Get comfy for this one… Hold onto your seat and be prepared to get mad at me. We’ve all been told that forgiveness isn’t necessarily for the offending party, but rather, forgiveness sets US free. TRUE STATEMENT. But lets take that a step deeper… deeper into our own souls and how it really can change us more than most of us even understand.
UNFORGIVENESS, FEAR, AND LIES.
I can hear it now – you think I’m referring to your adversaries. Your ex. The other ex. The side chick. The ex-mother-in-law. The new wife. The step-mom. Whoever it may be in your case. I’m not talking about or to them. I’m talking about and to YOU. I promise – if you’ll be transparent with yourself for just a little bit here, you’re gonna find some soul ties to unforgiveness, fear, and lies. This topic is extremely broad but for our purpose, I’m gonna reel it in and relate it specifically to divorce and the obstacles we face through it.
I wish there was a way to really break this down and separate the three into individual categories. But they are so closely linked, I can’t hardly speak about one without tying it into the other. So instead I’m just gonna break it down into different situations and how they can and WILL be toxic to us. Let’s start here:
When we believe lies, we empower them!
-Pastor Bill Johnson – Bethel Church, Redding, California
Did you know that research shows that we are told more lies in our on minds than we are told by all the people we encounter in our lives? We hear more untruth’s about ourselves from the enemy than we hear if we added up every lie we’ve been told by another human. THAT’S SCARY!!!!
When we believe and empower lies – we align ourselves with them. One of the biggest lies Satan uses is fueling anger and bitterness towards other people. So I’m gonna drop a bomb right here. Let’s say that your ex was unfaithful. Maybe once – in a long term relationship with another person, or maybe frequently – with multiple partners. Regardless, you’re angry about it… right?
If you’re a woman, I’d be willing to bet you’ve looked at this other person. You’ve analyzed her. You’ve measured up every inch of yourself to her. It’s highly likely that you have access to photos of her in your pocket. Either on your phone or through social media. You look at her and think she has something you don’t. Your flesh needs an answer, why??? Satan gladly answers that question for you – She’s prettier. Her boobs are bigger. Her hair is blonde and yours isn’t. She has it all together. She’s more fun. She’s younger. She’s older. She’s taller or shorter. She’s skinnier. There. Has. To. Be. Something.
But when we allow those lies to come into question in our minds, we empower them. WE GIVE our adversary power over us! Not because our spouse lied to us. Not because this person betrayed us. But simply by believing a lie that the enemy has presented in our thoughts about us. This lie isn’t about them, it isn’t from them. But is much more powerful than any lie another person could tell. In the course of believing these little lies, we now align ourselves with them… we change on the inside. We look in the mirror and we see less than. We feel hurt and anger. And then the enemy strikes again – he convinces us to look again. To analyze a different area. We open our phone we look at the picture again – and instead it making us feel better like the enemy deceived us into believing, we now see something else. We hear another lie. We believe it. We empower it.
The most powerful lies in our divorce are not those we’ve been told by our ex. They are the ones that the enemy tells us about ourselves. These lies start a chain reaction of events that is hard to get a grip on.
Betrayal > Unforgiveness > Bitterness > Anger > The enemy sneaks in > Lies from the enemy > Fear sets in > We believe the lies > More anger > more lies from the enemy > more fear > repeat cycle!
Forgiving the unforgivable…
What kind of wrongs are unforgivable? Any kind of wrong that you are still considerably affected by is UNFORGIVABLE TO YOU. And of course, there are those wrongs that we want to forgive but can’t seem to shake. And the kind that we have to forgive daily, because just when we forgive one wrong – there is another offense. So I’m gonna share an experience my husband and I have been through and are still walking through. An experience that has and can STILL bring us down if we don’t keep our thoughts captive and our circumstances in perspective.
My husband and I have been married for six and a half years. This is a second marriage for both of us. He came into our marriage with three children from his previous wife. I came into it with one child from my previous marriage. That makes four kids total and we now have twin two-year-olds together. So a grand total of six kids. That’s quite a mouthful to spit-out. But there’s also a whole lot of room in there for the enemy to rear his ugly head. And Satan has done just that. We married in 2012 and it didn’t take long for the enemy to pounce.
Here’s how the attack manifested –
In 2013, my husbands ex-wife launched some pretty nasty allegations against him. Abuse that was alleged to have taken place in our home. Allegations that greatly inhibited his relationship with all three of his children. This set in motion an overwhelming investigation. Our local police, DHR from our home county, and DHR from the county that his children resided in, our District Attorney, and the District Attorney from their county – ALL INVESTIGATED. No charges were ever filed. The case was presented to the Grand Jury where it was “no billed”. The DHR investigation from both entities found the allegations to be “unfounded”. To narrow down what my husband and I already knew to be true – no abuse took place.
Unfortunately – this investigation took almost two years to complete. That means for two years – we had no visitation with his children. In that time – they relocated over two hours away with their Mom and her new husband. It took us an additional two years and a private investigator to pinpoint there whereabouts to attempt to rebuild what was broken. Were they false allegations??? Yes, but I think they were made with good intentions for an ulterior motive. I don’t think the allegations were made specifically to hurt us as much as to protect her own relationship and role in the life of her children. Now, y’all are gonna think I’m crazy here but I’m not mad at her for it. Did it turn our world upside down? Yep. Did it shake us?? Just for a few minutes – it did! It completely robbed the hope we had for the future of our family together. But those allegations did not succeed in taking our future away, it just made it look different than what we had planned.
Why would she make those allegations if they weren’t true? UNFORGIVENESS, FEAR, AND LIES. I don’t pretend to know her heart. But through years of hard and honest talks with God – He has enabled me to see her in the way He sees her. A beautiful but wounded Mom – just like me. I can truly say my heart hurts to think anyone else has to walk the broken road of divorce or has to experience any of the fears associated with a broken family dynamic.
Here’s how the enemy played his part –
UNFORGIVENESS, FEAR, AND LIES. Until you put your kids in the car with another woman that will be “playing” the role of Mom for them for the weekend while they are at there Dad’s, you don’t understand the fears and anxiety that come over your Momma heart. Same goes for the men, until you’ve shared your role as the Father of your children – you don’t understand the thoughts and worries that are provoked. I’ve done it – God just happened to help me overcome those feelings before they overcame me. That doesn’t mean I don’t ever think them, it means I constantly replace them with scripture.
There is no way for me to ever really know what was taking place in her mind and heart during this time but I truly believe she experienced some of the exact same fears, anxieties, and lies from the enemy that I did. The enemy will fill your head with thought’s like:
“Why do they think their step-mom is so awesome?”
“If I do break the relationship down with the other parent, then I can have them all to myself.”
“Is there step-mom fun than me?”
“What if they like her better than me?”
“She has so much to offer that I don’t have…”
“She’s enough for my ex-husband and their Father, and I wasn’t – will my kids think she’s better?”
“Why is she fixing my kids hair? Why doesn’t she worry about her own kids?”
“Why is she getting in my Mommy space?”
I could literally type out a list of real thoughts that have crossed my mind and it would be a hundred pages long. But the point is that these are lies that the enemy plants in our mind. And they set in motion a chain of events that can take us so far from reality that we find ourselves believing COMPLETELY IRRATIONAL LIES. See, when we combine these little lies with our role of parenthood it stabs us down to our very core. We come up fighting – and it is straight “fight or flight” mode! There is nothing we won’t do to fight for our children. This is a good thing… when it’s based on truths. God fights for us, His children, in this same way. He will part seas and even let us wander aimlessly for forty-years just to get to our hearts. But “fight or flight” based on untruth’s is dangerous territory.
I honestly feel like these doubts and fears and anxiety of the unknown, along with sharing the kids, was a driving force behind these crazy allegations. So, believe it or not, I’m not mad at her. My battle isn’t with her, its with the enemy who lied to her. I believe she did what she thought she needed to do to protect her relationship with children and her role as their Mother. I believe she truly hated my husband at that point. I believe she still had some unforgiveness towards him and she allowed that bitterness to justify her actions in her heart. I wasn’t around before or during their divorce but I’m 100% positive that they both did and said things in anger. They both walked away with bitterness towards one another – I saw that unfold in a courtroom in 2013. My heart actually hurts for her. It hurts because I know that fear. I’ve believed that lie before. I’ve given it power over me and it has beaten me every time I believed it. Certainly, she is responsible for her own actions. But I must admit, she’s a good Mom. She loves her kids and they love her. So often we lash out at the person who is hurting us instead of the enemy who is fueling it. She is NOT a crazy-evil lady – haha! But her actions are based on crazy-evil lies from the enemy.
The root of the problem is built on fear. Fear that was allowed inside through a little door we left open called Unforgiveness. What’s the most common way we fight fear??? Control. When we are fearful, we exert our control in any way we can. So when the enemy plants a little lie in our thoughts and we believe that lie – we empower it. The second we allow a lie to take root in our hearts – it has an immense amount of power over us. We do crazy things over something that isn’t even truth. We are now controlling the environment around us to keep the lie that Satan planted from coming into fruition. But it was lie – so it was never going to come into fruition anyway…
Again, when we believe lies – we empower them!
When we empower lies we start a never-ending cycle of trying to stay on top of the what-if’s. So here is a better visual of how this cycle looks:
Betrayal > Unforgiveness > Bitterness > Anger > The enemy sneaks in > Lies from the enemy > Fear sets in > Fight or flight > More anger > more lies from the enemy > more fear > more frantic fight or flight > repeat cycle!
It’s a cycle we can’t quite seem to get out of. But in order to keep from adding to that cycle, we truly need to forgive those who are acting on the lies. We need to see things for what they are. We need to see people the way God sees them. But do you know what keeps us from forgiving?
Fear keeps us from forgiving…
Most fears are based on lies that have been strategically given to us with one purpose in mind. That purpose is to thwart us from the path and life that we experience when we live in relationship with God and His truth.
How do we stop UNFORGIVENESS, FEAR, AND LIES?
The first step is to come into relationship with Christ! The second step is to replace those lies with truth’s. As cliche as it sounds, we have to take EVERY thought captive. One of the girls in my small group pointed out last week that so often we hear the first part of that verse – take every thought captive, but we don’t read the rest of it. So here it is for you…
2 Corinthians 10:5 New International Version (NIV)
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
Taking our thoughts captive means making them obedient to Christ. To do this, we must align EVERY thought that sets itself up in our minds with the word of God. Whatever that thought may be, whether about ourselves or someone else – we must align it with God’s Word. If it doesn’t line up with what God says is true, then we need to replace it with a scripture and make it obedient.
Aside from coming into relationship with Christ, one of the biggest things we can do is forgive. Forgive those who betrayed us. Forgive even when we don’t want to. Forgive and choose to see our offenders the way Christ sees them. As much as we hate our ex, the side chick, the ex-mother-in-law, or the other ex… Jesus loves them. He loves them as much as he loves us! We need to remember to see their actions for what they are, your battle isn’t with the side chick and mine isn’t with my husband’s ex – wife. It’s bigger than that. It’s deeper than that. Truth be told, that offender is broken and wounded. They are hurting too.
Forgiveness isn’t always a one-time deal. It’s not something we just say and it happens. It’s a work of God in our hearts that takes place over time. I truly do not believe we possess the ability in our flesh to forgive without the help of Christ. Some offenses are harder to forgive than others. Some days I don’t feel like I’ve forgiven things as much as other days. Some times its hard because we forgive and before we can heal there is another offense and then another. Forgiveness is a journey we live out everyday. Everyday we have to make the choice to walk with God in forgiveness for those who have hurt us. EVERYDAY I pray to stay open-hearted towards my husbands ex-wife. I ask God to help me to continue to choose to see good in her and continue to allow me to see her the way He does.
Breaking the power of Unforgiveness, fear, and lies doesn’t start with our offenders, it starts with us! When we look in the mirror we should see how valuable God says we are…
1 Peter 3:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.