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Healed From Past Hurts

The following is a composite of extracts from some very helpful books by various Christian Counsellors.
Each of these books should be available from either the publishers or via

by Elizabeth McDonald
5th July 1998


Counselling: Articles   |   Foundations: Index


A Message of Hope

"As you browse through your local Christian bookstore, there is a dazzling selection of self-help book written to help believers deal with their deepest pains.  In spite of the exhaustive studies, enlightening findings, intensive therapies, and sincere motives of the authors, complete healing still seems to be an elusive goal.

"Dear reader, you may have been told that your depression, your insecurity, your fear of failure, or your unhappy marriage resulted from mysterious secrets buried deep within your subconscious.  You may have been told that you will need years of therapy to be healed of sexual or mental abuse.  You may have been told that your problem is genetic and that there is nothing you can do except to dull the pain with medication.

"It is my firm conviction that our Lord Jesus has provided everything we need for a full and productive walk with God in the Scriptures.  I believe this not merely because I have seen it work, but because the Bible makes that claim:

"According as His divine power hath given unto us ALL things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue" (2 Peter 1:3, emphasis added)" [1].


The Bible and Human Complexities

"The Bible speaks to the whole person both individually and within society.  The Bible speaks to one's innermost being, including the mind, heart, soul and all that is non-physical - the spirit or psyche.  The Bible also addresses the external behaviour of the individual, both as the manifestation of the inner life and within the context of other people and external circumstances.

"In other words, the Bible addresses the entire human condition:

"For the Word of God is quick [alive], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart" (Hebrews 4:12).

"As God's Word is read, as doctrines are taught and learned, as teachers exegete Scripture, as fellow believers testify of Christ and live the Christian life in close proximity to other believers, the Word is planted in hearts and the water of life brings growth" [2].


Digging Up the Past

"Do we have to delve into the past to be able to solve our problems?  I heard a popular Bible teacher say that it is necessary to go back to one's childhood to find answers for the present.  That approach, however, is not biblical. ... On the other hand, when the Bible takes people to the past, it takes them to the cross, not to their childhood.  The cross is where the answer for sin is found ... We certainly do not want to make light of those who experienced true child abuse.  Yet going back to our childhood and blaming parents for the way we are now is not the answer.

"Surely, many people have had awful, wretched childhoods.  After all, sinful descendants of Adam raised us.  Yet the solution is not digging in the garbage piles of our past - the answer is at the cross.  At the cross, there is more than just salvation from hell; there is the power to overcome the past.  We are given a new start on life.  No matter how awful our past was, the rich resources of Christ allow us to forgive any wrongs done to us.  Sometimes people will carry bitterness toward someone who has harmed them.  But as we are forgiven by God, we are now able to forgive those who have harmed us" [3] and [4].


Leaving the Past Alone

"There is nothing in Scripture that tells us we need to return to the past to accomplish inner healing.  Instead, the Bible says that God Himself

"healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds" (Psalm 147:3).

"If Christ's death on the cross has no bearing on our psychological well-being, then Isaiah 53:5 is meaningless:

"But He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed."

"When we come to Christ, we are healed [4].  How it must grieve the Lord when His children are told that they aren't healed, but that they are in denial and need to return to their painful past and reopen the wounds He has lovingly closed.  Paul, who once called himself the worst of sinners and knew the true meaning of suffering, wrote,

"...but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

"Originally, the term forget meant "to lose one's hold" on something.  In English, we sometimes think of forgetting as being unable to remember, but the concept Paul describes in Philippians 3 is far more active.  The forgetting he talks about is an active choice of refusing to mention again or determining to banish from one's thought - that is, to cease remembering.  This doesn't mean that a painful event or a bitter moment never again crosses your mind.  It simply means that by forgetting an offence you have chosen not to dwell upon it, but rather, to exercise forgiveness and to focus your mind on Christ, His kingdom, His people, and the needs of others" [5].


True Inner Healing

"The healing of our wounded hearts is not a matter of gazing within, focusing on the pains and sorrows of our past, or recalling our sinful failures for other people to analyse.  Permanent healing comes from enthusiastically living life God's way by joyfully following the principles He has revealed in His Word, and allowing the Holy Spirit to produce His fruit in us so that we become more like Christ" [6].


The Promise of Peace

"One of the deepest needs of the wounded heart is peace.  Paul connects peace with a spirit of thanksgiving.  He writes,

" every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus" (Philippians 4:6-7).

"While the world says that the only way a person can experience healing of the heart is to "work through" his past and to "embrace his pain", the Bible says that peace comes from prayer and thanksgiving" [7].


Finally, Beloved...

"Bless the LORD, O my soul: and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits:
Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases;
Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;
Who satisfieth they mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagles"
(Psalm 103:1-5)

"Blessed is the man ... whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season;
his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper"
(Psalm 1:1-3)

"I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly"
(John 10:10)

"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just,
whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report;
if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
... and the God of peace shall be with you"
(Philippians 4:8-9)




[1]  Ed Bulkley, Only God Can Heal the Broken Heart, (1995), Harvest House, Oregon 97402, USA, pp.8-10.

[2]  Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Competent to Minister, (1996), EastGate Publishers, California, USA, pp.74-76.

[3]  Gil Rugh, Psychology: The Trojan Horse, (1995), Indian Hills Community Church, Nebraska 68510-4499, USA, pp.18-19.

[4]  We are healed from the chains of the wounds inflicted by the abuses and past sins of others against us, such that we no longer need to live in the spiritually- and emotionally-crippling memories of those sins and abuses, and are no longer in bondage to them.  Please note, though, that this is not the same thing as our forgiveness of, and reconciliation with, those who in the past have abused or wronged us.  For discussions on 'positional forgiveness' and 'transactional forgiveness', and when it is Biblical to forgive or not to forgive someone their sin against us, please see the relevant articles/CDs/books here and quotes/comments here.  

[5]  Ed Bulkley, Only God Can Heal the Broken Heart, pp.193-194.

[6]  Ed Bulkley, Only God Can Heal the Broken Heart, p.281.

[7]  Ed Bulkley, Only God Can Heal the Broken Heart, p.226.





Thus saith the LORD,
Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way,
and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls
(Jeremiah 6:16)


We recommend the books from which we have drawn the extracts included on this page, but please note that we would not necessarily agree with every single word contained therein; neither can we necessarily vouch for any other articles or materials by the same authors, or any groups or ministries or websites with which they may associated, or the beliefs of whatever kind they may hold, or any other aspect of their work or ministry or position.

Elizabeth McDonald