Unpacking & Unpeeling: The Process of Healing Emotional Wounds – Part I

wounded heart

The Spirit of a Man will sustain his infirmity but a Wounded Spirit (HEART), Who Can Bear? Proverbs 18:14

We are going to unpack and unpeel what true healing really is.  To unpack means to open up and reveal the contents of or to analyze the nature of something by examining it in detail.  To unpeel something is to remove the outer covering or to strip something off.  We will unpack and unpeel what it means to really heal.  The scripture text above reveals to us that it is easier to suffer with a physical infirmity than to attempt to deal with a spiritual or emotional wound.

Emotional healing is a topic that no one really wants to talk about but yet we all have at one time or the other suffered from emotional or spiritual wounds.  We live in treacherous and crazy times.  We cannot escape the senseless violence and the painful, horrific images we see daily on TV.  There is no way any human being can escape being touched by some form of physical, emotional, spiritual or psychological pain as long as they are living on this earth.  The question is not whether or not we will be wounded, but rather how do we handle the wounds when they come?  How can we deal with the wounds that puncture our souls? Do we cover the wounds up with makeshift bandages and hope they go away some day?  What happens if we ignore them altogether?

In order to understand the healing process, it is very insightful to look at the way God designed the human body to heal itself when it has suffered a wound.  As in the natural, so it is in the realm of the invisible or spiritual.  Just because you cannot see your emotions, your soul, or your thoughts with the naked eye, does not mean that it is not just as tangible or real.  The same principles for healing of the body apply to the healing of the heart, mind and soul.

According to The FreeDictionary.com, wound healing is defined as the “restoration of integrity to injured tissues by replacement of dead tissue with viable tissue…”  We can look at emotional healing as a process in which a person is restored to integrity (wholeness) by first removing the dead stuff (sins — hatred, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, blaming others, unresolved/prolonged grief, sadness, unruly passions and other deadly heart issues) with viable tissue – love, joy, peace, patience, and other Fruits of the Spirit.

Deep physical wounds that are filled with large amounts of dead cells, blood clots and other debris must be cleansed in order for healing to take place.  This can be painful because there is more inflammation, soreness and tenderness with deep wounds.  Foreign bodies add to the discomfort and can also delay the healing process.  For healing of emotional and spiritual wounds to take place, the foreign bodies of guilt, shame, thinking God is mad at you, anger towards God, self and others must be cleaned away.  All of these things will delay the process.

From a spiritual standpoint, what happens to people when they endure deep wounds without cleaning them out?  Examples of deep wounds would be those caused by 1) Prolonged Exposure to negative, crippling words and abuse as a child; 2) Sexual Immorality; 3) Satanic Attack; 4) Rejection/Abandonment by Spouse or Parent; 4) Bitterness & Unforgiveness ;5) Divorce;  6) Death of Loved One and 7) Physical and/or Sexual Abuse.   When a person has a physical wound it is very painful to clean out dead tissue, but it is extremely necessary in order to prevent infection.  If this is the case naturally, then it is true spiritually.  Our spiritual wounds are cleansed by activating our faith and applying the Word of God through consistent prayer and study.  In John 15:3, Jesus states that we are clean because of His spoken Words to us.  The power in the blood of Jesus cleanses us from sin (1 John 1:7). When we fail to clean out the dead mess, we provide an opening for the adversary, Satan to come in with his minions and bring further infection on top of the original wound.  From the physical perspective, a deep wound can quickly develop a surface level scar, but the remaining tissue still healing underneath is very fragile and bleeds easily because it is not yet mature.  Spiritually speaking, a person can function like this for years and may think they are healed but underneath the surface, they are very fragile and immature emotionally and spiritually.  It would take very little pressure to cause the wound to open all over again.  This helps to explain why people who have survived tremendous trauma lash out, become overly sensitive, hard to forgive, very irritable, very angry towards God, engage escapism (addictions), etc. when pressure, trials and tribulations come.

The big, deep wound is still sitting there unhealed on their hearts and covered with a little band-aid.  When unrelated issues put pressure on the wound, they bleed all over again and it spills out on all of those around them.  Hurting, wounded people will hurt and wound others.  They perpetuate the cycle and pass on the dysfunction.  They refuse to deal with the wound because they know it will be painful to touch with so they run and avoid the issues.  Because wounded people tend to isolate and close themselves off, they have no one to check them, help them, or protect them. They may even go back and do the same stuff that got them wounded to start with because of refusing to clean up and heal deeply.  Because of this, they can easily re-injure and re-infect the same wound over and over again.

In the natural, the wound healing process must be carefully assessed and monitored.  There are frequent checks for signs of bleeding and infection. Optimal healing takes place when the patient is in a good state nutritionally and has adequate body reserves and resources for tissue regeneration or cell repair.  Every nutrient and health habit plays a role in healing the body.  Oxygen is needed for the blood supply to the wound. Exercise is needed for adequate circulation.  Positioning of the body is important in order to avoid prolonged pressure on the wounded area. The area of the wound must be temporarily immobilized to prevent mechanical injury from direct blows and friction. The patient must receive adequate rest.

The first step in the process of emotional and spiritual repair is salvation also known as repentance or spiritual regeneration. “If any man (or woman) be in Christ, he (or she) is a new creation, old things have passed away and behold all things are made new”. 2 Cor. 5:17 (KJV).   At salvation, we transition from spiritual death to becoming spiritually alive through Jesus Christ.  In Titus 3:5 (ESV) we learn that “He saved us…by the washing of regeneration and renewal by the Holy Spirit”.  The only way for us to walk in true healing is to have a newly regenerated heart and mind through Jesus Christ.  This is an ongoing process also known as sanctification.

To heal in a healthy way, we must receive adequate spiritual nutritionIf we were spiritually malnourished or undeveloped prior to becoming wounded, then we will not have enough emotional or spiritual reserves to heal correctly and thus the process will be delayed.  Once wounded, it is much more difficult to build up spiritual capacity.  Spiritual nutrition is derived directly from the Word of God by studying, listening, praying, praise and worship.  The Spirit of the Lord is our oxygen.  He is our Breath of Life (Genesis 2: 6-7; John 20: 21-22), the Bread of Life (John 6:35) and He is LIFE Itself (John 14:6).  Speaking, praying and renewing our minds is our spiritual exercise which keeps the blood flowing.  We overcome by the Blood of the Lamb and by the Word of our Testimony (Rev 12:11).

When wounded, we deliberately position ourselves for optimal healing by being connected to the local body of Christ.  We cannot heal alone and isolated or else we will be prone to re-injure ourselves because we are unprotected.  “And if one prevails against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken”. (Eccl 4:12) We are to not “forsake our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but to encouraging one another” (Heb 10:25).  Connection with other believers is protection.  We have to learn to open up trust other mature and healthy Christians in order to be healed.  We also must receive adequate rest.  Jesus said “Come unto me all that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28).  We have the promise of a special rest for the people of God and we are to strive to enter that rest (Heb 4:11) if we expect the wound to heal correctly.

In this life we are certain that we will be wounded.  This is not a negative confession.  It is a reality because we live in a fallen world full of fallen, wounded people.  But we have a Healer named Jesus Christ.  He was bruised for our iniquities, WOUNDED for our transgressions and with His stripes WE ARE HEALED (Isa 53: 4-5).  It is high time for us to stop walking around wounded.  It is time for us to take off the dirty little bandages that we have been piecing together to cover our bleeding wounds.  It is time for us to let Christ clean out the wound for once and for all and deal with it.  It is time for us to heal.

See also Unpacking & Unpeeling: The Process of Healing Emotional Wounds – Part 2 http://wp.me/p33WY9-2i

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20 thoughts on “Unpacking & Unpeeling: The Process of Healing Emotional Wounds – Part I

  1. You are right on. The good thing is that God wants to and is ready to heal all wounds, but we must admit that we are hurt and wounded and ask him to heal us. These unhealed wounds are one of the main things that keep us in bondage. Let’s walk in freedom every day by asking for forgiveness when we sin, forgiving others quickly who sin against us and/or hurt us. God can then heal the wounds. God’s Blessings!

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    • God Bless You! Thank you for your feedback, comments and re-blog. I am so glad and thankful that this has been a blessing and source of encouragement to you! I know exactly what it feels back to pull off the old band-aids and finally let God heal. Keep it up and you will walk in completeness and wholeness.

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  2. In a book I recently read about emotional healing, the psychologist author related bitter roots & unforgiveness to our wounds. He said at the core of every bitter root lies our own judgment towards another, and the only way to heal emotionally is to forgive those (even self) who are attached to the bitter root. I’ve bern practicing identifying bitter roots & what judgment on my part is attached to the person involved, and I’m finding greater freedom in being able to more quickly process forgiveness towards another once I’ve realized it’s my pride or my stubbornness or my reluctance to issue grace. I’m learning that once I identify the bitter root & my area of judgment, it becomes pretty easy to forgive, and the wound heals rather quickly! And it’s not complicated. It’s rather a simple process that I’ve found very freeing!

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    • I really appreciate your comments and am very glad that this has been a blessing to you. I understand and agree perfectly with what you are saying about bitter roots. The bitter roots and unforgiveness is what causes the infection on top of the original wound. Identifying and cleaning out these roots are so critical. God Bless you! Be Free!

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    • Oh how I wish it was just that Gaynor. If it were, but I’ll be so put together everything would be peachy keen.. My psychologist would strongly differ with that author’s take.
      As adults, we can forgive. Therefore, my parents and all those that have hurt me have been forgiven. I actually have a very close relationship with both of my parents and my siblings. And surprisingly, I have no unresolved anger, wounds or hurts from any past relationships, because God has been graceful to me, and has allowed me to make nice with every past relationship.

      However, when you are a child, and you suffer significant trauma you, as a child turns it inward and often blames their self Because they don’t know how to process as an adult.

      When these wounds go left unchecked, and we shove them down deep inside, so that we will forget them because they cause so much pain, we have no idea how they play out in our daily lives and then all of our relationships. Most especially to our relationship with our spouses and God.

      You can forgive someone all day long, and take the blame yourself because you’re used to always taking the blame from when you were a child.

      When a little girl has to save her mother from suicide, not once, but many times, she blames herself for not being good enough for her mother to stay alive.

      When her parents get divorced at a very young age, because they fight all the time, the little girl usually blames herself for not being a better child and making her parents love each other.

      When a little girl sees her evil stepmother try to kill her father with a serrated blade that she was holding by the blade, and the blood drips all over her first beautiful Valentine’s Day box the night before 5th grade Valentine’s Day, and then watches same evil woman try to shoot her dad with a gun because that didn’t work, thankfully was on safety, she tends to turn it inward because they were fighting about her.

      When a little girl gets in trouble every time her little brother is upset, she tends to think that her life has no meaning or value.

      When a little girl suffers many physical abuses from those left unnamed, emotional abuses from those left unnamed, sexual abuses, not from family, but those left unnamed, she tends to think it is because she did something wrong.

      These kinds of wounds do not heal with just forgiveness. These kinds of wounds play out daily in our teenage and adult lives. These are the wounds that lead to addiction, cutting, suicide, promiscuity, and additional abusive relationships. Because these are the wounds that ONLY God can heal. But He will never force you to deal with them because He is a gentleman. However, He does kindly prompt you that there are deep seated roots and wounds that He would like to work on. But ONLY after you have developed a trusting relationship with Him.

      As you know, I have been walking with the LORD for 12 years, and only now has He finally been able to get me to a place where I am, well, I wouldn’t say, ready to deal with them, but I have to. The reason why, is everytime before He tried to get close, I ran back into another pit. But this time I haven’t. But I can see one, and this is the one that will destroy me if I do not finally face them.

      There are many ministries like Theophostics, Sozo, and Fellowship of the Sword (most instrumental to me) who deal with this.

      People are fragmented. More so than would ever realize. Most people will never allow themselves to go back into their child state to remember the feeling or emotion because they are afraid it will destroy them. It won’t. Be we all fear that it will.

      I have, after 34 years of life, just left the denial stage and am now in shock. Shock at all the things I blamed myself for. Shocked at all the things that happened to me, shocked that I have survived. But note shocked and sad that only one parent is supportive of my seeking true healing and has offered to do whatever it takes to help. Only one parent acknowledges and knows how horrible my childhood was. The other, along with their family members and one of my siblings would rather blame the medicine I’m on, all the “work” I’m doing when I should be being a stay at home mom, etc on all my issues. They would rather me sick, almost to the brink of suicide, than allow the “family secrets” out. But I love them. I understand that they too are scared and not ready at all to go down that road – because some of them have much deeper wounds than me.

      Again, most people will go their whole life and never allow the LORD to heal those deep inner wounds endured as a child. However, if God wants to use you in the most effective way, you MUST allow Him to SOZO you. Sozo means in the Greek, “to be saved, to be healed, to be made whole.” It was used twice in Old Testament. The lady with the 12 year bleed and the 1 leper who was a Samaritan that came back to thank him for his healing!!

      I highly recommend the book:
      Deceieved to Delivered by Michelle Borquez with my friend, Paige Henderson from
      fellowship of the sword, as the Bibke Study writer. Great book!!!
      http://www.aspirepress.com/gcf-deceived-to-delivered

      I love you!!! You know I do!
      Mindy

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      • Sorry, I meant New Testament. And actually Sozo was mentioned three times in NT – when Paul told us to “continue working out our salvation in Christ Jesus.” Why would we have to work it out? If we accept Christ and allow Him to take away our sins through repentance, then why did Paul say “continue working out your salvation?” Well, he actually said, “Continue working out your “SOZO”.

        He was telling us to constantly be working towards our healing and being made whole.

        It is very damaging to those who are severely wounded to tell them to just forgive and they will be healed. Especially when they know that they already have forgiven – over and over and over – so then the person continues to wonder what is wrong with them and why can’t they be healed. Which leads to suicide because they lose hope of it ever being any different.
        And you and I Gaynor, both know of a dear follower of The Way that found that taking her life was the only way out. Probably because no one ever told her there was more to healing than just forgiveness. So she realized she was the problem and it would never be the same. So she took her life.

        It’s wise for us not to presume to know that which we have never walked before.

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      • “However, He does kindly prompt you that there are deep seated roots and wounds that He would like to work on. But ONLY after you have developed a trusting relationship with Him… As you know, I have been walking with the LORD for 12 years, and only now has He finally been able to get me to a place where I am, well, I wouldn’t say, ready to deal with them, but I have to. The reason why, is everytime before He tried to get close, I ran back into another pit. But this time I haven’t.” — Your entire testimoney very powerful Mindy. You accurately articulate the process that a person goes through – God is a gentleman, he nudges and prompts us and speaks through our pain and circumstances when it is time and He knows we are ready to deal with our issues, but sometimes we still turn and run right back to the pit. Sometimes it has to get worse before it gets better. And then it is only when you really Trust HIM that you can let him work. The most amazing thing about your testimony is your bravery and courage to stop running…Awesome!

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      • Your testimony …. wow …. praise God for the healing he is bringing you through. I was so touched by your words and as my heart broke I could feel the love of God touching me. Although the emotional wounds I have suffered as a child are not as penetrating as what you have had to recover from. I too felt and saw myself dealing with them the same way. What an inspiration your words have been to me today. How liberating to know that God is on my side and I don’t have to stay bound to the past but I can move forward to the future knowing God will be there every step of the way walking beside me as He has done with you. So encouraging!
        thank you
        Cathie

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      • Hi Cathie!! God bless you sister. To God be the Glory. Because of Him, using my mess and testimony to help and bless you and others. I know that God will bring you through to the other side. He can heal and we don’t have to stay stuck in the muck and mire of our past. We were created to live and to enjoy our lives — we are worthy. He didn’t die on the cross for us to walk around sad, upset, wounded but for us to have joy!
        Be encouraged and remember that He who has begun a good work in will continue to perform it!!

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  3. Pingback: Steps to Heal Your Emotional Wounds - Merkaela

  4. Pingback: 16 Most Popular Emotional Healing, Wholeness & Relationship Blog Posts of 2016 | ladies loving god by Tonika Breeden

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