I attended Church this past Sunday. The lead Pastor Chris Lockemy, is giving a 4 week series on unforgiveness. I cannot stop thinking about this message. I encourage you to check it out on their YouTube channel. But I feel the need to share this because it shook me deep inside my core. Pastor Chris explains that unforgiveness is like a prison cell.
The prisoner is not the one we haven’t forgiven, it’s us. We are the prisoner in our unforgiveness. When we choose to not forgive someone, we are locking ourselves in a prison. There are 4 doors that contribute to our imprisonment in unforgiveness. These doors remain unlocked, we can open them at any time. But our unforgiveness has us shutting them often to assure we stay in our unforgiveness. The four doors Pastor Chris is going to address in the next 4 weeks are, hurt, judgment, defense, & revenge.
We stay in our imprisonment by holding these doors shut.
On Sunday, the door we looked at was the door “hurt”. We imprison ourselves by holding on to our past hurts. We can’t be free because we keep that door shut. We can’t just forgive the person that hurt us. Pastor Chris explains being hurt as an “unmet expectation”. When you have an expectation of someone, and they don’t meet that expectation, hurt occurs. It’s the gap between our expectations and our reality. Hurt comes from your heart.
Matthew 18:35 says “This is how my heavenly Father will treat you unless you forgive your brother or your sister from your heart“.
Proverbs 4:23 says “Above all else. guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it”.
The hurt we feel is in our hurt.
The Story of Joseph
I learned this incredible story. Many would probably be too embarrassed to admit this. I didn’t grow up in a church, so a lot of the stories I hear, its the first time I have heard them. I loved hearing the story about Joseph in the old testament. He was a brother of 12, who later became the 12 tribes of Israel. Joseph was one of the younger brothers to a Father of Israel, and he was favored. Joseph has these dreams that all his family will be bowing down to him, and he would share this with everything. One day his brothers saw him coming, and they wanted to get rid of him. So they stripped him of his identity and threw him in a pit. As the story continues you see Joseph being forgotten about and thrown into a pit in most of his relationships. In our time the pit represents all of our hurt. It represents that moment in our life that shot an arrow through our hearts. Joseph had a ton of reason to not forgive his brothers, but when they were in need he wasn’t holding onto that hurt. He gave them what they needed.
How To Find Your Original Pit?
The enemy will twist your life experiences to cause hurt and pain in your life. He wants you to live in a place of brokenness. The familiarity of hurt you felt is often revealed in an overreaction to a common unmet expectation you experience. It reminds you of the first time you were hurt, and all the times after. The past, your unforgiveness, is keeping you imprisoned. A lot of times hurt can be mistaken for anger, but anger is usually a secondary emotion. Which means it is triggered by emotions like fear, or sadness. Anger usually occurs because it’s a way our body can naturally numb the pain of our past hurts. It’s a defensive mechanism. There is a primary emotion that you’re trying to protect. You just need to dig deep.
Being able to accept your true feelings without judgment is not easy. Fear & sadness are uncomfortable emotions. Especially for people who like to be in control. Anger tends to make you feel in charge, and in control of your emotions. Whereas fear & sadness can make you feel vulnerable and helpless. It may be helpful to pause and ask yourself; How do I feel? Give yourself a minute to process the primary emotion driving this anger inside of you. If you are in the habit of covering your primary emotion of fear, this will take time. You are retraining the way your brain processes its reactions. It does not happen overnight. But when you’re able to identify your primary emotion, we are able to open that door and find healing.
Sunday Pastor Chris called the church to identify their original hurt. To revisit that hurt with God, so He can heal it. The Pastor encouraged us to allow God to heal our hurts so that the provision of our pain points to our purpose. If you’re familiar with the enneagram, I am a 9. I am your casebook peacemaker. Hearing that healing with God can point to His purpose for me, was exciting. I wanna do what I can to please my heavenly Father. I have such a strong desire to make him proud, to follow his calling for my life. I have been a people pleaser my whole life. I remember as a child I didn’t need to be spanked because once someone would raise their voice at me, I would start crying and beg for forgiveness. My parents were divorced, and my brothers struggled a lot because of that. But looking back now I never allowed myself to feel a certain way because I just wanted everyone to be happy. As I’ve gotten older I see that I allowed the people pleaser in me take away from the well being of my own health. People that I care about influenced my perceptions of everything I knew and loved. I grew up telling myself that I didn’t have a voice, I didn’t matter, no one cares about me, etc. I remember saying if they loved me than they would… fill in the blank. And when those things didn’t happen (because people don’t read minds) it reassured my brokenness. I grew up believing that people only liked me if I could do something that made them happy, not 90% of the time, but all the time. I lost myself for years, but in Christ, I’m walking out of my pit. There is still a long way to go, but I remind myself daily that God doesn’t love me because of what I do or don’t do, He just loves me. I can’t earn it, I don’t deserve and I am finding those words so comforting. When you lose yourself to people-pleasing, you find comfort in knowing that you can’t earn, or don’t deserve someone else’s love. But what really gets me through is, I think about how dearly loved I am by my Father in heaven. That knowledge gives my soul life, and there is a peace that is hard to describe. I am becoming okay with just allowing myself to feel the sadness life can throw at me, but deciding that my faith in God is more powerful than this life I live.
I have a lot of forgiveness to give, things I didn’t even realize I was still holding onto. A past abortion that has filled me with so much sadness, that sometimes I forget that what Christ has done for me is greater than my abortion. I have been a victim of sexual abuse that has covered me in shame and changed my view of sex for many years. I became a teenage mom because I didn’t have a mentor or a confidante when coping with all the fear and sadness I was facing. I have been so deep in the pit that I believed taking my life would be the best outcome for all those who are a part of my life. But my dear friend, I am in recovery. I can see the light, and I am not carrying this load alone. I can see all the times God was with me, even when I felt alone. When he looked out for me, even while I was lost & broken. If it’s God’s will, I hope to share these stories with you one day. To be able to put into words how I found light in the darkest moments of my life.
I pray that my story, & the message from Pastor Chris makes an impact in the life of those who hear, the same way it has impacted me. I pray for the people who are suffering from brokenness and unforgiveness. I pray that they can experience Your love, Your grace, & Your mercy.
THANK YOU. As always I appreciate you taking the time to read this, I hope it has blessed you. Send me a DM on Instagram. Let me know what you think of this message and how it impacted you. I want to Pray with you. I want to walk with you on this difficult journey.