For the last year I’ve been thinking about Jesus’ end times warning; “the love of many will grow cold.” (Matthew 24:12) and the previous verses that many will be offended, betray one another and hate one another!
Believer or non-believer, we are all susceptible to wounding from offences, betrayal and the temptation to hate those who hurt us. Jesus also mentions lawlessness as a means of our hearts growing cold – perhaps through fear, or unbelief.
I’m often asked what does “inner healing” mean and why do we (LUV) make such a big deal of it in our leadership and discipleship teaching? I believe these verses in Matthew 24 are the reason inner healing is important – to guard against our hearts becoming cold. Jesus’ warning challenges me to continually check the condition of my heart and to encourage our disciples to do the same.
Jesus new commandment was “love one another as I have loved you; that you will also love one another; By this will all men know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another.” John 13:33-34.
This is God’s ideal but as our pastor reminds us, there is a gap between God’s ideal and our reality and that gap creates tension. If loving each other lets people know we belong to Jesus, then isn’t that love going to be our greatest test? Where our hearts and minds are concerned we continually need God’s grace to heal from offenses and wounds we receive everyday living in this broken world.
Revelation 12:12 says in the last days the enemy will rage against God’s people. Isn’t it likely that he will try to destroy the very witness where Jesus said His people will be recognized – in their love for Him and for one another?
That is why I believe inner healing is necessary. We need to know how to find healing for the wounds that can make our hearts grow cold towards Jesus and each other.
Paul says that to have love is better than having knowledge 1 Corinthians 8:1. I may know my bible front to back, but if I don’t love, it’s worth nothing. Love without knowledge is love without substance, which is why we are encouraged to increase in our knowledge of God through knowing His word. But knowledge without love is judgmental, prideful and wounding. I may have all the answers, I may be right in my point of view, but if I don’t have love, it will mean nothing. In fact it will only bring harm, offense and wounding.
I was reminded of this yesterday struggling over a communication I received from a friend. The correspondence brought a dark cloud over my day. I felt discouraged and even angry. I thought of responses in my defense, justifying my case, but I was too restless to write. I began to ask the Lord to shine His light on truth on what was going on. I sat silently waiting, allowing my spirit to be still. Then suddenly I began to cry. Being still with the Lord allowed me to be honest with Him and myself, about how I really felt. My heart was hurting. I felt wounded by the comments I’d read, I felt unfairly judged and misunderstood.
What freedom to confess my hurt to the Lord. There was no point in trying to cover it up, be a big girl, put on a brave face. All that would do was project a knowledgeable answer. I may be right, but if not filled with love, it would drive a wedge between us and damage both our hearts. God knew what the deeper issue was and He showed me. I was hurting. It would have been easy to cover my hurt with judgment and a cold heart, to shut love out. But tears are healing. Confessing our weakness is healing, releasing our pain to the Lord is healing.
Tears soften the dry ground of hearts hardened by offenses and wounds, so that love can grow again.
What a relief to be honest with the Lord, to pour out our hearts to Him. As the tears flowed, I was able to forgive my friend and ask forgiveness for my own wrong thoughts and judgments. I asked Him to give me His love, to understand her point of view, and to respond to her concerns with His wisdom so that even if we didn’t agree, we would remain in the Spirit of unity, in the bond of love He desires for us.
This is inner healing. Sometimes the Lord wants to root out and heal deep, long standing wounds which have inhibited our ability to love, at other times, it is healing for the hurts and offenses we experience as part of our daily life. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. We don’t have to walk around with walls covering our hearts when we live in His presence. He knows what’s going on. Keeping our hearts healthy means immediately confessing our hurts to Him, giving Him the wounds and asking Him to heal us so that His love can keep flowing.
The Lord lives in a contrite heart. Confessing that we are wounded, hurt or angry, brings us to our knees, admitting we are weak, and need His help. We cannot carry our own burdens and pain. Offenses happen. Fears come. We will face betrayal, but we can bring them all to Jesus. We don’t have to parade all our pain in church to be authentic, but we do have to be honest with the Lord about our feelings so that He can heal us.
We are too often guilty of masking our pain, of courageously ignoring our wounds, or boldly covering our sin even before the Lord. With our religious masks and band aids firmly in place we come to church with shallow love for each other and for God, unable to receive love and unable to give love because of unresolved offenses, unbelief or hidden sin. With no freedom in our hearts to truly worship the Lord, we wonder why we leave as empty and devoid of true love as when we entered. Yet the Lord’s desire for His people, is to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
Being truthful to the Lord about our brokenness keeps us humble, it keeps our hearts warm not cold. Immediately we confess and acknowledge our condition, we experience His divine love flowing through us and that brings freedom!
God says “If My people will humble themselves and pray – I will heal their land.” Will you pray for all of our Butterflies, that we will guard against cold hearts by continually humbling ourselves, confessing our offenses, wounds and pride and taking off any religious pretense which hinders intimacy with Jesus. I pray for you too, that the Holy Spirit will heal your heart through each hurt and free you to love others in the power of His love, – so that the world will know that we are His disciples.
The Lord is near to all who call on Him in truth Psalm 145:18
Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom 2 Corinthians 3:17
They cried to the Lord in their trouble and He saved them out of all their distresses. He sent His word and healed them… Psalm 107:19-20
For You do not desire sacrifice or I would give it, the sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart – these God will not despise Psalm 51:17
May our hearts grow in love!!