Thursday, December 2, 2010

Free at Last!

In his book, Free at Last, David Benner discussed the reasons how emotional bondages are acquired and how they developed. Along with these, he provided biblical ways on overcoming them.

Bondages are results of unresolved emotional wounds and may manifest in chronic anger, guilt, anxiety and the like. These, if not treated, may limit freedom and affect the people closest to us. We, Christians, are blessed because healing is available to us through Christ’s finished work on the cross. One just needs to be aware in appropriating such, with the help of a Christian counselor or an equipped discipler. This freedom will materialize if we face the truth about ourselves, the world and others. Honestly accepting reality paves the way to emotional healing.

The process involves three tasks: re-experiencing the pain, reinterpreting the hurt and releasing anger. Dealing with the pain is not that easy. Yet for healing to quickly occur there needs to be a re-experiencing of the injury experienced lest the pain will continue to linger within the person. Having the experience of loss as the core of emotional pain, there needs to be a reawakening of the same feeling that the attachments and energy invested in the object of loss may be reinvested in things worthwhile. The task of breaking through denial and other defenses that separate him from the pain is essential as well to move on towards healing.

The will’s involvement in releasing anger is needed upon nailing the whole process. Seeing the things in a new perspective requires intellectual discipline. Understanding the hurt is crucial in dealing with wounds effectively. It was Jesus Himself who said that knowing the truth will set us free. True freedom comes only from knowing the source of truth, Jesus himself. In this stage, one must ward-off his truth-distorting tendencies such as illusions, escapism and irrational beliefs. These are not the way out but another road to bondage. Facing the truth about oneself and facing reality outside him hasten healing. Upon doing this, he must take into consideration his shadow self, the negative side of him. Here is where wholeness and real change start.

In the third stage, namely releasing the anger, the person has to let go of every right to revenge. Here he has to exercise the effort to forgive even if he has to do it over and over. Upon deciding to do it he needs to get reminded that real forgiveness comes from God. He must realize how he had been forgiven and loved. One needs to be clear how this process is executed because if forgiveness is done prematurely or defined the other way the whole thing will be ineffectively done.

Lastly, the author communicated God’s desire for us to experience freedom. He used Scriptural proofs to back up this claim. Indeed, the freedom Christ offers us is deeper and richer than any freedom achieved by healed emotional wounds. Living abundant lives reflect the richness of the One who gave it. Surrender, grace, love, service and hope characterize this kind of living.

I have begun appreciating the last chapter when Benner explained emotional healing in the light of the gospel message. I was once again reminded of God’s ability to turn my darkness into light and redeem the hurts I have experienced. I agree with what He said regarding the presence of Christ in our suffering experiences. Here he explained that we need not run away from it because it here where we will experience tremendous growth unavailable in any other experiences.

Upon reading this chapter, I have relinquished my right to be in control all the time. Grace blew perfectionism out of me. Yes, it is good to be excellent in everything but to beat yourself up whenever you make a mistake is not of the Gospel. Christ was beaten that I may experience peace. Over and over God brings me back to grace, here is where the spring of life is found—the energy to love, to serve, to dream. Knowing that you are loved by God just as you are, along with your shadows and blunders, is totally freeing. This frees me from the need to perform, strive and be rigid. Indeed, encountering the God of grace produces transforming effects. This writing has totally convinced me that it is God Himself who has planned freedom for me and delights to see me walking this path. Knowing this truth leaves no reason for me to see myself as victim of the circumstances, the past not needing to have the last laugh.

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