forgive. The world says feel all the pain. Jesus says I bore your pain and your sorrows and your sins. The world says some things damage you beyond recovery. Jesus says you are a new creature in Him.

Forgive yourself for not forgiving. Give that sin too to Jesus and let Him make you clean and free from it. Once you give it to Him it's not yours any more. You don't have to struggle with it. Put your attention onto Jesus and not onto the sin and trust Him tom take care of it and you.

I am not a psychiatrist but I have been an ordained minister and counselor since 1980. I've seen Jesus do a lot of things. I've seen Him heal a lot of people's hurts that the world said could not be healed. I have never seen Him fail. He won't fail you.

I will be praying for you.
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  #3  
Old 09-18-08, 04:46 PM
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Ann Ann is offline
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Hello miraclebruin welcome to ilj I hope you will come back often and fellowship.

It sounds as if you are feeling a lot of condemnation about having anger and about whether you have forgiven. Romans 8:1 promises us "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Condemnation comes from the devil, directs our attention to ourselves, and tells us we are wrong, bad, missing God. It leads to our being separated from God. Conviction comes from the Holy Spirit, directs our attention to Christ, and tells us God is good and shows us how to get from where we are to where God wants us. Conviction helps unite us with God through Christ. Look at your post and your feelings. Which do you see conviction or condemnation?

What you said about your reactions to your parents is not as strange as it may seem to you. An abused child will often identify with the abuser, seek their favor and find it easier to make excuses for them and see their illness. It is often not a healthy mind set but is very understandable from the child's emotional state. It starts as a hope that by loving them the child can make them love him or her and not hurt any more. When I worked in child welfare that was one of the signs we were taught to look to help us identify which parent was responsible for abuse. The other parent, especially if the other parent is the mother, becomes the focus for much anger and mistrust which is rooted in feelings of betrayal. A child instinctively feels mother should protect them. In many ways failure to protect makes that parent a party to the abuse. Sometimes that parent also allows the abuse of the child because they think it keeps themself from being further abused. Sometimes they think they are doing a good thing when they teach the child to accept the abuse or try to teach them to love the abusing parent. This failure to protect and get help is a symptom of sickness too but often harder to see. This parent is also perceived as less powerful and therefore as less dangerous on which to focus negative feelings negatively. You may well know all this consciously or unconsciously and may have gone over and over it in therapy. But as you said "the spirit of Jesus, Himself was the best counselor ever". He still is.

Secular counseling generally tells us to look at all the bad stuff, come out of denial, work through our pain by focusing on it. For many of us that just doesn't work effectively. We get stuck in the bad stuff and can't get free of it and the more we try to focus on the bad stuff to work through it the more it overwhelms us. Religion on the other hand tells us to deny the pain and sin and that doesn't work either because we know it is real. Jesus Christ is the only one with the guts to help us look at sin directly, recognize it for what it is as bad as it is, acknowledge it in all the yucky horror of it and recognize that we can not do a thing about it in our own but that He has already paid the full penalty for it. We see a whitewashed cross sometimes. We need to see the cross with his blood running down and recognize that it was not the spikes in his wrists and feet that held Him there but His love for us and His determination to pay the price of sin for us so we can be in Him. Jesus Christ doesn't make sin better He makes it gone whether sin done by us or to us he is the only real answer. Everything else is just a band aid on a slashed artery, supposed to help but useless. Now having gone to the cross for you, having win you to Himself by His own blood and by the drawing of the Holy Spirit is Jesus going to let satan take you away now by getting you to focus on your feelings? Of course not. If you had a 100 carat diamond that you just paid $3,000,000 for and someone dropped it in the commode would you flush or would you get it out and clean it off again? Silly question maybe but you are Christ's diamond. He paid a price for you far costlier than $3,000,000 or even $300,000,000. He knows the substance of the life that is inside you because He put it there, He is not going to let you rest in mucky feelings nor will He flush you away.

You have tried to feel forgiven and probably tried to feel forgiving too. Forgiving is not a feeling but a decision. Just as Jesus decided to go to the cross for you. The feelings come after the decision is made. But even when we are emotional we can't let feelings and emotions rule our lives. Feelings can be effected by loneliness, by what we had for supper, by health, by the weather, etc. We have to live in facts. The fact is that you either chose to forgive your father and your mother or you can choose to do it now. Once done it's done. From then on when the memories of being hurt, of not being protected come you can say - out loud if possible - I have forgiven. Then deliberately put your mind on what Christ did for you. Those first months and years you were in love with Jesus Christ to the point where that was all that really mattered. Then came cares of life and they began to claim your attention. Then came focusing on whether you had forgiven. Then focusing in how you feel. The way back is simple - not easy just simple. It is the same way you were born again to start with. Lord Jesus I need You. Please forgive me and make me clean and make me Yours. Feelings may flood or they may hide but God's word says in John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Christ does not lie.

Some basic environmental rearrangement can help you keep your focus on Christ and not on feelings. Keep inspiring Christian music playing as constantly as you can. Even in the background as you do other things it helps to set the tone of your thinking. Even if you can't sing in the shower sing along with them sometimes. Play Bible CD's or tapes. Psalms and the gospels especially or go to http://www.audio-bible.com Make yourself signs or pretty posters with scriptures that inspire you and hang them where you will automatically see them. http://www.heartlight.org/art/ is one good source for free pictures and scripture together. Put post it notes with your favorite scriptures on the bathroom mirror, on the door as you go out, on the dashboard if you have a car. This is part of hiding God's word in your heart. Psalm 119:11 "Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee." is one of the many places in the Bible that tell us that His word can fill our hearts and minds and form our thoughts and lives for Him. Praise is a mighty weapon. Remember 2 Chronicles 20 especially verses 20-22. If you have gotten to where you feel condemned in reading you may need to take your word in small doses at first one or 2 or 3 or 4 short scriptures at a time like a person suffering from malnutrition who can not digest a huge meal at first which is one of the things that makes picture signs a joy but as you do that and pick verses that bring joy not condemnation your ability to eat and digest God's word will grow.

You are precious in God's sight.
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1Peter 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ... Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matthew 25:40 & 45

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  #4  
Old 09-20-08, 01:21 PM
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tann tann is offline
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I certainly understand your feelings about your family..

And the thing that comes to my heart to share with you is that I had walked close to the Lord for many years before I knew it was ok to be angry..
He tells us to be angry but not to sin..
The sin is to let that anger do harm to yourself and to others..
And Your feelings..can't trust those feelings sometimes..

Sometimes you have to make the choice to go by faith and not feelings..
God says He is near you..He is..
God says you are a new creation in Christ Jesus ...you are..
God says you are able overcome all things , you can in His Holy Spirit..

The same Spirit that raised Christ Jesus from the dead dwells in you...
How awesome is this...
and you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you..

The Word of God is so important to our walk when our feelings betray us..

If you have chosen forgiveness, as Corrie Ten Boom is noted to say, when you stop ringing a bell it will still sound a bit before it stops all together..or something like that..
In your forgiveness you have stopped ringing that bell of unforgiveness..
When you hear the sound of it ..remember you have forgiven and the sound will stop ...
Walk in faith believing until you see it in your life..

Begin to praise God ... just sing with your heart...joyful joyful praise and He will fill you up ...He will lift you up..He will hide you in His holiness and you will find the sorrows of the past fading away in His presence..
Praise Him and keep on praising Him..major important thing for you to do...

He will take away those sorrows.. they will fade away like a cloth bleaching in the "sonlight" ... be patient with yourself and His work in you..

Praise God you know Him and can come to him and tell Him your battles and know He will work all of this for good..
There is always a purpose in the battle we face..
He is making you stronger He is growing you up He is making you a testimony for the next person who comes along and is battling the same issues you are right now..
You will be able to nurture them and show them how good God is and how He will meet them.. you will know....
He is doing such a good work in you right now..
Let all of this do its job in your heart ..
Praise Him, trust Him, trust His word ...
Your feelings will follow ....I know they will...

Lord Bless this young woman and let the Joy of Your presence fill her heart and mind and bring her into a deeper understanding of who You are and Your desires for her ... assure her and give her confidence that this time will pass and she will know You in a much deeper way...
Joy will come in the morning ..after the darkness has passed..

There is one more Scripture that comes to my heart..
there was a man who was called a "watchman" in the Old Testament ..
He watched from the walls of the city and from the mountaintops and he would tell those who wanted to know if the sun was rising..
I can say to you the sun will rise ... joy will again fill your heart you will feel His love and presence...

Quote:
"Watchman , Watchman , what of the night ..
tell me doth the sun fail..?
Watchman watchman, what of the night..
tell me, doth the night prevail..????

No, the sun doth shine the sun doth shine bringing forth the day..
The sun doth shine the sun doth shine bringing forth the day..


I looked up the Corrie Ten Boom quote and here is the link..

Ringing Bell

This woman's life is an amazing testimony to all who suffer abuse of any kind..

Lord Bless you dear sister...
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Psa 36:7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Psa 36:8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
Psa 36:9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

Psa 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.

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