This is the third in a five-part series as we look at the five areas of pastor health. Last week, we looked at spiritual health and today we'll talk about emotional health.
This is often a difficult area for a lot of people but our Father wants us to overcome any emotional unhealth in our lives so we can live in freedom. Galatians 5:1 says
For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
Jesus came to "set us free." We are free from sin if we know Him as our Savior but we can still be free from our sins and not be totally free.
Free From the Past
I'm going to be totally transparent with you. When I was eight years old I was sexually abused by a man in my neighborhood. That's right: I'm a victim of sex abuse and for most of my adult life I wasn't free. Every time I thought about the abuse I forced myself to forget about it. I kept pushing my hurt deeper and deeper inside. Then one day I realized I needed to deal with it. I went to see a Christian counselor who helped me process through what happened to me.
You might not have been through something as traumatic as me but let me ask you: is there anything from your past that you have not fully dealt with? It could be a broken relationship or an issue with your parents. You might have been through a divorce and never worked through the pain from it. Whatever your issue is, almost everybody has somebody who hurt them and you will never live in freedom if your have not fully dealt with it.
Free Through Forgiveness
This past week I went on vacation with my family to one of my favorite vacation spots: Myrtle Beach. One day, while we were walking on the beach, I asked my wife, "How have we made it together for twenty-four years?" She answered with one word: forgiveness. She's right. In every healthy marriage there is a heavy dose of forgiveness. We all say things we don't mean to say when we are tired or stressed. I know I have said some really hurtful things to my wife and she has to me but we learned early on to be good at forgiving each other. The same is true in every relationship: we have to forgive others often. You might have people in your life who you need to forgive or you might find that the person who needs your forgiveness the most is you. We are often the hardest on ourselves because we think of all the things we should have said or done differently. Whether you need to forgive yourself or someone else, forgiveness is a key that will unlock the chains holding you back from freedom.
Jesus wants to set you free in every area of your life, including emotionally. So, let me ask you once more:
Is there anything from your past that you have not fully dealt with?
Our enemy wants us to hide our hurts out of fear or shame. Our Father wants us to reveal our hurts to a loving friend or counselor so we can be free.
Emotional health happens when we overcome the past and live free.