A Process For Biblical Restoration And Healing

Monday, February 18, 2008

Failure among GOD’S people is nothing new; biblical history is littered with it. Samson failed. Abraham failed. Solomon failed. Jonah failed. The Hebrews failed. All twelve of the disciples of Jesus failed; Even King David, who was a man after GOD’S own heart failed; “But the thing that David had done displeased the Lord” (2 Samuel 11:27). So all of these committed willful disobedient sin, aiding and abetting the enemy after having once pledged fidelity to GOD. In both Testaments, the evidence of failure is both overwhelming and sobering.

But equally overwhelming is the evidence that GOD is in the restoration business. Through out the “Word of GOD” is the astonishing record of the LORD’S effort to reclaim and to restore those who are eternally HIS, but who in a moment of weakness betrayed their initial allegiance. The potential for restoration plainly exists. In (Galatians 6) we are told “If a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Needless to say, there are common scriptural threads that herald restoration, and these threads outline processes and responsibilities that if embraced, has the potential of releasing the backslidden from their bondage and restoring them to the LORD’S enjoyment and employment.

Restoration is more than mending broken hearts and bringing closure to sad chapters in life; it is refusing to surrender any of heaven’s own to hell’s work; it is redeploying wounded soldiers (restored) into constructive service for the glory of GOD. While certain area’s of service may be forfeited, depending upon the nature of the sin committed, we should remember that GOD controls the future and even HIS second best is usually pretty good.

Restoration is not only possible, it is encouraged and hoped for. But in the biblical stories, not all who went astray were restored to the Body of CHRIST. What separates the restored from the doomed? Five things.

1. Honest and straightforward acknowledgement of failure. Restoration hinges on the honest and straightforward admission of the wayward soul’s failure. Sin can never be addressed if it is not named. It cannot be purged if it is not identified. It cannot be cleansed if it cannot be seen.

Occasionally we comprehend our sin alone. By the prompting of the SPIRIT and the channel of the conscience, we understand our failure without the help of an outside voice. Guilt, shame and loss of peace all creep into our souls and remind us of our error. Others may not be aware of the agony of soul that we are experiencing, but we know. We fear discovery. We comprehend the enormity of our sin, as did David in (Psalm 51).

More often than not, however, we rationalize our sin, deluding ourselves into believing that our behavior is acceptable or, at least, not reprehensible. We refuse to look at ourselves honestly, we ignore the silent stirrings in our muted conscience, and we avoid responsibility. We become defensive when questioned and find ourselves exhausting, but we continue acting, day after day, postponing the inevitable.

In either case, confession must take place, either at the prompting of the SPIRIT in the sinner’s heart or by the approach of another member of the body of CHRIST, following the commands of (Matthew 18:15) and (Galatians 6:1).

Confession is the cleansing of the wound, the forcing to the surface of the infection that has festered and stained the soul. It can be excruciating as well as humbling, but there is no other way for restoration to begin. Confession must be clear and straightforward. It cannot be couched in excuses or minimized by a spirit of stubbornness. This confession must be made to GOD first and foremost, but it should also be made publicly to the Body of CHRIST if the sin is publicly known. However, if the sin is unknown publicly then it should be properly dealt with privately. As a general rule, confession should be made to anyone directly injured by our sin. Confession of sin is a necessary step toward restoration and renewal. Confession to GOD opens the door for the LORD’S forgiveness. Confession to the one offended opens the door for the victim’s forgiveness. Confession to the church opens the door of opportunity for the church to demonstrate forgiveness.

2. Repentance. To repent is to change course, to reverse direction. Once confession has been made and forgiveness received, repentance must be demonstrated. An unequivocal commitment to turn away from the offending behavior must be made. According to (Proverbs 28:13) GOD’S mercy is extended only to those who confess and forsake their sinful practices.

As with confession, the commitment to repent is most effective when rendered first of all to the LORD and then secondly to the one injured by our offense. One’s personal admission of guilty to those sinned against, accelerates the healing process for all involved in ways which secret promises can not. In the same way a marriage vow is made before witnesses, a renewed commitment to walk with CHRIST is best made before witnesses.

Even when the sin is private, a specific plan outlining how the penitent will make spiritual corrections will maximize success. Accountability systems have great power to guard our steps. The spiritual mentor can help identify weaknesses, circumstances, and vulnerabilities and help steer a clear course. Enlisting a spiritual member of the church to work with us in being faithful is wise. Such “repentance plans” may be necessary for months or years, depending on the nature of the infraction and personal history, but every effort at restoration needs such a plan.

3. Restitution. Some sins require restitution, the attempt to restore the loss someone else has suffered by our hand. Restitution typically involves a formal apology to the injured party and evidence of the offender’s intent to repent. If a face to face apology is deemed necessary, it should always be pre-arranged by church leadership and governed by mediators to help insure a conciliatory environment. Reconciliation is always to be the stated goal and motive for this type of confrontation. The spiritual intent is to “gain thy brother”, not to lose him.

Restitution helps the wounded soldier understand that restoration is possible. The Body of CHRIST should play an instrumental role in identifying and implementing any restitution arrangements. The church, through its appointed representatives, can fairly judge the appropriateness and satisfaction of the restitution effort. Once authenticated by the church, the person being restored can readily accept closure with the injured party when restitution takes place.

4. Loving discipline. The procedures outlined here are reinforced by the church body’s disciplinary process including such requirements as: (1)regular reporting on the restitution process, (2) routine meetings with mentors or counselors, and (3)assigned reading materials.

Establishing accountability partners, appointed by church leadership, and disciplinary policies for restoration can be of great benefit. Loving discipline requires a commitment on the part of the church’s leadership to stand fast and consistently in implementing its policies.

In the face of the offending sin, those representing the church must do so in the spirit of meekness and sincere humility, with each one acknowledging their own vulnerability to the enticements of sin. The old adage is true, “There, but for the grace of GOD, go I.” Discipline must never be punitive but redemptive. It must never be judgmental but forgiving.

5. Restoration closure When honest and straightforward confession has been made, repentance has been acknowledged and demonstrated, restitution has been pursued and completed, and a structure of loving discipline has been enforced, a formal end to the process should be recognized by the church body and/or its leadership. The memory of the sin should be sealed and removed from all conversation, and a celebration of the LORD’S goodness and mercy should be enjoyed. The wounded soldier, now healed and repaired, should take his or her place back in the LORD’S service, free of the past and empowered spiritually to face the future.

No two circumstances are alike. However, biblical guidelines are always valid and required. Many wounded soldiers can be honorably returned to worthwhile services within heaven’s army, if the appropriate steps are taken over a sufficient period of time.

When we come to our senses as did the prodigal in Luke 15, we, by the grace of GOD and HIS restorative process, can step back into the purposes for which HE originally created us. We can fight dependably, once more on the LORD’S side.


Once you have acknowledged and repented of your sin and submitted yourself to your church’s disciplinary process, by faith, you must accept GOD’S promise of restoration. (1 John 1:9) states: “If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Please understand, GOD does not require you to torture yourself continually for the sin which HE has already forgiven you of. You don’t need to keep kicking yourself. GOD forgives you! There will be consequences…and people will draw their own conclusions…but it does not do any good to wallow in self-punishment. The next day always comes. How you enter and surrender that day determines the conclusions. Humble yourself before the LORD. Learn from your failures and in the words of the merciful SAVIOUR, “go and sin no more”.


The severely injured soldier, in the hospital intensive care unit, questions whether or not they will survive their wounds. Maybe that injured soldier is you. As you wait, hoping for relief, your mind is plagued with doubts and concerns. Will life ever be normal for me again? Will the wounds inflicted upon me ever heal? As the burdens press, and the cares distress, and the way grows weary and long, does JESUS care? The truth is, His heart is touched with our grief. Furthermore, we should know that the GOD of the Bible specializes in healing the brokenhearted. He instructs us in scripture, to “cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he shall sustain thee”. Because the LORD is our helper, “weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning”.


Refuse to allow yourself, or Satan, or your perpetrator, to continue to victimize you. It has been well said that nothing can truly hurt us other than the way we react to our misfortune. The attitude and actions of the one victimized is crucial if genuine healing is to occur in their life. With GOD’S help, truly forgive the one who has transgressed against you. To continue to seethe in anger or to maliciously rehearse the hurtful situation to others is counter-productive to the spiritual well being of the one injured. A refusal to “forgive one another, even as GOD for CHRIST sake hath forgiven you” is not only the antithesis to the Christian faith but it also handcuffs one to a life of self inflicted torment. “Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due to him”. JESUS then said: “So likewise shall my heavenly FATHER do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses”. (Matthew 18) It is a Bible principle that one reaps what they sow. How much better to reap mercy in life than misery. Forgiveness may be optional, but the consequences are not.


In the midst of observing other people’s conflicts, the tendency for those on the sidelines is to make judgments and form conclusions that are both inaccurate and inappropriate. Those who desire peace and unity among the brethren should resist the carnal urge to play judge and jury to matters they have no business being involved in. The best policy is to pray for and love those on both sides of the conflict. Refuse to listen to or pass along gossip whether you believe it to be true or not. “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love: but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends”. Proverbs 17:9

Concerning the offender who submits to church authorities, the Apostle Paul wrote, “ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow”. “….confirm your love toward him”…… “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us”. 2 Corinthians 2:7-11