Here’s a tool that we’ve found to be tremendously helpful in our times of both confessing our sins and in dealing with the pain of those who’ve sinned against us.
Are you ready?
It’s really old fashioned, but it helps:
I make lists.
I told you it was old-fashioned, but sometimes the old ways are best.
Many, many times as I was going through our time of healing, my time locked away with Jesus would be spent with pen and paper in hand, making lists.
For instance, I remember when we the Holy Spirit was convicting us of following in our Dad’s footsteps of lying, the Holy Spirit asked me to a make list of every single time I could remember ever lying, then go back through the list confessing those sins to God.
When I’d fallen into the trap of watching things on television that were borderline pornography, I remember making a list of every single program I watched that I shouldn’t have and individually asking God to forgive me for each one.
As the lists were made, we were not only confessing sins, but we were able to see patterns develop:
When did we fall into these sins?
What was happening?
What were the triggers, the causes?
What were the real areas we needed to overcome?
Even though this practice may seem a little over the top or old fashioned, the truth is that it was powerful---so much more powerful than a blanket, “I’m sorry for every time I ever….”
It helped me thoroughly confess my sin, see what needed to change, and what I needed to be healed from to help me change. Although few would call this standard “prayer”, it was during our time with Jesus that these lists were made, sins were forgiven and overcome, and our hearts were healed.
Of course, I didn’t just make lists of my sins. As I said, I also made lists of things that people had done to me.
For instance, I remember one time when I was seriously hurt by the words of someone close to the family. Without going into details, it’s sufficient to say that someone close to our family chose that they did not want to know the truth about what was happening in our lives (they expressed this desire openly and verbally), yet they felt the need to share their opinion that it was all my fault. Even though we all knew this person’s opinions were devoid of facts of truth, the words still hurt a lot.
Not knowing where to go with the pain, I went to Jesus. During my time of prayer, I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to make a list of every time this person had hurt me. As I made the list I realized, that it wasn’t just this one word causing the pain. There were many words or actions that needed to be forgiven that were causing years of backed up pain.
As I took every item on the list and asked God to help me forgive the person, I was released from years of pain and knots from this person’s misguided opinions. Although the issue was never resolved with the other person (because they were not open to it) inside of my heart the issue was resolved. I was able to walk away free from the pain and over time stop caring what this person thought of me.
Through the help of the Holy Spirit, I was able to show God’s love to someone who consistently treated me badly because I was no longer emotionally tied to them.
Again, that’s the power that’s available to us as we choose to daily spend time with Jesus!