Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. Hosea 6:1
In sanctification, God purifies us from every sin-related problem that we have. As we walk in submission to the Lord and His Word, He starts to unravel and undo all the complex soul-destroying results that the sins of our pasts have had on us. That is; He starts to work through all of the brokenness in our lives that has resulted from sin. He does this because one aspect of holiness is wholeness. Just like the Lord took up the saving cross of Calvary in order to make us holy, so we must also take up a sanctifying cross for the sake of becoming holy.
Dealing with the after-math of sin is often its own cross to bear. It is not an easy thing to own our part in the destruction that has resulted in our lives, because of our own decisions. It is even more difficult to own our responsibility in the ruin of the lives of other people that we love (like our children, spouses, parents, and friends). No less, if we are to be holy, we must do so. We must admit that we have done wrong things that have offended God, hurt ourselves, and injured others. This includes owning our part in the sins of abortion, abandonment, abuse, addiction, adultery, betrayal, dishonesty, divorce, dysfunction, neglect, and the like. As the Lord makes us aware of our part in sins like these, we must confess our wrongdoing to God and to others. And, as God allows us to, we must do our best to make amends to those whom we have injured. At times, this will mean exposing our past hidden sins and facing prolonged and sometimes, even, severe consequences for them. None the less, in doing this we will be honoring the Lord, who died to pay for the sins that we have committed, and we will be testifying to the world around us that we love God and His truth more than we love ourselves and our sin. Whatever the consequences for our sins may be, we are assured, in the Word, that the Lord will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). We are also assured that “There is, therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
Even more difficult and complex than dealing with the consequences of our own sins- for the sake of holiness- can be dealing with the consequences of the sins that have been committed against us. It can be soul-wrenching to acknowledge the painful truths of having been abandoned, abused, betrayed, or neglected by the people that we have trusted and loved. Yet, if we are to be holy, we must deal with all the consequences of the sins of the past. Not only the consequences for the sins that we have committed, but we must also deal with the consequences of the sins that were committed against us, as well. This may not seem fair to us. We may find that we feel like David did when he wrote Psalm 69:4 which says, “More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; mighty are those who would destroy me, those who attack me with lies. What I did not steal must I now restore?”
We may feel this way if the Lord asks us to deal with the painful consequences of having been sinned against, but really God is the one that restores that which is stolen from us by sin. He does this through Christ and the cross. We know that all of the brokenness in our lives has resulted from sin and that Christ came to set us free from sin. We should also know that not all of the sins which have resulted in our brokenness were committed by us, yet still Christ came to set us free from them. Many of our own sin habits, our wrong thinking patterns, our phobias, our disorders, our addictions, and our other issues are rooted in the sins that have been committed against us. Therefore, as Christ sets us free from sin, He heals our brokenness.
In the process of sanctification (becoming increasingly holy in our practice) the Lord calls us to own the painful truths in our pasts for the sake of emotional wholeness/ emotional holiness. Often, the things that God calls His children to deal with are the types of things that we would rather forget about. They are the types of things that haunt us and torment us emotionally in our dreams, memories, and in our broken relationships. These are the types of things that sit at the root of our addictions and sin issues. These are the types of experiences that make us feel powerless and out of control. It is through these types of experiences that we learned that we could not trust anyone-especially a sovereign God, who allowed them to happen. Therefore, God will deal with everything and anything that hinders our faith in Him. He will address every incident and action that has rendered us incapable of fully entrusting ourselves to His sovereign control and care. God calls Believer’s to deal with the effects that the sins of others have had on us in the process of sanctification, for the sake of our faith in Him and for the sake of our holiness (Romans 6:6; Hebrews 2:14-15; 2 Peter 2:19b).
When the Spirit of God calls us to deal with these types of things, He is calling us to embrace a cross for the sake of emotional healing. The Lord desires that we own the painful truths in our pasts so that we are emotionally free to serve Him in the present. The Lord calls His children to feel the painful emotions which resulted in our relationships with others; so that we can feel the pleasurable emotions which result from our relationship with Him. The Lord requires that we acknowledge the sins that have inflicted against us so that we can experience the healing work of His cross-work. As Isaiah 53:5 says, “…He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5). And in the same manner, the Apostle Peter tells us, “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds, you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24).
God is calling us to be honest with ourselves- even if it hurts. God expects us to acknowledge the deaths that have occurred in our souls as a result of the sins that have been committed against us, and He also calls us to accept the losses that we have incurred as a result of those same sins. This is very difficult to do especially if we feel a loyalty to the perpetrators of those sins. However, our willingness to own the truth about wrongdoing is not about condemning the sinner that inflicted the wrong. In reality, it has very little to do with them. It has to do with God, truth, holiness, and our relationship with the Lord. It has to do with emotional wholeness for the sake of spiritual holiness. God promises us that as we acknowledge and accept the truth about our pasts, we will experience His resurrection power in emotional healing. Christ died to set us free from sin, including the sins that others have committed against us. He did this so that we can walk in the holy freedom of newness of life in Christ. As Titus 2:11-14 says, “For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds” (Titus 2:11-14, NLT).
As we seek to know, love, and worship God through a life of obedience to Him, He begins to do a miraculous work in our souls. He starts to transform us into the image and likeness of His Son, Jesus. As we embrace the healing cross of Calvary; owning our pasts and acknowledging our need for the healing grace of God; He resurrects our brokenness and our damaged souls in the holy-wholeness of Christ. He makes us holy so that we can serve Him. He does this by making what is crooked in our lives straight and what is lame in our souls strong. That is why Hebrews 12:15-17 says, “Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Therefore, if you have a shameful past- whether by sins of your own doing or the sins that others committed against you, do not be surprised when the Lord calls you to deal with it. Making His children holy from the inside out is the Lord’s prerogative. Making His children increasingly emotionally whole is part of His sanctifying work. That is why Hosea bids us, “Come, let us return to the LORD; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up.”