Can it Be That Easy?
How do we break free of destructive cycles of behavior?
Why is life filled with so many recurring problems? Why do Christians keep reaping negative fruit in their family relationships, in their finances or in their character? A simple truth was revealed to me years ago that has helped me very much. I was experiencing a hunger for more of God, little did I expect what He was about to do!
Our church was introduced to some life changing tools after attending meetings at Catch The Fire Toronto. Over lunch one day with Carol Arnott, she shared with us about a ministry called Elijah House in Spokane, Washington. Immediately my heart was curious. What is healing the heart, what are 'bitter roots', what does restoration of the heart really mean? Does God have a plan for my heart? I know He has a plan for my life. I hadn't realized how connected the two really are.
My wife and I were led to attend the Elijah House Basic 1 School. One of the truths that impacted me the most had in fact been right before my eyes, I had just never realized it!
“Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it will go well with you in the land that the Lord is giving you.” (Deuteronomy 5:16 NIV)
"The areas in my life where I was enduring recurring trouble... were identical to those struggles that my parents had experienced!."
This is the only one of the ten commandments with a promise. It hit me and still continues to impact me to this day. The areas in my life where I was enduring recurring trouble, not to be confused with those routine tribulations we all experience as a part of life, were identical to those struggles that my parents had experienced! Let’s get personal. My tendency for years of marriage was to filter many of my wife's helpful suggestions as criticism. At times her financial suggestions would be interpreted in my heart as ‘she is simply stupid.’ Unsuprisingly, that didn’t go over very well. Angry words would be said, a fight would erupt and I would promise to change but the patterns would just continue. This is what’s called a bitter root judgement, which is my sinful reaction to hurt. Unless forgiveness takes place, a judgement forms in the heart which will then be reaped back in primary relationships.
"See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:15 NIV)
"Even though they had been sowed many years before, the judgements I had made were now producing a defilement in my marriage."
I started to allow God to track these patterns in me to their root cause. Since His Spirit knows every moment of my life, it didn’t take long. Memories of my dad calling my mom ‘stupid’ and times my mom would criticize everything I did- at least, that was my perception -were brought back to memory. It's important to realize that perceptions, real or imagined, can still become powerful judgments of dishonor. Even though they had been sowed many years before, the judgements I had made were now producing a defilement in my marriage.
Honor means to hold in high regard and dishonor, just the opposite. By not honoring my parent's position and constantly judging their negative patterns of behavior, I had grown many roots of bitterness. I want to live long and I want my life to go well. I want to inherit the land that the Lord has promised me so I chose to allow the Holy Spirit to search my heart. I forgave and repented. From this moment, life started to change. It’s true, He makes all things new.
Since receiving the healing in my own heart and family, we have been able to share these healing principles with so many others and have watched miracle after miracle of lives made whole.
If you recognize these patterns within yourself, you may want to pray the following prayer:
“Lord, I recognize I have judged _______________________ for _____________________ and have locked myself into that same behaviour / attitude. I choose to forgive him / her for hurting me, and I choose to release my right to hold this hurt against him / her, knowing it is up to You only to judge all of us. Please forgive me for the sinful ways I’ve reacted and for the ways in which I have done the very same to others.
Lord Jesus, forgive me for judging _________________________. Now I see I am reaping the same pattern throughout my life. I choose to forgive, and release my anger and bitterness to You, Lord. Please remove it from my heart. Forgive me also for my part in tempting ______________________ to do the very thing I hated by the power of my expectancies.
Thank you for the transforming power of the cross. Amen.