By Elijah House Staff
When we meet Jesus, our mind and spirit hear the Good News and respond with joy. “Yes! This is what I want! Jesus is real and I need Him.”
However, parts of our heart do not get the message. Not at the beginning. We really are saved, but some of our old, self-centered character traits continue to act according to their old, self-centered ways, as though we hadn’t received the Lord. We still get triggered. We yell at our kids, bicker with our spouse or our friends, and in one way or another don’t display the nature of Jesus.
Heart healing is evangelism to the unbelieving parts of the believer’s heart. Many Christians can’t fully live out the gospel because they believe it only with their minds. Faith has not yet totally conquered their hearts. God honors the mouth’s confession (Rom. 10:9), but righteousness happens when our heart comes into agreement with what our mouth has confessed.
Heart healing reaches deeper into the heart of a born-again Christian with the Good News of salvation. In beautiful ways, it mirrors what Job went through in the Old Testament:
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you. (Job 42:5 NIV)
Perfect, but Still Maturing
The Apostle Paul refused to regard any Christian from merely a human perspective. We are the children of God, brought out of darkness into the light. At the same time, however, Paul made it clear that believers still need to be reconciled to God in certain ways and work out their salvation with fear and trembling. Both ideas are true. (See 2 Corinthians 5:17–20 and Philippians 2:12 for more.)
Positionally, we have been made perfect in Christ—but all of us need to take hold of our salvation and apply it to every area of our life. We need heart healing because we’re really good at suppressing pain, burying memories, and protecting our wounds so we aren’t hurt again.
Without meaning to, we end up keeping Jesus at a distance. Some places in our heart are so painful that we bury them alive, repressing the memory, and don’t even think to invite Jesus there.
“This is too ugly for Jesus.”
“I am ashamed of this. I need to make sure NO ONE ever sees this.”
“I am going to bury this as deeply as I possibly can.”
Jesus goes only where He is invited. He knocks on the door, but if we want to keep that door closed, He doesn’t force it down (Rev. 3:20).
Again, that is why we need heart healing. When the painful places begin to wake up inside us, we have to deal with them or they will just consume us. God heals at the right time—when we are ready to deal with the painful issues.
Heart healing is the process of healing those places inside us that have been left unhealed all our life.
How Long Does Heart Healing Take?
God is faithful to complete His work, and He will keep going until it is finished.
I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. (Phil. 1:6 ESV)
Heart healing is an ongoing process. We will deal with unhealed places for as long as we’re alive, but He will get the healing done. Our job is to cooperate with His process, however He goes about it.
Which areas inside your heart need a glorious meeting with Jesus—an encounter with His beauty and love that causes your heart to realize He really is good?
How Heart Healing Works
The first step in heart healing is realizing your need for it. “Wow. I keep getting angry.” Or “I keep getting jealous. This part of me doesn’t look like Jesus yet.”
A lot of us see our sin and feel ashamed, but the truth is, if we can see our sin at all, it is because of the Holy Spirit! He is the One who brings all things into remembrance. He shows us our need and then leads us to His comfort, which is the cross of Jesus Christ.
God Even Helps Us Forgive
The second step in heart healing is beginning to forgive the person who hurt you.
Most of us were taught that we need to forgive all at once, but that is actually impossible. Godly forgiveness comes from Him; it is not something we stir up or drum up or force our heart into.
When we have been really, really hurt, we might be able to give God only a piece of the forgiveness that is needed, but that is enough. He asks us only for what we have in the moment.
Godly forgiveness is very different from worldly forgiveness. His forgiveness flows in us when we are trying to live according to His ways. When we want to forgive, He receives our “widow’s mite” and goes to work, granting us the remainder of what is needed.
Sometimes forgiveness is instantaneous (depending on the wound and what God is doing), but sometimes it takes years. Whatever the case, the Lord will continue the work until we get to a place where we have 100% forgiven that person.
The Beauty of Repentance
The next step in heart healing is repenting for the ways we responded to the pain.
When somebody hurts us, we get angry because of the injustice and unfairness of it. We know it was wrong and that it shouldn’t have happened. If we don’t deal with the pain, it can begin to fester until we become an angry person in certain ways. Anger just springs up in our heart, even though we don’t want it to.
In Romans 7 Paul talked about doing the very things he didn’t want to do. Those reactions come from the wounded places in the heart that still need to see Jesus for themselves and be healed. The fruit of unhealed wounds looks like anger, hatred, bitterness, distrust—all sorts of things that affect our relationships. When the Holy Spirit shows us what’s going on, we repent for how we responded to the pain.
In the process of repentance, we need to make sure we forgive ourselves for how we responded when we were hurting. If we don’t apply forgiveness to all involved, including ourselves, we don’t get to walk fully in the comfort of the cross, which is resurrection life.
What Gets Rid of Sinful Practices?
When we recognize that we’re hurting the people around us, many of us try to force ourselves to change. We try to “kill” the sinful practice that is bringing additional pain. “I’m never going to yell at my kids again!” Or “I will not allow myself to get angry anymore.”
But we don’t have to kill sinful practices ourselves. The cross kills the sinful attitude that leads to the sinful practice. The cross is what puts sin to death, not our best efforts or legalism or performance. This is Philippians 1:6 again; it is part of the good work God is doing. When Jesus steps into a pitch-black room in somebody’s heart, that room floods with light. He heals, and He resolves what needs to be resolved.
Sanctification means being made holy, which is what the cross does. Our heart goes from stone to flesh. The place that used to be dark and sinful is resurrected and becomes fully alive. Where there was death, there is now life.
That is what heart healing looks like. Jesus steps into the dark places in a believer’s heart, introduces Himself, and makes those places holy. All of us need this, and all of us get to experience it.
If you’re interested in learning more about heart healing, check out the Elijah House School of Heart Healing! We have heard AMAZING testimonies of how God is using this school to change lives, and your life could be one of them. Click here to read more.