You can heal old memories of bad things that happened to you & old memories of when you reacted badly by applying Agape love. Let me explain….
First, a brief & quick reminder, from 1 Corinthians 13:
4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7 It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV
So here’s how I do it, I expect this can work well for you, too. (I’d love to hear about your experience with this so I can learn.)
I think of a memory that is painful. First, one where I responded poorly. Then I review 1 Cor. 13:4-7. I see where I reacted without Agape love. I make a new decision, and choose to respond with Agape love, the God, generous kind of love. I choose to respond with Agape qualities in the future. That’s not only a new decision, that’s repentance.
I mentally rehearse or practice having done that. Two or three times if necessary; though once will often be quite enough.
I check to see if my memory of that bad or painful memory is different or better. It usually is.
Then I do this again with a different memory, where I may not have reacted badly, but where I still did not respond with Agape love. I make a new and better decision, with the help of Jesus (which I ask for). A decision to respond with Agape love. Generously. Lovingly. The God-kind of love.
Afterwards, I again check the old memory, am I doing better now when I remember it?
Usually my own response to an event makes a huge difference in how painful the memory is or isn’t.
If I have trouble succeeding with this, I again ask Jesus, who is always near, always at hand (like his Kingdom) – within reaching distance – to help. And I ask for and receive by faith, more of Holy Spirit. I may not feel anything, but I notice I respond differently and can choose Agape love more easily and more deeply.
Let me know how you do with this, I’d love to know!
P.S. Teach this to someone else, maybe by walking them through it. Jesus and the Jesus kind of love can minister to them, too!
Jesus never taught a class. You will find no classes taught by Jesus in Scriptures. He did not teach in a linear way. What he did was something far better.
Jesus had conversations. He responded to questions or things said by people he wanted to disciple or teach. He responded to what they were interested in.
Or he showed something, told stories or parables: he gave interesting, attention grabbingexamples. Thencontinuedthe mutual conversation.
Sometimes he answered questions. Sometimes he changed the conversation – such as about not being so happy that even demons obey you – don’t lose perspective: what’s important is that your name is written in heaven. Notice that the starting point for changing a conversation or introducing a new idea begins with what the disciple, the person who is learning – what they are saying.
When I mistakenly try to teach people things, they resist – covertly, usually. Sometimes overtly. It does not work out well. And I have tried to do this too often. Too often I have been slow to learn.
But, when I respond to something that someone says or asks, I am building on what they are already interested in. Their motivation is already present. I even build on their metaphors: I use them or change them, or use them as an agent of change (when I transform a metaphor someone identifies with, they may also change.) Or I tell stories or parables or in other ways give examples, just like Jesus did.
This works out very well, I have their attention, interest and motivation: I am talking about things they are already interested in. Much more effective than talking about things I am interested in. Tremendous difference!
Have conversations. Start with where the disciple or the person who is learning already is. Build on or transform their ideas. Like Jesus does. He did it in Scripture, and he still does this in our hearts. You can join with Jesus and do this too.
Disciples and other people will learn more easily, learn better, and are more likely to remain interested and motivated.
If you want to have class outlines of what you want to teach, that’s fine for you. And you can use these powerful points in conversations, demonstrations, examples, stories and parables. Teaching more like Jesus. And teaching less like boring people who are trying to force their ideas onto someone else who is not yet ready, nor yet deeply interested.
Running my race. Sometimes I do well; too often I do not.
I have recently, again and again, fallen short of the Glory of God.
I am a sinner.
I have hurt others, and I have been hurt by Christians I look up to and admire. And I have used that as an excuse to sin even more.
How did all this happen, I wonder. Maybe you wonder, too. Well, it was all too easy.
A lot of it happened through social media. Through the news. And most terribly – in my own heart.
Friends I admire and look up to would send me jokes about democrats, and I would laugh – some of them were really funny. And some of these were not just funny, some were also quite nasty.
Other friends would send me descriptions of religious republicans and the twisted things some of them are encouraging, and I would agree.
Friends from different parties would send me news articles. Too often full of truths that make my heart recoil. And too often — one sided or twisted versions of events. And I would agree for a while, before I saw more broadly and inclusively.
Friends with high ideals and good reasons sending me twisted, one sided, soul shrinking propaganda. And I would read and agree for a while. Until….
Everybody has good reasons. Too often amplified beyond reason – the kind of thing that gives opportunity to unclean spirits. Too often twisted, to make a point. Too often so one-sided as to be sinful in themselves, yet very convincing.
And here I am, a well meaning feckless chameleon; first agreeing with this and seeing it clearly. Then agreeing with that, and seeing that clearly. Boy, talk about being double-minded. I’m an expert. A friend tells me the Greek literally means two-minded, a person with two minds – actually two souls.
I have lost all sense of proportion and of the larger picture: I am bound by love, previous repentance, and duty to a King and Kingdom that is at hand: Immanuel and his Kingdom. How often do I forget the Good News of the Kingdom? Too often.
I get caught up being for this or for that; or against this and against that. As though these were my first allegiance. I forget Whose I am.
I have sinned. Repeatedly. Forgetting Whose I am, forgetting the Kingdom and Immanuel. My first allegiance. I am ashamed.
So I again repent and ask for more of Holy Spirit. For help to live not for what I eat or drink but for righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Putting the Kingdom first.
Lord, help me be a beneficial influence in the culture that surrounds me, influence, share and spread the Kingdom of God. And to do this first, before and more strongly and with more skill, love and determination – than any good thing I do in well intentioned and wordly politics. Help me follow Holy Spirit so well and so much that I am full of Fruit of the Spirit. Love, self-control, kindness, patience…and control my tongue.
The Untamable Tongue
3 My brethren, (A)let not many of you become teachers, (B)knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. 2 For (C)we all stumble in many things. (D)If anyone does not stumble in word, (E)he is a[a]perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. 3 [b]Indeed, (F)we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 4 Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.5 Even so (G)the tongue is a little member and (H)boasts great things.
See how great a forest a little fire kindles! 6 And (I)the tongue is a fire, a world of [c]iniquity. The tongue is so set among our members that it (J)defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of [d]nature; and it is set on fire by [e]hell. 7 For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and creature of the sea, is tamed and has been tamed by mankind. 8 But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, (K)full of deadly poison. 9 With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made (L)in the [f]similitude of God. 10 Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so. 11 Does a spring send forth fresh water and bitter from the same opening? 12 Can a (M)fig tree, my brethren, bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? [g]Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh.
Heavenly Verses Demonic Wisdom
13 (N)Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom. 14 But if you have (O)bitter envy and [h]self-seeking in your hearts, (P)do not boast and lie against the truth. 15 (Q)This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic. 16 For (R)where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there. 17 But (S)the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, (T)without partiality (U)and without hypocrisy. 18 (V)Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
Half the country is upset, and half the country is feeling glad.
Here’s a very, very radical idea: love everyone.
Love your favorite politician. Love the opposition. Love followers of each of them – all of them. I didn’t say you should or have to agree with them!
So calm down and try it again if needed: love everyone! You don’t have to agree with anyone you don’t want to. You don’t have to like or love their positions. You just have to love God with all your heart, soul and strength; and others as yourself – and please love yourself with the God kind of love.
Agape everyone. Your politician. (Yes, I know you’re not as attached when you do this; it’s all right.) The opposition. Yes, you really can do it; or it would not be the most important commandments. Love everyone. God, your politician and followers, the opposition and their followers. Agape them all. God first, everyone else second. Everyone.
Yes, that’s right, everyone!
And you don’t have to agree with anyone that you don’t want to.
Agape. You can do it. And when you have difficulty, ask for help.
Ask for more of Holy Spirit; receive with faith – already given! Follow Holy Spirit. Express love out of your New Person, to everyone. The generous, God kind of love.
Now go ahead and disagree all you want. Just keep agape – for everyone! What a radical idea. Doing as Jesus says. Radical.
I’ve noticed several things that help me live out of my New Self, my New Person. So I make a list to help me remember and do this, especially when I am under pressure. (So read slowly & meditate, or even better, have a conversation with Jesus about these matters.)
Why is this important?
My Old Person has:
been marked by sin,
has wounds & is reactive (has trauma & PTSD) because of them,
is carnal and fleshly, selfish and mean. Feels smaller than I am.
does not please God.
Does not hear God except for audible voice, which is rare and something I personally have not yet heard.
Carries the curses of a broken world, including sin, sickness and disease. Feels bad.
Cannot minister effectively.
My New Person has:
always been free of sin – and has no marks of sin.
Has no wounds and so is not reactive to wounds (has no trauma or PTSD). Feels bigger than I am.
Most frequently implicit or ignored, it can also be explicit – and when there are difficulties – just about any difficulties, an explicit Learning Contract can be an immense help.
What situations call for a good Learning Contract? Ministry, including healing and exorcism. Discipleship, including teaching and learning. Counseling. Therapy.
One of the most common problems when learning and growth are not taking place as wanted is the lack of a good Learning Contract.
So…what is a Learning Contract? First, it’s a context. Context provides an element that is likely to control or limit and what will happen. When a situation is chronic and problematical, the context is nearly always a problem. Look for the context when things are not working well.
What sort of context is a Learning Contract? It’s an agreement to learn and an agreement to teach.
Counseling, teaching or other ministry without an agreement to learn and an agreement to teach – too often goes poorly. When ministry is not going well – make a Learning Contract.
Too often a people try to minister, counsel or teach without an such an agreement.
A contract says what people involved will do, and often what will happen if they do not do as agreed. It provides a context for learning and ministry of all kinds. It is an agreed upon context – without which it is difficult to make things to happen.
Jesus spoke to a fig tree, it obeyed. Jesus spoke to the wind and waves, and the storm quieted. Jesus taught us to heal, and demonstrated speaking to the need – we should do the same.
I have heard of people speaking to tornados, which changed course.
I have called for electricity to be restored, and when I am totally determined and single minded – easier to say than to do, I have experienced several times the electricity coming on within a second and a half. So many times this has happened, it cannot be a coincidence.
When you speak to your dog, your dog knows if you really mean it. When you really mean it, your dog is much more likely to obey. This is authority. You can feel it when you speak with such authority.
So speak to situations, to your mountain. As Jesus has been teaching you to do. And delight in results! Give thanks and rejoice!
Jesus, the Word, teaches and empowers you. Use what you have been given. Learn. Explore. Be willing for failure to take place – you can learn a lot this way!
We all want to hear God well, and nearly all of us want to hear God better.
There are horse whisperers, people who pay exquisite attention to horses and learn; there are dog whisperers, people who pay wonderfully attentive attention to dogs.
What you may not know is that there are people who help you hear God better. Not prophets who hear God for us, sometimes. (Although since Jesus came, we are to hear God for ourselves, and what a prophet says should resonate because of Holy Spirit confirming to us what a prophet says.)
These are people who are what I sometimes call, “God Listener’s”, and their job is to help you hear God better for yourself. That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?
There is a long tradition of such ministry, going back to at least the “Desert Fathers”, usually solitary monks who lived in the desert. From them a succession of ministers have helped people hear God for themselves.
Today we often call these people, “Spiritual Directors” or “Spiritual Friends”. You can look up these terms, they are well known. There is a long tradition of such people who help others to hear God better. This is a precious ministry.
They don’t listen for you; they help you hear God better for yourself. A ministry worth having, if not having always, at least sometimes.
We have all had periods of time that are rough. I remember one particular time when that was happening to me. My computers were not working right. My dogs were misbehaving. Around the house things were not working well or would break. I prayed about it, for these things and against these things. I finally decided I must be having a problem with demons. So I told them to leave. Usually not a problem for me – but the problems persisted.
So I called on a God Listener who I knew was very good with unclean spirits and asked for help. She managed to convey to me rather quickly that the problems were not demonic in origin. The problems were being caused by my own attitude. She told me that my wrong attitude and my own energy was causing the problems with my computers, dogs, and household appliances.
This was not what I wanted to hear. I wanted her to fix the problem for me. (Sound familiar?) But, I knew she was right. Holy Spirit confirmed what she was saying.
So I changed my attitude and my energy. The problems quickly went away and disappeared. I was blessed to have the help of a good God Listener, because I needed help to hear God well. And to solve problems that I mistakenly thought were being caused by demonic spirits when it was my own attitude and energy that was causing difficulties.
When you have big problems, opportunities you are not sure what to do with, when you need good guidance – a God Listener can be a huge help – so you can more reliably and accurately hear God for yourself – especially when doing so matters even more than usual.
You can easily learn more about God Listeners, Spiritual Friends or Spiritual Directors. There is more information than you might at first suspect.