At New Life Spirit Recovery, our counseling process is designed to intensively take the client through all life experiences, especially those related to relationships and trauma. But the event itself does not remain in focus. Just standing as a victim will not bring freedom! Instead, seeing and comprehending the pain of the past has a divine purpose: the seed and the root are exposed. Then the rooted lie and faulty coping that emerged as a result are highlighted. Faulty coping opens the door for all forms of addiction and toxic survival adaptations.
Linda entered into recovery like most addicts, worn down, filled with shame and afraid she could never live a life beyond her addiction. Her current life was so overcome by her addiction, she had piles of rubbish that seemed impossible to sort out. But instead of immediately working on ways to fix her current circumstance, Linda was first asked to write her life story with details about everything that happened in life from childhood to adulthood. To do this in the context of truth, she was asked to allow Jesus to lead the way. Therefore, she didn’t depend on her memory alone but asked the Lord to take her hand and reveal what needed to be brought into the light.
Much to Linda’s shock, by the time she arrived at her current circumstances, she could clearly see the effects of many other issues she had dealt with. At a young age, a sexual assault had led Linda to check out through false comfort (seed planting). Her violation led her into a severe distortion of her identity, worth and sense of being protected by those she loved (shame, guilt and fear). As her mind focused on these faulty beliefs, her emotions had produced many levels of pain she didn’t know how to deal with. Attempting to “feel better,” she had used sex and had pursued the acceptance of a man. Her resulting lifestyle of drug use and prostitution all came from a seed, and a system developed to cope.
Linda had run so hard from her inner pain; she had never been able to face that the heart of that young girl had been violated. By being asked to step into that little girl’s shoes and feeling what she had felt, Linda was encountering the raw emotional pain that led her to check out in the first place.
That root drive produced all sorts of dysfunctional choices until it was buried by layers and layers of toxic fruit. Untangling the heap of rubbish in her life had to occur before a true solution could happen. A separation of Linda’s various life events and choices had to be understood through the scope of God’s truth. From there, a spiritual remedy could be applied.
Ridding Sin Damage
Awareness of a problem is the beginning of all change. But it is not enough. Going back through the past is a temporary and purposeful journey. It is meant to permanently extract unhealthy roots to prevent those seeds from reproducing again. Examining the past is not meant to lead to a lifestyle of introspection where the events become empowered. Instead, it empowers a solution—a method of eradicating the very issues that led to using in the first place.
All transformation comes through the power of redemption and forgiveness. In fact, the central message of the Bible is that Jesus came to give us life. He came to redeem and rescue us from the horrible nature of sin. Jesus is a Cleanser, Healer, Rescuer, Redeemer and Restorer. His job is to meet people in their brokenness and sin. Thus, when He is exposing problems, He is able to stand closely by and pour out His solution.
This occurs two primary ways:
- Forgiveness must be received for any sin that has been done.
- Forgiveness of other people’s wrongdoings must be administered.
Forgiveness is no “pat” answer. People often say, “Oh, I forgave them a long time ago,” when in truth, that sin was just buried. The result was a deep and penetrating root that brought much contamination. Real forgiveness is applying the blood of Jesus Christ directly over that seed and eradicating it altogether. Nothing but the blood of Jesus can do this. To truly forgive others a person must experience a season of going into the “dirt” of those seeded issues to see them in their proper perspective. But learning to access the precious resource of grace—something only accessible by encountering the Jesus who paid the price of that sin personally—is even more important.
God’s grace won’t say, “Oh, okay, it’s over. Let’s move on.” Grace incorporates a holy standard alongside love. The death and vicious murder of Jesus Christ proves sin is not a small issue. Sin is horrific and horrible. It’s an awful human condition. When sin is seen and comprehended in the light of God’s truth and love, then repentance has the power to undo sin’s damage. That doesn’t mean sin won’t have other consequences, but repentance can remove the soul’s damage and allow us to heal and be whole. Real repentance doesn’t diminish sin—it recognizes sin and says, “I see it. I see how bad it is. Oh God, help me. Deliver me from it. I need You! I choose to leave it at the foot of the cross and trust You rather than let it rule me.”
Giving and receiving forgiveness can be a process, and it’s something that will need to be worked out in each individual. At New Life, we use a variety of tools to facilitate this process because we know we can’t get inside a person’s heart and do this work for them. Clients in our program not only write a life story, but they also do individual homework assignments on the relationship problems they have encountered through life. Confession, repentance, offering and receiving forgiveness, letter writing, deliverance prayers, renouncing sin and processing emotional issues all are incorporated to create an environment to process and remove those toxic seeds. Remember, participation by choice is required. This process cannot be forced. Thus, if someone isn’t interested in receiving healing, no amount of work or program can bring changes. Only those who are ready and broken and desire to be made whole will see significant results.
The Process of Deliverance
Let’s take what we have learned and formulate some specific steps.
- Bring the sin into the light—This means the absence of all darkness and forms of denial. Tools can be used for this to occur. As already mentioned, we use a life story and other assessment tools. In the 12-step program this is referred to as Steps 4 and 5.
- Understand who God is—This is meant to instigate an environment of hope, not fear. If a person fears God as someone angry, this will be an obstacle that must be dealt with. God is love (Step 2).
- Confess—the ability to agree with God that sin is sin. This may be the sin the addict committed against someone or the sin someone committed against them. In either case, confession brings the lie of that sin into agreement with God’s truth (Step 5).
- Give or receive forgiveness—God hates sin; it’s awful. But He loves the sinner. By the power of grace, not effort or merit, we can fully receive forgiveness. The addict in recovery will need to systemically deal with personal sin, as well as gain insight regarding the people in their lives they need to forgive (Steps 8–9).
- Renounce—Sin has an influence in the demonic realm. Renouncing sin is closing the doors where that spiritual influence was given access in the first place. It takes back any and all power and footholds that were given to the enemy. Some people require more intensive work in this area when exposed to significant demonic activity. Further resources or additional prayer may be offered.
- Plant new seeds based on truth Once the soil of the heart is established, the life journey of walking and abiding in Christ can begin. This is the unfolding of God’s promises, His purposes, and the establishment of the life calling. Therefore, deliverance prepares new soil, which prepares for a new life. But from there, all change will happen through growth of new seeds that root into a new system and eventually turn into new fruit (Steps 11–12).
This is an excerpt from Christian Families in Recovery Workbook