Session Six


If you want to fly, you need to break free from the stuff that weighs you down – your unforgiveness

Session Six

How do I let go of past hurts?

We are over half way through the teaching by Bill and Wilma Watson on how to remove emotional baggage. In this sixth session we’ll answer the question: How do I let go of past hurts.

In this session we’ll look at how to remove the baggage of unforgiveness.

Let us help you let go of past hurts.

We’re going to see that Lewis Smedes’ statement is true:
“To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you.”

Bill will seek to answer the question that maybe you have asked yourself at some point when you’ve been angry or offended with someone, “Why should I forgive?”

There are several reasons why we should forgive.

We’ll discover how bitterness, anger and revenge affects us spiritually, emotionally and physically.

The Bible instructs us to:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice (which is cruel talk).
Ephesians 4:31

Dr Michelle Strydom shares how bitterness can cause dis-ease. This is what she says happens medically to your body when you don’t forgive. Press play for audio as Jamie Burgess to read it for you.

If you make a decision by your free will to listen to the voice of your heart and reject that angry thought and choose to forgive that person, your heart will secrete a chemical called ANF (Atrial Natriuretic Factor).

It is very good for you – it produces health in your body, it motivates you and helps your brain to function more efficiently. ANF is the peace chemical that literally calms your whole body down and makes you feel at peace. When your heart is at peace, you are at peace.

If you make a decision by your free will not to listen to the voice of your heart and you choose to meditate on that angry thought, you begin to build a toxic thorn tree of bitterness in the brain. Also, because you did not listen to the voice of your heart, the heart doesn’t secrete ANF.

When we fail to forgive from the heart, we can form what the Bible calls “a root of bitterness”.

See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled. Hebrews 12:15 (ESV).

This is what a root of bitterness looks like!
A confrontation between mother and daughter. The daughter says to herself, ‘The last thing I want to do is hurt you… but it’s still on my list!’

We are told in Philippians 2:14 (Amp) to:

Do all things without grumbling and fault-finding and complaining [against God].

Disappointment, annoyance and anger at God can often come out of a misunderstanding of the word “sovereign”. Many believe that sovereign means that God can do whatever He wants.

Simply put, the word “sovereign” means “supreme ruler”. God is the supreme ruler of the universe. He has chosen to limit himself so that He could give us humans, a choice, a free will.

We live in a fallen, sin-sick world and the prince of this world, the devil, takes every opportunity he can to rob, kill and destroy us.

If you have been disappointed, annoyed or angry with God for not doing things as you had hoped, then you need to remove that bitter root because He can only do what is good!

Bitter-root judgments can not only destroy our relationship with God, but with others also.

Understanding bitter-root judgments has been such a huge help in many marriages. So let me explain what bitter-root judgments are.

Bitter-root judgments are our reactions to the wounds we have suffered from our parents or others from our past. Often these painful situations can push us to making inner vows which become binding.

Do you often wonder why you always react in a negative way when you are faced with a situation that reminds you of your past?

Maybe you have made an inner vow at some point as a result of a bitter-root judgment: such as, “I’ll never…” or “I won’t…

I know a lady who reacts strongly every time her mother-in-law interferes in her home affairs or with her children. She grew up with a controlling mother and now expects her mother-in-law to be controlling. A bitter root judgment against her mother drove her to vow that she would never be controlled like that again. As you can imagine this has lead to much conflict and pain in the home.

Bitter-root judgments and inner vows are one of the major reasons for marriage breakdowns.

The Bible tells us that when we plant seeds of judgment and condemnation, because of past hurts, they operate like a curse because we expect the same to happen again and/or bind ourselves with an inner vow.

The Bible says in Matthew chapter seven verse one:

Judge not, that you be not judged.

And it goes on to say in verse two:

For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it shall be measured to you.

Someone has said that hurt is what others do to you, but bitterness is what you do to yourself.

Allow me to quote Nelson Mandela: “Unforgiveness is like drinking a cup of poison and expecting it to kill your enemies”.

Beverley came to us for prayer. She told us how she was divorced. Her ex-husband had their small daughter for a weekend and, while drunk, he crashed the car and killed her. Her bitterness turned to hate and now it was affecting her body. After forgiving and releasing her former husband she was completely healed.

So how do we adequately deal with offenses and the anger we sometimes feel when we remember a situation?

There are four ways we can handle offenses

1. We can remain offended by denying it.
Convincing yourself that it didn’t hurt that much or excusing them by saying to yourself, “They didn’t really mean it”.

2. We can compartmentalise the offence.
Many are told when faced with a hurtful situation to just move on.

3. We can feel forced to forgive the offence.
Forgiveness can be a “forced forgiveness” by feeling that you should follow the letter of the law of forgiveness because the Bible tells you to forgive.
4. We can forgive from the heart.
Bill and I learned the need to forgive from the heart the hard way. We had shared in an area that had never heard of the gospel before, four days’ trek away in southern Ethiopia.

Thousands were saved and eight churches were established.

We received word a few days before Christmas that the unsaved chief of the area was very sick and in need of medicine.

We agreed that, for the gospel’s sake, Bill would take medicine to him, which meant that Wilma would be the only missionary on the mission station over Christmas.

Shortly after Bill returned we received a letter from our superiors accusing Bill of neglecting his wife.

Bill took offence and a few days later he was rolling around the bed with acute pain.

As we were several days away from a hospital Wilma radioed for an aeroplane.

Bill was operated on by a mission doctor. Upon performing a laparotomy, the doctor pointed out to Wilma in the operating room that the pain was caused by the juices in Bill’s intestine flowing backwards.

The doctor told Bill that this was caused by tension. It was brought on by Bill taking an offence and not forgiving.

Bill learned to forgive from the heart and, as a result, has never had that problem again!

How to forgive from the heart and be released from past hurts

In Matthew’s gospel, chapter 18:21f, Jesus clearly shows us how necessary it is to forgive from the heart. It tells of a servant who owed the King a large amount of money (millions in today’s money).

The King commanded him to be sold, with his wife and children, until the payment was made.

The servant therefore fell down before him, saying, ‘Master, have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ Then the master of that servant was moved with compassion, released him, and forgave him the debt. Matthew 18:26-27.

Note that the Master did two important things in order to forgive from the heart. He released and forgave him.

Jaime Burgess is going to read the rest of the story. Press play for audio or read on.

But that servant went out and found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii; ($44 in today’s money) and he laid hands on him and took him by the throat, saying, ‘Pay me what you owe!’
So his fellow servant fell down at his feet and begged him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you all.’ And he would not, but went and threw him into prison till he should pay the debt.
So when his fellow servants saw what had been done, they were very grieved, and came and told their master all that had been done. Then his master, after he had called him, said to him, ‘You wicked servant! I forgave you all that debt because you begged me. Should you not also have had compassion on your fellow servant, just as I had pity on you?’
Then the angry king sent the man to prison to be tortured until he had paid his entire debt. That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters from your heart.

The Bible tells us in Matthew 6:15 that there are serious consequence if we don’t forgive!

If you refuse to forgive others, your Father will not forgive your sins.

A man came to us for prayer. He was not able to close his hand for five years.

He had even undergone surgery to shift the nerve in his arm in order to try to correct the problem and give him back movement, but it did not work.

After he forgave all those in the past who had offended him, he got total movement back in his hand.

In Colossians 3:13 it tells us to:

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.

We have seen so many people healed after they have forgiven. A woman came to receive help with a gambling problem and a frozen shoulder. The reason why she was gambling was because she was no longer able to work due to her frozen shoulder. She forgave herself and others and her frozen shoulder was healed instantly.

Maybe your physical condition has its roots in unforgiveness. Press play for video on ‘The power of forgiveness’.

As we saw in the video, this is a key verse to forgive from the heart:

Forgive, and you will be forgiven.
Luke 6:37

In the Bible margin it says, “If you release, you shall be released.”

I was sharing with a lady who came for prayer that the word used for “forgive” in the original language in Luke 6:37 is not the usual word which is translated “forgive”. It is a different word that literally means, “be loosed from” or “released”.

She asked that I show her that in the Greek New Testament. When she read it for herself, she was so excited and said that it made all the difference to her.

When I asked what it was that made the difference, she told me she was Greek. And that this word meant to her, not merely to be untied or loosed, but to be set at liberty – away from the person or problem.

Maybe you have seen on TV a story of workers from a wild-life hospital releasing a bird that had been injured back into the wild.

Set at liberty = released and loosed away from

The cage door is opened, the bird hesitates (“too good to be true” look) then spreads its wings and flies away to freedom.

In order for the bird to be free there were two things that had to happen: firstly, the cage door had to be opened and secondly, to enjoy freedom, the bird had to fly away. Released from the cage!

In the story of the debtor who owed the king so much, it says the King both released and forgave the man’s debt.

True freedom comes when you forgive and release the person who has offended you and you are set at liberty by being released and loosed away from the person, time, place and trauma.

Luke 6 verse 37 begins with.

Judge not, and you will not be judged; condemn not, and you will not be condemned; forgive, and you will be forgiven.

When you judge and condemn someone, you are blaming them, even though the offender is blame worthy.
To blame someone means you have already judged them.
To shift the blame means you no longer condemn or judge someone for his or her actions – you choose to let go of the offence.

Luke 17:4 says in the Amplified Bible to consider the offence as annulled – cancelled, obliterated and as no longer existing:

You must forgive him (or her – give up resentment and consider the offense as annulled).

You can be released today by shifting the blame and handing the offender over to God’s love and mercy.

When you blame someone, that means you have judged them, you have deemed them blameworthy.
If you blame them you will have resentment towards them.
If you resent them you will have bitterness. Notice the way the arrows are going, you’ll then dislike or hate the offender.

This could lead to rebellion, anger and revenge as seen on the left side. Or, on the other side, it could lead to rejection by internalising the anger, causing you to not feel good about yourself and fall into self-pity.

Once, while using this flow chart, the lady asked, “Do you mind if I show this to my psychologist?” I said, “No, go for it”. She came back in a week or so and told me that he said, “Who gave you this?” When she told him it was her pastor he replied, “Then you don’t need me”.

I want to show you now, how unforgiveness can affect your mind and emotions.

When you blame someone you can find yourself escaping from the pain by fantasizing – as seen in the chart on the left side. This is followed by obsessive thoughts, which brings confusion.

On the other side, you have internalised the pain. Your emotions will be affected, anxiety and fear will be part of your life, which can them lead into depression.

See how the arrows flow down. With feelings of emptiness, bewilderment, despair and hopelessness, you now open the door to suicidal thoughts. Hopefully, you wouldn’t go as far as committing suicide, but you may wish you were out of here for the pain is too great.

Emotional pain, through unforgiveness, will eventually lead to health problems, which is known as psychosomatic illness.

Many try to relieve the pain by using various means, but it is like putting your finger in a hose to stop the water coming out. As you know, you can’t push water upstream. Water flows downwards!

Just as the arrows flow downward you have to return to where it started, cancel the blame and forgive. In other words – turn off the tap or faucet.

The emotional pain and symptoms will then leave.

Bill was teaching this material at a seminar one evening. A lady hadn’t seen or spoken to her dad for 20 years. She wrote her dad’s name down on a piece of paper forgave and released him. She returned to complete the seminar the next day very excited and this is what she told me. “When I got home last night I received a call from my dad in New Zealand, offering to send me money to visit him and restore the relationship. I’m sure that if I hadn’t forgiven and released him that would not have happened”.

Let me encourage you, to stop and write down the names of those who you have not forgiven from the heart – those who have misjudged you, snubbed you, robbed you, abandoned you, rejected you, offended you, cheated on you, shamed you or abused you, spiritually, physically, emotionally and sexually.

Maybe you need to forgive yourself too. Many find it the hardest to forgive themselves or even God.

Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. We find this so very helpful. Often people’s names and events come to mind whom they have compartmentalised or thought they had forgiven but had not really released and forgiven them from the heart.

Wilma is going to say the prayer to enable you to find a release and bring to the Lord the ones you have written down.

As we have previously seen in Matthew 18:35, we are to forgive from the heart. To pray from your heart, place your hand on your stomach, as a symbol, and pray from your inner most being (that is your spirit).

Press play for audio as you follow the prayer or read on.

Lord Jesus, please come into the broken parts of my heart and bring Your healing and wholeness.

I forgive and release all those whom I’ve written on this piece of paper. Please forgive me for judging and blaming them and for all cruel and hurtful words I have spoken about them.

As an act of my will and in obedience to your Word, I choose to forgive and will no longer judge or blame them for their actions, or words spoken against me.

I choose to forgive myself. I choose to release the judgments that I have made about myself, my parents, my siblings and others.

Father God, please forgive me for judging You wrongly. Forgive me for allowing bitterness to take root. I am so sorry!

Thank You, Jesus that Your blood has wiped my sin record totally out and I am free from all guilt and condemnation.

Father, fill me with Your love. I want to think the best of everyone and not keep records of wrong.

I choose now to bless the people I have written on this piece of paper and I ask that You would richly bless them also. In Jesus’ Name I ask it. Amen.

We showed the flow chart on shifting the blame to a doctor who came for prayer and his comment was that at least half of his patients could do with this teaching. So feel free to share it around with those you feel will be helped.

In the last lesson we will help you to be healed from a wounded heart. If this session has helped you then the next session is a must on breaking unhealthy soul ties.