Repent and Be Free: Life Journey no. 7

The Hard Facts, Mam

ARE YOU a de-selfer, always giving in, or are you a self-assertive, always getting your way because you’re convinced you’re right? Some work needs to be done by you in either position. Both are unhealthy behaviors for anyone, not just for a Christian. When there is a lack of parity and acceptance without an allowance for differences in a relationship, it becomes weak, unhealthy, and unbalanced. The de-selfer becomes resentful because they are not heard and lack a voice in the conversation. The self-assertive becomes selfish, demanding, and even demeaning of others when they have no “check” on their behavior.

Father God, help this person to seek You in earnest. Show them the truth behind their actions. Give them the strength to make it right with those whom they have wounded in word or deed. Humble their heart. Free their soul. Renew their mind. Give them great grace. Amen

The time period during the separation but before the divorce is an awkward period. I’d been left after twenty-one years of marriage. Our five children and I were devastated. There was another woman, a decade younger than him. The struggle had always been there. We never could get it right though we tried. I was seeking God with my whole heart. I’d promised God that I would learn and then give out of what He would teach me. The days were long and sad, much like a thundercloud hovered over me. It was during that uncertain period of pain, suffering, and confusion, loving a man who didn’t love me, that I learned what genuine repentance is. I was looking at his faults and failings when God caused me to look at my own faults and failings. The remorse was overpowering. It was one of many lessons I learned during those long months.

You have it to do

You and I cannot repair anyone other than our own self. The goal is to be healthy in our emotions and to gain health in our spirit–our spiritual soul-side. To gain full freedom internally at some point there must be a sadness-type sorrow in us, like a deep regret, for having been the cause of pain to another person. When this happens, a person will have an inner compelling to repent of the misdeed and a sincere desire to acknowledge it, to confess it, to make it right, and to come clean of it before God.

Some of us have failed despite our desire to live holy lives and do it right. We’ve been arrogant with a holier-than-thou attitude. Pride may have mastered our beings. We’ve enjoyed and projected a superior attitude–seeing ourselves as better than other people. Some have blamed and shamed, possessed and demanded, or coerced and been condescending. Enough so that it caused confusion and loss of dignity. These acts impede a close walk with God.

Confess these areas to God–and to one another. It helps to put yourself in their shoes, to imagine you are the recipient of the comment, angry action, or withholding of acceptance. Become aware of your heart, your attitudes, your issues. Seek God for soul-cleaning, inside and out.

For our own spiritual growth, we are best served when we begin to see our own actions and how they affect others; when we admit we’ve been wrong–and want to change; when we allow the Spirit to cleanse us as we tell God where we’ve messed up, disappointed or  hurt others; when we let a sorrowing for our pride-filled actions or words to come to the surface in us–and then turn it over to God for His forgiveness, healing and grace.

 If we only see others faults and failures but never take a look at our own, we will not be able to become spiritually free. Humble people have been humbled more often than not. Once humbled, they address life from a different reference point. They are less needy, less in need of constant validation and acceptance from others. A humble heart can like and love those who may not deserve their acceptance and love (especially if they were hurt by them), because a humble person knows their own weaknesses and ability to harm and cause pain to another.

One of the steps in Alcoholics Anonymous is for the recovering alcoholic to go to the people they’ve hurt and apologize for what they did. They take a critical look at their relationships and choices, every stone is upturned. The past is carefully examined. Easy? Not at all. Worth it? Absolutely. In the saying of it and the reliving of it and the facing of their past, the person becomes real and stops hiding. This is true spiritually as well.

Emotional pain used to consume me. At the time, I was unable to see my own part. God did some surgery on my heart as He began to expose my wrong-minded actions and wrong ways of thinking. In time, I began to heal and get well in my emotions. One day I was flooded with an awareness of my past, the places where I had caused emotional injury toward my ex-mate. For a couple of hours I wept as I was writing down areas where I had caused him pain, acknowledging my lack of appreciation and validation, those times when I had withheld my support or was begrudging in action.

It isn’t easy

I took it a step further and apologized to him in person. A load lifted when I did. I felt different, free, whole. It was an amazing experience. I knew God had brought me to this point because sorrow had filled my soul, and it initiated the action. My ex-mate had caused me a great deal of pain, too. But I was not responsible for the pain he had caused, and it did not come into the conversation at all.

But it’s worth it

I find repentance walks hand-in-hand with the loving grace of God, my Father. Repentance is one step closer to finding your freedom.

Dear friend,

I am asking of you to do a hard thing, to forgive what you feel you are unable to forgive. But do you see how necessary this is? Let it go. Speak the words “I forgive _____ for ______,” and say it. Let the sobs come. Let the pain surface. Then give it a heave. Imagine launching the thing into a river and letting it depart. Ask God to help you. He will.

Your part, your need to repent of the bitterness, anger, and resentments, will come when your heart begins to mend, something that may take a measure of time and prayer. “I’m sorry for ________, ________, and  _______.”

I’m pulling for you. Leave me a comment or note about your spiritual progress and any understandings that have come on your quest for spiritual healing and growth.

Blessed by Jesus,




The book The Dance of Anger explains what de-selfing is.


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N. L. Brumbaugh likes to write contemplative thoughts about authentic spiritual living. A lot of heart goes into every one of her posts. She is a mix of reading specialist, country woman, writer, church leader, and storyteller. Norma loves creative artistry and celebrating life.

I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

2 thoughts on “Repent and Be Free: Life Journey no. 7

  1. Interesting, isn’t it? I didn’t know it was part of Celebrate Recovery. It’s similar to a transaction, Once you’ve goine through it, you are different and life has a new feel to it. Thank you, Shirlee.

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