After the inner healing prayer time, during which Brent asked Jesus to come into some awful memories of his drunken dad beating up his mother, and even abusing him and his siblings, Pastor Cortez said, ‘I’d like to tell you another story. Back when I was doing volunteer counseling in the jail, I worked with many men who came from broken or dysfunctional homes, and had many bad experiences growing up. They then allowed these things to lead them to give in to feelings of shame and guilt, and then into behaviors which made those feelings worse, such as drinking, drug abuse and criminal acts. In fact, boys whose fathers, sometimes mothers, had abandoned them somehow later managed to abandon their own kids!
“I was praying for a guy in the jail, who was weighed down with the burdens of his sin and shame. He saw himself trying to lift two heavy pails, labeled “Guilt” and “Shame.” As we prayed, Jesus appeared (in his mind) in front of him, and said, “Give those to me.” The man said, “I can’t, Lord; they’re too heavy.” Then Jesus bent down, and with his nail-pierced arms lifted up the pails, and walked away with them. (Matt. 1l: 27, 28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Bend your necks to my yoke, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble hearted; and your souls will find relief. For my yoke is good to bear, my load is light. . .”)
“By the way, guilt is not liking what you did; shame is not liking what you are. For instance, a boy who can’t stop his dad from beating up his mom feels deeply ashamed of himself.
“Another inmate, Joe, remembered—for the first time in the two decades since it happened—being awakened in the middle of the night by an older cousin who had climbed into bed and was fondling him. (On the one hand, his body enjoyed the experience, but on the other, his soul felt deeply violated, and he felt confusion and troubling thoughts and impulses about sex ever since.) As we prayed, he asked Jesus to come into the scene, and heal it, cleanse him of the shame and even the guilt—which he did not deserve. He saw Jesus come in and do that: He yanked the covers back and pulled off his cousin, stopping the molest. Then Joe spoke forgiveness to his cousin, and I recited the words of I John 1: ‘As we walk in the light, as He is in the light, the blood of Jesus cleanses us from all sins,’ even the sins of others against us. There were tears in Joe’s eyes, as he smiled, looked up at me and said, Thank you, and Praise God, I feel so much better!”
Author’s note: Not to brag, but I have done some in-depth work—or the Holy Spirit has—on the psyche that even Christian psychologists were afraid to try. So I’m sure you can do it, too, for instance through honest self exploration in a journal, looking straight at bad things that have happened in your life, and praying, asking Jesus to come in and do what He wants to heal them, and help you forgive. . . If you want some coaching in this, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.