The first step is to ACKNOWLEDGE the need for healing. For us to receive the healing of emotional wounds, we must first acknowledge that we are hurting (Matthew 9:10-13, Revelation 3:17). Many of us have lied to ourselves as well as to others. We have said, "I'm really O.K." or "It really doesn't matter that much." Sometimes, the wound is so painful that we develop a case of amnesia. We may not be able to recall voluntarily the event or that time in our life. In such a case, we may need the aid of a compassionate counselor to guide us gently in facing our hurts.
The second step is to LOCATE the cause of the pain. In the physical realm, we may have a pain in our legs, but the cause may be a pinched nerve in the spine. To operate on the legs would be the wrong procedure. A youth may have severe problems getting along with his peers at school, when the real source of the pain is from an abusive stepparent at home. A wife may feel enormous pain every time her husband disciplines one of the children. However, the pain she feels may originate from her own emotional wounds as a child.
We may unconsciously associate one hurt with another. Furthermore, time itself, does not heal hurts. Only God does! Therefore, with each new conflict, we pick up additional baggage. It is therefore important that we locate and separate each painful experience. This is the work of the Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:23-24).
The third step is to CLEANSE the wound. If you received a deep wound in your hand and you left the wound open, it would sooner or later get contaminated and infected. The same is true in the emotional area. Emotional hurts are an open wound for unforgiveness, anger, bitterness, depression, and anxiety to enter. The Word implies that we may "give place to the devil" when we are angry longer than one day (Ephesians 4:26-31). Therefore, these critters may be more than just harmful emotions, they may also be evil spirits (Matthew 18:34).
For cleansing to occur, (1) we must forgive those who have offended us, (2) ask God for to forgive and cleanse us (I John 1:9) for our unforgiveness, (3) yield that area unto the Lord, (4) request that God restore our soul (Psalm 23:3) in the area yielded to the enemy, and (5) use the name of Jesus to drive out the enemy.
The fourth step is to RECEIVE HEALING of the hurt. God gives us two dinstinct pictures of healing in Scripture. One picture is that of God calling off the enemy (Deuteronomy. 7:15). This picture relates to the cleansing of the wound. The other picture is one of mending the net (Exodus 15:26).
After the physician cleanses the victim's wound, he sews it up so that it will not become contaminated again. Forgiveness opens the door to freedom, but forgiveness is not healing. Without our receiving healing, the wound again becomes contaminated. However, when God mends the wound, He also heals the wound.
We may receive healing by (1) understanding that Jesus suffered all kinds of emotional hurts (Isaiah 53:3) and that he became a hurt substitute (Isaiah 53:4) for us , and (2) believing that Jesus was sent to heal the broken hearted (Luke 4:18), and (3) asking in faith for that healing. When God heals the wound, we may recall the experience without being flooded by the pain.
The fifth step is to STRENGTHEN the weak area. Again, in the physical, the area around the wound may remain weak even after the healing occurs. This is also true of emotional wounds. The enemy will try to get us to focus our thoughts (II Corinthians 10:4-5) on the event that brought the hurt. If this occurs, we may mentally pick at the area until we have opened a new wound.
Therefore, it is critical that we strengthen that area by applying the Word of God. (1) We need to see that God had a purpose in allowing us to be wounded (Genesis. 50:20). (2) We need to see that God can work all things together for our good (Romans 8:28). (3) We need to come to rejoice in the Lord over the experience (Philippians. 4:4). (4) We need to develop and share our testimony with others (Revelation 12:11).