“God desires that we find fulfillment in our relationships with others. Peter encourages us to love one another “with a pure heart fervently” (love deeply from the heart). That kind of love reaches out to others in response to their needs, building bridges that pass over the difficulties. But satan desires to destroy our relationships and he continually promotes the building of barriers, rather than bridges, between ourselves and others.
“As children, our first relationships were with parents and other family members. As we grew, we made friends with those outside the family circle in school, in church, and at work. As adults, the relationship with a spouse was designed by God to be the closest and most meaningful of all. Most of us have experienced problems in each of these areas to one degree or another.
We need to recognize that satan’s purposes are served when we have problems in our relationships, and we must also understand the source of the barriers to love so that the walls between us can be broke down. There are seven barriers that satan uses frequently to undermine believers’ relationships.
1. Bitterness and Resentment 2. Pride 3. Dishonesty 4. Lack of Acceptance
5. Hypocrisy 6. Immoral Activity
7. Generational Sins.
“First we must determine, ‘What is the barrier that is keeping me from having an open relationship?’ One first must acknowledge that something is hindering the relationship, then one must be willing to honestly consider whether he is bitter, prideful (focused on himself) or dishonest; he must be willing to confess his dishonesty, lack of acceptance of others, or unresolved moral issues; he may need to review his experiences within his family of origin to see if he recognizes the presence of generational sin of which he was previously unaware. By discussing the various barriers, in the context of the unsuccessful relationship, and eliminating the ones that do not appear to be relevant, the existing barriers may be identified.
“Once the barriers have been identified, a person must learn how to tear them down in order to renew the relationship. If bitterness is the problem, the person must choose to forgive and release those towards whom bitterness is directed; pride and hypocrisy must be confessed, as must unresolved moral sins of the past. Whatever the issue is, it must be resolved through confession followed by prayer. The person needs to pray that God would open his or her heart to others and that there would be no remaining barriers. Finally, the person must be willing to go to those with whom he or she desires to rebuild relationships and share with them the process he or she has been through in hopes of making the relationship work.”
Barriers to love ~ John Regier
This article above has had a tremendous impact in my life, and I thought it would go nicely with what I am writing. This section will be focusing on bitterness and resentment.
How to tell if you have bitterness –
Bitterness and Resentment are attitudes that keep us from responding to another individual. Bitterness causes us to put up an emotional wall to protect ourselves from being hurt again by those outside influences; but the hurt develops inside. It prevents us from being open with others and causes us to become negative and critical.
Have you ever been in a situation where one of your family members is doing something you just don’t like? Whether it just irritates you or even if what they are doing really hurts, and you just don’t know what to do about it. You don’t have the close relationship you really want with them. Right now you love them, but you just don’t like them. Time will pass and tension will ease, things will get a little better because you have “forgotten” for a time what happened that hurt you, or made you mad. But as soon as something happens that reminds you of past situations, the pain flashes in your face again. You say you have forgiven them but you are still feeling bitterness towards them.
If you can at all relate to this, you and I are a lot alike. For years I struggled with forgiving people, especially family members. The pain in my heart was too great to forgive them. I thought my pain demanded justice, not forgiveness, but I knew that forgiving them was the right thing to do. So I tried. But just saying “I forgive you” didn’t seem to work, the anger I felt didn’t go completely away. I wondered if I would ever be able to have a good relationship with this person again. I wondered if there was a way out of this pain.
But one day someone showed me a prayer that taught me how to forgive. It goes something like this …”YHWH (God), I acknowledge that over the years I have developed resentment and anger towards others who have hurt me. This caused me to experience inner pain and to build walls between others and myself. It has kept me from being open with them. YHWH I choose to forgive each individual who has hurt me. I am willing to accept the emotional pain they caused me. I desire to be free to love and be emotionally open with each person who has hurt me. I want to show them kindness, a tender heart, and a forgiving spirit. YHWH, reveal to me those areas of bitterness, resentment and anger within me that have been buried for so long. I want to identify and resolve each one of them. In Yahshua’s (Jesus’) name, Amen.” This prayer above is just a heart felt confession of wanting to do what’s right. This prayer below is the one that really helped me to resolve the bitterness I was feeling. Repeat prayer with each issue: “YHWH I choose to forgive (name of person) for (issue) causing me to feel (pain words). I am willing to accept the emotional pain and consequences that (person) has caused me. And I ask you Heavenly Father to take back the ground I have given to satan through my bitterness, and I yield that ground to your control.”
Some of you may be wondering “Why do you have to list the emotional pain words in that prayer?” This helps you to get into your heart and not just in your head. By using the pain words, you will more easily connect with the painful experience, and will be able to connect to your heart in prayer. (You can find a list of pain words through the Regier’s ministry). If you feel nothing while you are praying, it is most likely from your head, and not from your heart. This probably will not bring you to freedom from your pain. You may have just “forgotten” for a time, what happened that hurt you.
This is why the “pain words” are needed to help bring the situation back into focus enough to really forgive. In order to forgive a family member or person you know, you have to, in a sense, put yourself back in the situation and relive the pain you felt. Then while feeling the pain accept the situation, as it is, unchanged. If in the face of the pain you make the choice to forgive, it is really forgiven. Being willing to forgive even when it really hurts, shows true love, and eventually with a lot of hard work, it will bring you and your family closer together. This may seem hard to do, but if you put your trust in YHWH and take that step of faith, it is well worth it.
When we are willing to forgive, as He forgave us, He takes the pain, and leaves us with a clean joyful heart! It is the pain that causes us to make the choice not to forgive, and to demand justice of others, like I did in the beginning. The pain is what caused me to demand justice, and can either turn to anger, or depression. For me it was anger. To achieve true freedom from bitterness, depression, or anger, it must come from the heart. The heart is what we live from, and what is in your heart, is who you really are.”..Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34 and Matthew 15:18).
If we are speaking words of anger, or discontentment towards another person, that shows that we still have bitterness towards them. Now, this does not make you or me a bad person, it just shows that we all are human, and we all are damaged. There is a reason for every person’s pain in their heart, and we must not judge and call someone bad, when they, like the rest of us are damaged individuals. This damage can be healed through prayer and a loving God, who can prompt healing to the heart. YHWH loves us and wants us all to be made whole. And He made a way through His Son who bore the emotional and physical pain and consequence of our failure. (John 3:16) If we let Him, He can change our lives forever.
If you feel that you are still not set free from that pain, it may be connected to some other issue that has happened in your past. This article is mainly dealing with how to over come bitterness, and to truly forgive family members, or others who have hurt you. The man who wrote the article above, John Regier, goes on to explain that there are many different types of damage, and prayers to resolve them. A prayer to resolving bitterness is just one of them. Things like: Pride, Rebellion, Moral impurity, Abuse, Neglect, Temporal Values, Occult Activities, Generational Sins, and many more, all can be repaired and sin can be forgiven with our Savior’s help. And most importantly, you can go from a miserable life, to a life of freedom! When we give it to YHWH instead of just forgetting it, then we have won the victory, and satan can not keep us down!
If you would like to contact John, you can visit his web site at www.caringfortheheart.com or call his office around 8:30 am, Mountain time. If you can’t get him, you can call any other time and get his secretary. His number is (719)-572-5550. He mainly deals with couples, or people who are planning to get married, but he also has a program coming out for singles. He truly has a heart to help people get set free from past situations that have damaged their hearts.