“That’s not your stomach hurting, it’s your liver!” my local Doctor said to me examining my abdomen about a belly-ache that had been bothering me a couple weeks. It never seemed to let up. It hurt when I went to bed , it hurt during the night, and it hurt when I woke up. About a constant #4 pain. I was getting very tired of trying to treat it with the customary jello and mashed potatoes limitations. Buttermilk and crackers, cokes of whatever flavor; none of it helped.
My Mom had told me years before that I always had a “nervous stomach” and it had bothered me most of my life. I had been treating for acid reflux and it seemed to help until THIS episode.
The new blood tests showed the liver enzymes at 3 times the normal limit and my pancreas was acting up too. No meds available to fix this. Ugh! “Liver” and “Pancreas” are not words you want to hear when you get results back from blood tests. And the PAIN. No relief from the PAIN in sight.
Of course, I ran to God with it. I had already been praying but I prayed some more. I remembered a Bible teacher named Bill Gothard had taught that bitterness can directly affect the liver, so I began to search my heart and the Bible about bitterness that I might still be carrying. I listened to sermons I could find, reviewed old notes, and read a book that received great reviews called Total Forgiveness by R. T. Kendall. As I began to seek God further, God uncovered a bunch of junk that I had glossed over.
Reliving the memories of those hurts and those who hurt me was painful, but the liver pain drove me on. I had hope that as I repented, with God helping me forgive, the physical pain would subside too.
Forgiving is not easy. Releasing people from penalty of the guilt without them even apologizing or acknowledging they hurt me forced me to totally lose control of the situation. As long as I held them captive as guilty prisoners in my heart, I could take them out and scream at them, even slap them around in my mind when I wanted. (Please recognize that if you are in a dangerous situation that threatens your welfare or your children you don’t have to stay there, but you will have to forgive.)
Dr. Kendall’s book helped me to realize that I not only had to release them, but to bless them. Not only forgive them, but to actually pray for them to do well AND do something nice for them if I get the opportunity. Jesus said ” do what is good to those who hate you, 28bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. ” With the command, comes the ability by grace to obey. So I began the process. Daily.
Every time those faces would come into my memory, I had to forgive and bless them. Every. Time. The memories eventually went away, but I still have to forgive and bless when they come to mind.
The abdominal pain was still there, but I had hope. Life without the bitterness was better and I had some new joy too.
To be continued…..