Blue Rock Bed & Breakfast

72 Blue Rock Rd, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 17551
Innkeeper(s): Ed and Stephanie Hersh

Same-Sex Distraction 2 Aug 2015, 5:08 am

            The U.S. President visited Kenya last week with a message of homosexual rights as part of his agenda.  They warned him before his arrival not to bring up the subject,, but he did not respect their wishes.  Kenyans have it right to believe homosexuality distracts from personal health and healthy social relationships. 
            The recent U.S. Supreme Court decision attempting to redefine marriage is folly gone over the edge.   I believe this kind of a decision is more a rejection of God than it is about so-called same-sex attracted couples.  When a person loses his attraction to his Creator, he inevitably becomes more attracted to lust than to love.  True love does not seek self-fulfillment, but the fulfillment and best outcome for another.  Since God IS love, and Love defines marriage, there is no place for lust in marriage. 
            Attraction is based more on desire than on love.  Therefore, attraction is very vulnerable to lust (illegitimate desire) which is the opposite of love.  Physical attraction is not a bad thing, but when it is confused with love, it becomes highly distractive to true love (both heterosexual and homosexual).  God created mankind with desires.  He also created man with the ability to choose between God's way of fulfilling those desires and man's own ways of fulfilling the desires.  So-called same-sex attraction is a choice--a choice to lust not to love.  Opposite sex attraction consummated in sex outsideof marriage is a choice--a choice to lust not to love. 
            Not only did God create marriage for the expression of true love, but the gift of expressing true sexuality which results in pro-creating the race.  Confusing gender roles distracts from God's purpose for human sexuality.  Two men together or  two women together cannot create a baby.   So, while lust detracts and distracts from love, same-gender sexuality detracts and distracts from true sexuality. 
            I understand some reading this will consider some of my statements as insensitive and perhaps unloving.  My intent is to be direct, but very sensitive and very loving.  Sometimes the truth is hard to accept for whatever reason.  God's love transcends man's willingness and ability to receive it.  But when man's perception of love becomes more like God's perception, a change of heart can transform thinking and behaving patterns to become more genuinely sensitive and loving.  I am writing this because I care for the many who get caught in the trap of thinking same-sex attraction is merely a biological issue leaving them powerless to choose otherwise.  Frankly, that is a lie! 
            As a certified counselor, and as a person who can attest to the possibilities of behavioral pattern changes, I can confidently assure you that change is possible when you remain open minded, and especially with the help of God directing the process.  A very tiny minority of same-sex attracted persons may have a medical problem at its source, but for the vast majority, an underlying self-image problem is at the root.   Again, same-sex issues present a distraction from reckoning with the root causes of a person's low self-concept.  If that idea is new to you, you can read some of my other blog posts to see how inner person health begins with inner self evaluation and change.
            I would encourage you not to be distracted from the real issue.  Don't be distracted from God's love.  Evangelist Billy Graham warns in his preaching and writings  that our eternal soul is at stake.  Heaven and hell are real places.  Not only is thumbing your nose at God unhealthy, but it is irreversibly deadly and eternally tormenting.  God is our Refuge.  There is safety in God's love.  Only foolishness would allow something like sexual lust to win your heart over  (away from God's love).  The only safe sex is chaste sex.   Whether homosexual OR heterosexual, sexual relations outside the covenant of God-defined marriage are defiant actions against His design for mankind.  True meaning and purpose in life is found by surrendering your heart to God's love. 
            If you feel like a mess-up, no problem.  It's never too late to turn around.  Simply believe in Jesus and trust His way, not your own.  Allow yourself to be vulnerable to the God who loves unconditionally and without fail.  This kind of love is powerful enough to feel like heaven on earth, and worth far more than all the distractions this world can offer. 

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Taming Ethnic Tensions 5 Jul 2015, 4:44 am

            Seems like just about every conflict between people is being spun by the popular media in America as "racist."  To read more about abuses of the media to propagandize so-called "race" relations, read the book called Mugged: Racist Demagoguery from the Seventies to Obama by Ann Coulter.  One of the fallouts of this propaganda is the emboldening of some individuals who truly harbor hatred in their hearts based on skin color and ethnic background.  The gunman at the A.M.E. church in Charleston, SC two weeks ago seems to be one of these persons.  His actions left nine people dead and grieving families and community members for a lifetime.  Relatively few people allow their hatred to be expressed to this extreme, but it is however, very common for most people to critically prejudge and misjudge people of differing culture and ethnic background. 
            Or is it that only people of ethnic groups other than your own have problems with prejudice?  Is it okay to talk about cultural differences as long as your own cultural beliefs are not challenged as undesirable?  Most people believe they are more open to cultural and ethnic differences than they really are.  The reason is that core beliefs are so rooted in our psyche that we cannot even imagine life different from what is already familiar to us.   An example of two views of the world finding it difficult to communicate would be like an Amish person who never left the family farm in Lancaster, PA understanding the world of a New York City dweller depending on modern technology and street-wise mobility. 
            Many obstacles exist to overcoming cultural and ethnic differences and tensions.  If we somehow overcome the first obstacle of identifying and owning a view of the world that is different from our own, we immediately butt against a second obstacle.  That is, comparing in order to make value judgments.  We elevate our human judgments to supreme authority rather than yielding to the supremacy of God Almighty.  
            From a Christian world view, the God as known in the Bible is the ultimate Judge and supreme authority.  He is all-powerful, yet all-personal, creating each individual human being to bear his image and unique expression of personhood.  Each person is responsible to find and fulfill the innate meaning he or she uniquely contributes to the universe.  God places individuals in families, and families in communities, and communities in a global interdependence. 
            God is the giver of life.  All human life is created equal thus there is only one human race.    Life's deepest meaning is found in honoring God, and other human beings.  Because the first sin of Adam and Eve broke their perfect relationship with God, every person is born since then with a skewed perception of God, himself, and other people.  Like orphaned children the identity and protection of Father's love has been removed.  The default nature of each person born into the human race is sinful and motivated by shame and guilt.  Mankind is helpless and this condition can only be corrected by God himself.  God our Father restores us to son or daughter status only through His very own Son Jesus Christ.  By believing in Jesus we are born again into a new life with our guilt forgiven  and shame washed away. 
            This new life does not mean perfection or a pain-free life.  If means we have begun a process of becoming a son or daughter of a perfect God of justice and mercy.  This process involves change of both our mind and heart.  Our fundamental makeup as a human being does not change, but we must surrender to Father our perceptions of God, ourselves and other people to be changed.  God is our most valuable resource to be able to better see the value in cultures and ethnicity different from our own.  We need God's help (through his Holy Spirit) to recover our God-given identity and purpose for being.
            God also created in each individual a need to relate to other individuals for completion of their identity and purpose.  This need to relate extends to families, communities, and entire race of human beings.  No man, family, or community (culture or ethnicity) is an "island."   The Bible speaks of followers of Jesus as a Body.  Even more so than other people groups, Christ's Body should model diversity of ethnicity working together as one body for the betterment of all parts. 
            So how does a person see past their own cultural blinders and wrestle with their value system to know how to change?  A person's well-intentioned beliefs and values  do not automatically produce  actions that line up with those values.  This is where many people get stuck.  They know and want to do what is right, but for a variety of reasons (too numerous to discuss here), fail to follow through.  Treating others with dignity and equality requires a motivation of love.  Peter in the Bible writes, "Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins" (1 Peter 4:8).  But as noted above, we must contend with our default negative human responses.  Love does not come natural, but takes a lot of effort to practice.  A primary enemy of love is critical judgment.  whether a person is a Christian or not, critically judging and condemning others (done by individuals or groups is the single most destructive force behind cultural and ethnic conflict).
            Critical judgment surfaces through one of three main forms--complaining, blaming, and justifying.  Examples of complaining are complaining of other people seemingly enjoying a better lifestyle than you, easier access to opportunity, or a privileged status of perceived superiority.   Blaming might include labeling another group as trouble makers, not taking responsibility for your own part in causing strained relations, or repeatedly pointing out others' faults without admitting your own.  Justifying may include holding bitterness and resentment instead of forgiving, requiring someone else to change before you consider changing your own behavior, or making excuses for your own prideful or vengeful actions toward others.  Instead of allowing ourselves to complain, blame, or justify, we should take steps to get the facts, assess what can or cannot be done about a problem, and do our best to stay focused on positive change.
            Ethnic tensions are tamed when individuals are willing to look at the roots of their critical judgments.  A most important question becomes, "What core values, beliefs, and assumptions are unconsciously driving your  thoughts, feelings, and behavior?"  If the default direction is toward the negative (as discussed  above), it takes a heart transformation to reverse the patterns.  The root of all ethnic conflict can be traced to the condition of the hearts of the individual people in the groups.  All mankind has the same heart tendencies irregardless of skin color, cultural background, physical distinctives/ limitations, or ethnic preferences.
            OR, since the heart condition is the core issue, another way of  looking at ethnic tensions, is that it's not about the ethnicity at all. It's just about people differences. Ethnicity becomes just one of those differences to complain about, blame someone for, or justify away a fundamental poor heart condition.  Yes, ethnicity (parent's background) is the strongest influencer of who we are in terms of personality, socio-economic status, and outlook on the future.  That's why it's become popular in the media to propagandize so-called racial tensions.  They are messing with peoples' emotions, because they understand the heart tendency to complain, blame, and justify.   Hopefully after reading this you won't be fooled by them any more!  
            Especially during the last 15 years of my life, I have made a special effort to develop some significant relationships with people other than my own skin color and ethnic background.  My experiences with these people have been very enlightening and rewarding. I've discovered as much, and perhaps more, about myself and my own biases as I have discovered those of other people.  Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted as saying, "The only way to have a friend is to be one."  May I leave you with a challenge not to merely tolerate people different than you are, but befriend them! 

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Pain to Refuge 7 Jun 2015, 7:41 am

This article shares a few things in verse format, then share some Bible verses to focus on  Refuge as pain bearer.

When I feel lost, He's the One to be found.
When I feel unsure, He becomes my security and certainty.
When I feel unsafe, He assures me as Refuge.

When turbulence requires an ambulance, He transports me to Refuge.
When offense requires forgiveness, Refuge supplies all I need.
When hate requires an answer of love, Refuge love never fails.
When hopelessness requires a purpose to go on, Refuge hope satisfies the heart.
When doubt makes faith seem impossible, Refuge faith springs from a bottomless fountain. 

Who else could do what only God can do?
Why would I even try a counterfeit Refuge?
   ... complaining to drown disappointment
   ... booze, drugs, or food to drown sorrow
   ... non-marital sex to drown loneliness
   ... thrill of risk to drown fear
   ... blame to drown guilt
   ... self-rejection to drown shame
   ... victimization to drown victim-hood
   ... all-of-the-above and more to drown bitterness, resentment, and rebellion

Pain in the heart shows itself in many forms;  disappointments, sorrows, loneliness, fear, guilt, shame, and victim status.  Running to Refuge for healing is much better than complaining, overindulging, fornicating, risky behavior, blaming, hating self, and victimizing others.  Seeking Refuge finds happiness instead of complaining, joy instead of sorrow, fulfillment instead of loneliness, faith instead of fear, right-standing instead of guilt, self-acceptance instead of shame, and victor instead of victim.

The Bible has much to say about this:

"There is a way that appears to be right,
    but in the end it leads to death."  (Proverbs 16:25)

"Truly my soul finds rest in God;
    my salvation comes from him.
  Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will never be shaken." (Psalm 62:1-2)

"The Lord will rescue his servants;
    no one who takes refuge in him will be condemned." (Psalm 34:22)

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me;
    he delivered me from all my fears.
 Those who look to him are radiant;
    their faces are never covered with shame." (Psalm 34:4-5)

"God is our refuge and strength,
    an ever-present help in trouble. ...
The LordAlmighty is with us;
    the God of Jacob is our fortress." (Psalm 46:1,11)

"Wine is a mocker and beera brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise." (Proverbs 20:1)

"But a man who commits adultery has no sense; whoever does so destroys himself."  (Proverbs 6:32)

"Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me." (Psalm 31:2)

"How priceless is your unfailing love, O God!
    People take refuge in the shadow of your wings." (Psalm 36:7)

"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
    will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
    my God, in whom I trust.”
He will cover you with his feathers,
    and under his wings you will find refuge;
    his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart." (Psalm 91:1-2,4)

About Jesus, Isaiah prophesied:
"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering," (Isaiah 53:4)
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
     and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair."  (Isaiah 61:1-3)

Jesus himself said:
 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  (Matthew 11:28-30)

Peter, a follower of Jesus, and writer in the New Testament, quotes Proverbs 3:34, which says,
“God opposes the proud
    but shows favor to the humble.”  (1 Peter 5:5)
and then Peter makes this statement,
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."  (1 Peter 5:6-7)

I am so grateful that it is never too late to surrender.  God always responds with love to a humble heart. God is my shelter, bomb shelter, safe house, igloo, bubble, balloon, sanctuary, asylum, haven, indestructible dwelling, solid rock, fortress, oasis, .....  or what word describes "refuge" for you?  Are you willing to surrender, and run to Jesus Christ as Refuge?  Right now is never too soon.  

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at  http://bluerockb
by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Trash Turned to Treasure 3 May 2015, 5:18 am

            This is part three of a three part trilogy on the kind of "trash"  known as inner conflict or unresolved heart issues.   Part One (Taking Out the Trash) discussed some of the ways inner pain can  create unhealthy patterns of thinking and tolerating destructive behaviors.  In Part Two (Trash Leads to Crash) I show how these patterns develop into  diseases that destroy our quality of life, and if not dealt with, can lead to disastrous cancer and death.  This  article shows how to overcome and live in freedom as a Christian. 
            We looked at the example of the ancient King David in the Bible.  This godly man became a victim of trash thoughts and actions to the point of also victimizing others around him.  Psalm 51 records some of his response when he finally came to his senses so-to-speak.  Here is what David remembered about God, "Behold, You desire truthin the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom" (Psalm 51:6).  His heart of repentance allowed for redemption, even though some consequences had a high cost.  Instead of only feeling sorry for himself (remorse), he demonstrated sorrow for the grief he had caused his victims and God himself (repentance).  His offenses were great, but he recognized and trusted in the greater grace of God to execute mercy and justice to deal with the trash.  The way this occurred in David's life warrants a closer look than this article can provide.
            It seems somewhat ironic that the same inner person David allowed to become twisted toward evil, is the same inner person who became vulnerable to correction and straight living.  To experience the gladcenter of our being (peace, joy, satisfaction), we must learn to manage the risks and vulnerability of the sad center of our being (shame, guilt, and dissatisfaction).   Correcting "heart issues" cannot be done by denying they exist, minimizing their magnitude, or placing the blame somewhere else.  Shutting down your heart to the potential for "sad," will also shut down any possibilities of "glad."  Another way to see this is to recognize that life brings both sad and glad experiences.  There is no either/ or option, but both/ and is guaranteed. 
            Therefore, moving forward in our journey of life, whether a past experience becomes trash or treasure, is (in large measure), governed by how we decide to respond to it. We become what we focus on.  What we think, is who we become.  Ralph Waldo Emerson is quoted to say, "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be."  This is true, at least in part, because each person, individually, is the ONLY person who can take complete charge of his thoughts to forge positive change. 
            The vulnerability of our human condition requires us to make an important distinction between guilt and shame.  Brene Brown, researcher at University of Texas, writes and speaks extensively on the topic of shame.  She points out that guilt involves feelings about what people DO, while shame involves feelings about who people ARE.  Guilt convicts a person of their conduct, while shame condemns the person.  When we confuse guilt and shame, we are unable to maintain our self-worth in the face of admitting guilt for wrong actions.  If we thinkshamefully of ourselves as a worthless, irreparable, unredeemable person, as noted above, we will surely set ourselves up to become that kind of person.  If we think  unashamedly of ourselves as a worthy person capable of repairable and redeemable actions, we can position ourselves for success.   Since our natural human tendency is to think negatively (shamefully) of ourselves, it requires effort to transform our thinking patterns away from shame-based responses.  Brene Brown also points out the error of equating vulnerability with weakness.  Making your heart vulnerable to things outside your comfort zone, is a sign of maturity, not weakness.  When you can acknowledge and face your personal susceptibility to shame-based thinking, you become a stronger person.  I recommend Dr. Brown's books on the topic of shame to gain more insight as to how this works. 
            The heart of mankind can be the source of mischievous desires and bad judgment, but at the same time, it is also the source of genuine satisfaction and fulfillment.  King David's example showed us how to overcome shame (feelings of worthlessness) to find the strength to face his guilt (sinful behavior).  Although anxiety and rest come from the same inner center of being, David fought through his fear and anxiety, so that the treasure of rest and peace of mind could be attained.              Jesus said, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21).  A Christian perspective of treasure begins with a desire to honor God with our thoughts and actions. The more obstacles (trash) we can remove from our hearts the more healed and Christ-like we can become, and thus the more fulfilled and purposeful we can live.
            A book that greatly helped me early in my personal healing journey is called The Life Model: Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You by James Friesen, PhD,  The authors write the following about how the heart, soul, and mind work together,
            "When the Word of the Lord tells us to love God with our ”heart, soul, and mind” (Matthew 22:37), that includes our whole self. The heart is your eyes for seeing spiritual reality (Ecclesiastes 11:9); literally, the heart is the ”eyes and ears that know God.” The heart is where understanding resides, and is the origin of spiritual discernment. It is particularly influential in shaping a person’s sense of spiritual identity. ”Living from the heart Jesus gave you” is a term that brings identity together with the spiritual reality of who we are. It is a term that says God designed each of us to be a particular kind of person, with characteristics uniquely our own. When we are living from the heart Jesus gave us, we are being the persons He specifically designed. Living this way integrates the soul, where the feelings are, and the mind, where the thinking takes place.
            In talking about our hearts, we need to be careful to note that the heart is not the emotions. Living from our hearts is not simply doing what our feelings tell us. That would be folly. Living from our hearts means that there is an inner directive that, if governed by the Spirit of God, keeps us on a path that is spiritually attuned to who we are and how God is leading. When our hearts are focused on God, we see who we are and know what we are to be doing. The Word of God reminds us that we all had desperately sick hearts (Jeremiah 17:9), and we all need God to heal them. The heart from Jesus is a reborn heart, a heart where He resides. There are many references to a transformed heart throughout scripture. One passage is in the book of Ephesians, where the apostle Paul prays for the new believers in the Ephesian church. ”I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith” (Ephesians 3:16-17). God wants to live in our hearts. When He is there we experience the freedom and power to be the persons He created us to be" (Friesen, 1999).  
            Tolerating trash in our lives creates a divided heart, invites pests as guests, and allows our enemy to steal the abundance of life that Jesus came to give us (see John 10:10).  However, our hearts can be transformed into treasure, like the process of refining gold into a treasure of treasures.   Living with an undivided center of identity and integrity is the essence of wholeness.  Wholeness of heart is a treasure worth sacrificing for.  It can produce advantages such as preparing for future unannounced storms of life, simplifying and avoiding further complications in relationship, and living an overall healthier and higher quality of existence.  Why would we settle for anything less?
            The purest gold of all is the relationship we can enjoy with Father God.  Our tendency to be defeated by the shame and guilt in our heart is caused by our sin nature.  Jesus is our Savior from this vulnerable condition.   When we accept this treasure in our heart, we are once again restored to living in the presence of Almighy God.  We can experience God as Father, and enjoy all the benefits of sonship (or daughtership) with him. 
            And remember what made the greatest impact on King David's heart to push it in a different direction?  When he realized the One he offended the most by his sinful actions was God Himself.  Relationship with God was his ultimate treasure that he lost.  We too offend God when we offend (mistreat, sin against) other people.  It offends God when we critically judge, prejudge, or misjudge a fellow human being (when they fail to meet our expectations or needs).  These offenses (committed by ourselves or others) have been forgiven by Jesus as our Refuge. We need only to turn offenses over to him for his forgiveness (see John 20:21-23).  The Psalms (many written by David) express this Refuge theme again and again.  That's one reason I make the Psalms part of my daily reading, and I encourage you to do the same.
            I am reminded of a Neil Young 1970's hit song called Heart of Gold. which says, "I want to live, I want to give,  I've been a miner for a heart of gold.  ....   Keep me searchin' for a heart of gold ..."  What if we each sing that song about ourselves?  I think our world could be a much better place if each of us could turn the search inward before searching outward.  Can we really know what we're searching for, if we haven't found it first within?  A final question, "Am I willing to make my heart a "heart of gold," so that "miners" (other people) can discover the gold?"   Go for the gold!  And make the most of the refining process. 

            Disclaimer:  I realize there may be a small percentage of people who read this who have tried as hard  as they can to choose the better way, but feel, for whatever reason, they are unable to do it.  Please do not feel condemned for trying and failing.  Seek help from a trusted friend or counselor, and remember that human flesh may be weak, but God is strong.  God only asks of us what he knows we can handle.  

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Trash Leads to Crash 5 Apr 2015, 8:00 am

            This is part two of a three part trilogy on "trash talk."  Part one discussed some of the ways to allow pain to expose unhealthy patterns of thinking and tolerating garbage in our mental and emotional life.  In this article I show how these patterns create diseases that destroy our quality of life and the next article will show how to protect and overcome the destruction. 
            We looked at the example of King David in the Old Testament.  The Bible describes how this godly man allowed trash thoughts and actions to wreck his life and the lives of those around him.  His unchecked desires led to inappropriate entertainment, which led to womanizing, which led to adultery, which led to murder and a cover-up, which all shortened his kingship and damaged his legacy.  This raises a question, "How could David, chosen by God himself to be king,  experience such a hard crash?"   How could a person identified as "a man after God's heart" (1 Samuel 13:14),  become vulnerable to such evil actions?    Merely asking this question hopefully sobers us to some degree into considering our own vulnerability. 
            The Bible offers some valuable insight into the susceptibility of the heart of mankind. Jesus himself taught extensively about inner person health, and shared  many stories to reveal his listeners' true heart condition.  In the first book of the New Testament, the gospel of Matthew 5:21-22 says, “You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.’ But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell."  Jesus is making a very strong connection between holding anger towards a person and the wicked act of killing.  The feelings of anger are not sinful, but allowing anger to turn into bitterness, hatred, and resentment leads to cancer and evil.  The word 'Raca' in this text is similar to the word 'jerk.'  When we turn our attention from judging a person's actions, to critically judging his/her intentions or motives, we are considering them a jerk, and thus unworthy of their Creator's personhood. 
            For example, let's say your boss turns you down for a job promotion.   You may disagree with him/her about your past performance, potential duties, or other specific details of projects.  Your assessment (judgment) may be that the boss isn't understanding, fair, or best for the organization.  Instead of engaging the conflict to work through the differences, you decide to hold your opinions to yourself.  When your "judging" crosses the line to thinking of your boss as a "jerk," you begin to kill the relationship.  Your dislike of actions turns to embittered heart toward the person.  It may happen at once or on a slippery slope.  Perhaps your disappointment causes you to have a keener ear for other people's disagreements with the boss, and you participate in bad-mouthing and rumors (slander and gossip).  Your performance may slip because your attitude towards your work stinks.  Your boss is forced to confront you for a performance issue, and you react with complaining more about him/her, blaming someone else's faults, or justifying your own bad behavior.  Now your bitterness and hatred is turning to full blown rage and it's harder to control your emotions.  You "snap" at other people in your life (co-workers, roommate, spouse, kids) and maybe for comfort you turn to an old bad habit (addiction) you kicked a while ago.  If you're still blaming your boss for all this trouble in your life, your rage and resentment could turn to retaliation, and before you realize it, you're thinking about harming your boss (or someone else).  If these "trash" thoughts and feelings are not interrupted, they could develop into an act of revenge.  That's how trash leads to crash.
            Again, feelings of anger are not automatically a bad thing. Anger (as with many emotions) is a messenger.  Anger is trying to tell you something about a deeper problem of unresolved stress, unmet legitimate needs, or residual shame and guilt. 
Anger is often a "trash detector" emotion.  Failing to pay attention to the message and original source of the anger can entrap the heart and mind in a prison of harmful thoughts and emotions. 
            The last week of February 2015, brought a very sad and cold reality to Lancaster County. Similar scenarios to the above played out in real life in our community.  In two separate incidents, a community leader committed murder.  One is a former pastor of a congregation who looked to him for shepherding.  The other was an assistant principal in a high school with youth looking up to him for guidance.  It is difficult to comprehend how something this horrible can happen.  The families are let to deal with the trauma of the events, but the community is also traumatized. 
            We must remember that these events are "abnormal."  We must guard against these particular leaders' failures from casting an overall critical judgment upon all authority figures.  "Who can we trust?" is a very valid question, for example, but assuming that all leaders are untrustworthy because of the actions of a few, will not serve our community well.  Failure to trust good, solid, trustworthy leaders opens the door even wider for predator-type "leaders" to make their move.  Trustworthy leaders are worthy of the trust of their followers, and the vast majority of community leaders have paid a price to be in the position they occupy--positions earned by trust. 
            Though these tragedies are a very small part of the "big picture," it is worth looking at how they occur to try to keep them from happening.  I mention them to show that just as in the time of King David in the Old Testament, leaders today are also at great risk for moral and personal failures.  When leaders crash, the fallout can be devastating to a community.  Understanding the magnitude of the problem can help the grieving process back to normalcy.   Leaders are judged by their outward performance, but on the inside, their inner person is made of the same stuff as all mankind. 
            We try to conceal pain.  We don't try to be a bad person.  But concealing pain (not dealing with the trash) will lead people to do bad things.  So, in order to intentionally be a good person, we must intentionally deal with conflict and pain.  There is much wisdom in the Proverbs and other parts of the Bible about finding answers on how to do this.   In chapter 5 of the gospel of Matthew quoted above, Jesus taught how to avoid murder by acknowledging anger and turning away from calling people jerks.  In the verses following, Jesus shows adultery (going to bed with a person not your spouse) occurs in your heart (with no physical act involved).  He says, "You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’   But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:27-28).  Looking is not automatically lust, but allowing sexual desire to take your thoughts and feelings to a place only meant for your marriage partner is adultery.  "Moral failures," or "affairs" (euphemisms for adultery) do not occur only with the physical act of sex, but with the first expression of the wayward heart (ie. flirting, emotionally connecting, meeting alone, fixation).  Similar to justifying anger, entertaining lust is like trash that will lead to crash.
            The scenarios above may play out in many variations.  Instead of a boss, it could be any authority figure including a family member or church leader.  In the Church, the incorrect notion that, "Christians are not supposed to feel anger" can hinder the trash collection process.  Over spiritualizing or blaming too much on the devil can also be a common way to evade taking responsibility for inner person health. 
            In sum, the health of our heart determines the health of our entire being. Keeping the heart as free from trash (encumbrances, unresolved stress, and cancerous thought and feelings) as possible will assure the highest quality of life.  May I encourage you each day to take a few moments and briefly examine your heart condition before God.

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Taking Out the Trash 1 Mar 2015, 7:11 am

            One of the services of local municipal government in America is trash disposal.  What happens when you neglect to put out on the curb your property's trash container for the weekly pick-up?  It becomes all the more smelly during the next week!  Dealing with the trash may not be a favorite chore, but it must be done;  distributing containers in appropriate spots throughout the house, trash can liners inserted, emptied at least once a week into the curb-side pick-up containers (also lined so hopefully it doesn't need scrubbed every week because of the smell), maybe more or less steps (depending on your standards of cleanliness), and finally, taking the household container to the curb.
            As much as we may dislike the trash removal chores, the alternatives are certainly worse.  Neglecting to remove spoiled food from the refrigerator or soiled diapers from the baby’s room, will create smelly consequences.  And the germs ....  Unclean environments create unhealthy conditions which make unhealthy, sick people.  Proper handling of trash is an essential part of maintaining a healthy household and living a healthy life.  It is a faithful physical reminder of an emotional and spiritual process in our lives.
            Our physical being can be thought of as a "house" we live in while we exist on earth.  Our mental and emotional well-being determines in great measure the condition of our "house" (individual person) and our "neighborhood" (family, friends, etc.). When talking about mental and emotional health, “taking out the trash” may have a slightly different meaning for different people.  Prolonged mental or emotional pain usually means there is some sort of "trash" to be removed.  The trash in this case is likened to some sort of inner woundedness.  We live in a broken world with broken people acting out their brokenness towards their environment (including other people), thus creating more wounding and brokenness.  This cycle affects every person without exception.  Since the beginning of sin's entry into the world, mistreatment, injustice, and even abuse are to be expected.  The hurt we feel as a result does not mean we are weak, just human.  Trying to be "tough," by ignoring or minimizing the effects of mental and emotional pain can create far more significant long term damage than paying attention to it right away.  Pain is not the problem.  Pain is only a messenger.  Heeding pain's message by acknowledging and working it through will help prevent trash buildup in your inner person.  Does this sound like a smelly or frightening chore?  Do not despair.  We have hope in a "trash hauler" even for this kind of trash. 
            The difficult part of this scenario is that until the pain becomes unbearable, mankind is wired to resist inner person trash removal "chores."  Human nature prefers familiarity even when the familiar becomes unhealthy.  Brokenness is accepted and even sometimes celebrated before the ugliness of its unhealthy qualities are discovered. This phenomenon, at least in part,  explains why a person abused as a child will often select abusive people to hang out with as an adult. 
            One of the most prominent examples of someone not taking out the trash in his heart, is  the ancient King David.  What began as unintended (and unchecked) thoughts and feelings ended up with intentional deception, adultery and murder.  David wasn't tuned into the trash until a prophet named Nathan shared a story with him that revealed the truth.  One "misjudgment" upon another was, in reality, one sin upon another (ie. idleness, complacency, visual stimulation, conversation, flirting, lust (confused as love), sweet-talking a woman not his wife (victimizing), affair (adultery), hiding affair, inappropriate suggestions (trickery & manipulation), half truths (lying and cover-up), commanding army (misuse of power, killing, & murder).  See the book of 2 Samuel chapters 11 and 12 in the Bible to read the details.  David and the entire nation of Israel had to suffer grave consequences because of his actions.  What began as "bad judgment" ended in a hard crash.  In my next blog post I plan to talk more about how trash held in a person's heart can lead to this kind of crash.
            For now, let me say that holding anger, bitterness, resentment, envy, jealousy, shame, self-bitterness, worry and other negative feelings create destructive forms of trash that defile our personhood (Hebrews 3:12; 12:15).   Jesus taught that our sinful thoughts and attitudes are as serious as our actions (Matthew 5:21-22).  Sometimes we even try to justify actions as "gray areas," to make excuse for what we know is wrong. 
            If you experience lingering unrest in your soul, conflict in a relationship, mood swings, worry, doubts about who you are or your purpose for being, or other negative feelings that leave you confused or doubtful about the future, let me encourage you to make a commitment to finding the source and getting rid of the trash.  Here are some questions to ask yourself to help with this task.

  • Is there a person(s) in your life you try to avoid having contact with? 
  • Is there someone you are focused on to meet a need in your life, but they do not seem to share the same commitment or provide assistance? 
  • Do you have a habit you are afraid to admit might be an addiction? 
  • Are you not eating or losing sleep because of an obsession to success on a work project? 
  • Are you dabbling in something that you are afraid will ruin your reputation if the wrong person finds out about it? 
  • Is there a particular place, specific event, or regular activity, that triggers negative feelings (especially with unknown reason)?
  • Do you occasionally stretch the truth (tell a lie) for "convenience" sake? 
  • Are different people trying to tell you the same thing about a part of your character that you really don't want to hear? 
  • Do other people think you are less open minded as you believe you are? 
  • Are you addicted to porn or some substance but don't know what to do about it? 
  • Do you think about killing yourself or someone else in order to solve a problem?   
              The more questions to which you answer "yes," the more likely your standards of "heart cleanliness" may be deficient.  It also means you may be at greater  risk for doing something dangerous or tragic.  If the task of removing the trash seems too overwhelming, seek help from a trusted friend and competent counselor.  If you are planning right now to harm someone, go Immediately to an ER (emergency room).  DO NOT HESITATE! 
            If you are a confessing Christian (trusting Jesus Christ as your Savior and Lord), you are not automatically exempt from the task of taking out the trash.  In all reverence and respect for what Christ accomplished through his death and resurrection, let us recognize that Jesus came to be our trash hauler.  He saves us from our sins, and heals the  pain of the consequences of the sins (Isaiah 53:4).  Our trash is hauled away through repentance.  We put our trash in a container and turn it over to him.   Confession and repentance is obviously recognized as a means to receive forgiveness of a grievous sin like murder, but we also need to repent even if we have simply harbored wrong attitudes and thoughts and committed less heinous actions. 
            Jesus is the way into Father's presence where there is no trash to be encountered.  You are now on a journey to receive more and more of God's presence with Father as the destination.  Your conversion experience did not remove all the trash at one time.  It began the process of taking out the trash that keeps you from having a more intimate fellowship with Father God (even now before your final destination is reached). 
            If you need help from a counselor, it does not make you less of a Christian.  If you are a leader, you are at even greater risk.  Do not allow pride to minimize the dangers.  A crash similar to King David's would not only hurt your own life, but many others as well. 
            God wants the trash gone even more than you do.  God wants to know you as he made you in his original design before trash (sin) entered the world.  Oh to know God, and be known by Him.  That should be our greatest motivator of all for taking out the trash!    

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Le Rucher, Trachselwald, and Reconciliation 1 Feb 2015, 6:30 am

            Last month my wife and I took a trip to Europe.  We visited Le Rucher Ministries for a week where I participated in training with a model of debriefing for missionaries.  Le Rucher offers an excellent program for missionaries and Christian leaders to process changes and events in their lives to help them effectively continue their service. 
            Because our visit took us to Switzerland, we decided to explore some of the sites related to what is known in Church history as the Reformation.  The Anabaptists (re-baptisers) are traced back to Zurich where the first adult baptism took place on Januray 21, 1525 near the Great Munster cathedral then pastored by Ulrich Zwingli.  Because Anabaptist beliefs conflicted with the state-run church, they endured severe persecution for their faith and many were forced to flee their homeland to take refuge elsewhere.  Some of them came all the way to America to find freedom to practice their religious faith.  Lancaster County Pennsylvania’s earliest settlers were mostly among this group of freedom seekers. 
            Desiring to research more of my own faith and  family roots, last year I discovered the maternal side of my family has a direct link to a Martin family who fled Switzerland eleven generations ago.  Before arriving in Lancaster to join his sons who had arrived earlier, Christian Martin had spent time in a prison notorious as a place of martyrdom for many of his church brethren.  The prison is located in the tower of a castle in the Emmental region called Trachselwald Castle.  On the 19th of January we visited this castle. 
            The castle is being preserved as a memorial to the sacrifices many have made for their faith.  The prison tower remains today in the condition it existed hundreds of years ago.  It was a very humbling experience for me to visit the place where my ancestor spent time under very oppressive circumstances. 
            In recent years Anabaptist and Reform church leaders have been involved in reconciliation efforts to mend the wounds caused by this type of darkness in our history.  Efforts are being made to preserve Trachselwald castle specifically as a place to facilitate healing and restoration of life-affirming cooperation for expressions of faith in the Church.  See more about the Trachselwald castle at
            In 2011, before I knew details about Anabaptist persecution, the Trachselwald castle, and my family ties to it, I authored a book on the topic of forgiveness and reconciliation.  Very similar to the effects of physical imprisonment, the human heart is bound in a spiritual prison which we can escape from through the power of the death and resurrecton of Jesus Christ.  When we are willing to admit our lost and imprisoned condition of heart, Christ is able to free us from all effects of sin, hurts, wounds, mistreatments, and abuses.  The afflicting pain in our heart can be exchanged at the Cross. 
            My book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart explains more about how to discover things that may be unknowingly (or knowingly) burdening you, and  how to surrender them to Christ.  You can obtain a copy online.  You can contact me about the book or if you are looking for help to process difficult circumstances in your life.  If you are a Christian pastor, missionary, or ministry leader, I would especially encourage you not to delay reaching out for the help available. 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

New Year Resolution 4 Jan 2015, 5:53 am

            New year, fresh start, renewed hopes, re-ignited dreams, are all somehow part of the January 1 experience.  But for many of us, it's going to take nothing short of a revolution, (much more than a resolution), to make 2015 better than 2014.  That is, a revolution in our thinking and perceiving how the world operates.
            A resolution (decision) to lose weight, kick a bad habit, get out of debt, or love your family more, is common in the 1st quarter of the year, but it's the 4th quarter outcomes that tell the real story.  I've heard it said, "Making decisions is easy.  It's managing those decisions that really makes the difference."  Breaking down a goal/ resolution into manageable steps so you can consistently see your progress, is a key.   Are you ready to manage a revolutionary year in 2015? 
            You've probably heard that infamous definition of insanity, "doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results."  Improvement requires change.  Not just any kind of change, but change in the right direction. 
            If you really want to make 2015 a better year, one of the most important changes you can make is becoming more solution-focused.  Many times we get so tangled in our problems that we get stuck being problem-focused rather than solution-focused.  We become what we focus on.  If we focus on our doubts, worries, and unbelief, we become a fear-driven person.  If we focus on sureties, possibilities, and belief, we become a faith-driven person.  Our thoughts, feelings, and actions demonstrate one or the other; fear or faith.  Which will dominate our focus for 2015?  Will we cave in to fear of finding problems with no solutions, or will we resolve to find faith for solutions to problems? 
            Winston Churchill once said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; ;an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."  We hope for fewer difficulties in 2015.   That hope may or may not be realized, but one thing is for sure.  We can choose to focus on the opportunities more than the difficulties. 
            May 2015 be an overcoming year for each person reading this!  Seek to make God a bigger part of your solutions, and find Him blessing your resolve! 

                Note:   The book Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart discusses themes of dealing with disappointments, offense and finding freedom in forgiveness.  This book is designed to help people (especially in the Christian faith)  to discover and dislodge things in life that lead to defeat. Don't miss out on your chance to use this book as a helpful tool in discovering Refuge in Christ. It can be purchased by clicking here: . If you get anywhere near Pennsylvania for vacation or on business, be sure to look us up for lodging at 

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Blindness Does Not Destroy Vision 7 Dec 2014, 7:23 am

Last month I answered the following "call" from
            "UNBROKEN, in theaters Christmas Day, is the most inspirational and faith-revitalizing film you'll see all year. And now Universal Pictures and director Angelina Jolie are giving you and your audience the chance to be part of this epic event by sharing your story of resilience, triumph and the power of God to deliver us from our trials.
            The studio has launched the #IAmUnbrokencampaign in conjunction with the film that celebrates Louis Zamperinis unbroken spirit by inviting people from all walks of life to share their inspiring stories. Participants are encouraged to use hashtag #IAmUnbrokenwhen submitting and sharing their story on their own social channels in order to generate awareness."

My story follows:
            Becoming blind ranks at the top of the list of things people fear the most.  I had no way of being aware of that fact when I was born legally blind because of broken optic nerves.  I'm sure my parents had some fears when they discovered I couldn't see like other children my age. However, I grew up on a farm and I pitched in with all the chores for a healthy work ethic to learn unbrokenness.  Unbrokenly confident in my abilities, it was other peoples' brokenness  that kept me from fitting in socially and vocationally.  I couldn't compete well in sports.  I couldn't get a driver's license and at age 16 get a car to impress the girls and dream of having a family and life companion. 
            But after questioning God in my teen years and wondering why he didn't heal my eyes, I started discovering how much of a loving Father God, He REALLY is.  My life turned around when I was in college.   I found a sweetheart for a wife.   We raised four children together, and now the grandchildren are starting to come. 
            I was unbroken in my quest for employment.  The government declared me disabled and unemployable.  I suffered my share of injustice through job denials, unfair performance expectations, and job promotion refusals. However, I made a career of software development for 17 years.  After a graduate degree in counseling, I transitioned into pastoral ministry.  My wife and I started a bed and breakfast business we still operate today.  I went on for a doctorate degree, authored a book, and serve numerous churches and organizations in Christian ministry.
            God has blessed me incredibly.  I'm occasionally tempted to fall back into the brokenness of depression and anxiety I once allowed to influence my life.  I've come to realize everyone is broken in  some way, but God always offers a way through the brokenness.  As a trained and experienced counselor God now gives me the privilege of helping other  people overcome their brokenness.  My severe eyesight limitations have turned my heart to God in ways not possible otherwise.  By his creative fashioning, I have become a more useful tool in the Master's hand.
            My Name Is Ed Hersh and I Am Unbroken

I also submitted a song with my story and posted it to
The song is inspired from verses in John chapter 14 where Jesus talks about Father God building a house for his people to live in.  Our physical body, or "house" while living on earth, is superceded by a spiritual house for our being to dwell in the presence of God.  We do not have to wait for heaven to experience this "house," but can enjoy deeper personal relationship with Father God while existing on earth.  Come on in to His House today!   Jesus is the Way;  Father's House is the destination! 

I would love to hear your story.  We can connect through Linkedin, Google Plus,  Facebook, Skype, telephone, or in person.  I would also love to share with you more of the details of God's wondrous works in my life.  I would welcome the opportunity to share with your team or group some of my secrets for remaining unbroken in a broken world. 

Where to discover more:

Blue Rock Bed and Breakfast - lodging and hospitality in Lancaster, PA;  

Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry - To visit Ed for counseling, book as a speaker, inquire about training your team for inner person health, arrange a retreat for team, marriage, personal, growth and enrichment

Read a copy of Ed's book called Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart

Be inspired and equipped by more articles at Ed's Refuge blog -

by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at:

Pass the Spinach 2 Nov 2014, 5:06 am

             So, forgiveness is a little bit like eating your spinach.  Most people know it's extremely healthy, but very few actually do it.  What is it about the fundamental truth of forgiveness that eludes even the most seasoned leaders of businesses, organizations, and churches? 
            I believe one of the most significant ways to improve your life is to grow in your understanding and practice of forgiveness.  
            Okay, so we live in a broken world.  Life has its disappointments.  We need to deal with them, and just "let it go and move on," right?  Well ...  Too often this is an excuse for sweeping things under the rug.  If you don't take time to identify your failed expectations and  "own" your critical judgments, there's nothing to let go of, and nothing to move on TO. 
            All of us have things happen that create offense and pain.  Maybe you went out of your way to help someone, only to have them turn on you.  Maybe you get dropped unexpectedly in a job or relationship.  Someone at work, church, or home makes you feel abandoned, rejected, incompetent, afraid, or mistreated in some way. 
So how do we keep from letting these sorts of things snag us in the trap of bitterness and resentment?  We know forgiveness is the answer, but why do we keep trying so many other options before we give forgiveness a chance to work?
            Well, let's just be honest.  Lack of forgiveness is about CONTROL.  Every person alive is a so-called "control freak."  Going back to the first man and woman on earth, Adam and Eve, the demand to decide for ourselves, right from wrong, is built in to our DNA.   When someone does something we don't like, we claim the right to decide whether it's right or wrong.  So, when things don't go our way, we feel anger, fear, or shame  because we feel loss of control.  This happens so automatically, we often don't realize it.
            You see, God's original design for mankind, did NOT include this need to know.  It was OUR choice, and now each person faces a dilemma.  We can't blame God, our parents, or the one who offended us for the way we feel.  WE must own the disappointment, dissatisfactions, discomforts, and failed expectations.
With anger, for example, feeling frustrated, annoyed, upset, vengeful etc. are very normal.  However, these are surface feelings.  Anger is merely a symptom.  It's not the root issue.  Feeling upset or frustrated means there is something hidden under the rug. 
            The way I define forgiveness is this: "surrendering to God the right to judge."   Yes, surrendering control to God takes the burden of judgment off me, and puts it back where it belongs.  In the original design of mankind, as explained in Genesis, the Creator was the sole judge of good and evil.  God intended men and women to eat from "the tree of life," and not from "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."   Through every generation since the original sin, our rebellion against Creator's design keeps us from knowing our loving Father as  He wants to be known.  He wants us to know Him as his sons (or daughters) who look to him for their identity, protection and provision.  Eating from the wrong "tree"  messes up this relationship, but we CAN choose to eat from the "tree of life."
            Surrendering our heart to God is a lot like eating our spinach.  We know it's the right, life-giving thing to do, but we usually find something else to eat instead.  We come up with some way to cope that doesn't involve facing our pain.  This may be something as benign as over eating, or it may be forming an addictive habit using alcohol, drugs, pornography, or working too much.  In my opinion, all destructive behaviors are rooted, at least in some degree, to an issue of unforgiveness. 
            In order to change undesirable behaviors, the most lasting results will come as a result of experiencing true forgiveness.  It's more than willpower and making decisions.  It's about surrendering decisions to God.  It's about yielding your heart  for HIM to change.  Forgiveness was first God's idea.  Christians believe Jesus accomplished forgiveness.  It's not about OUR work, but surrendering to the work that's already been done through Christ's death and resurrection.  Christ is our pain bearer.  Christ died to forgive us our sins, and he also heals our pain if we let him access it.  The prophet Isaiah (chapter 53) describes Messiah as the one who carries our pain.   In the gospel of Matthew, Jesus says of himself, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-29).
            For Christ to carry your pain, you must be willing to surrender it.  It's okay to admit unmet expectations.  It's okay to feel loss.  It's okay to grieve.  It's okay to let God make you a better person through forgiveness.  Practice the 3 R's.  R-remember what Christ has done for you.  R-repent for not surrendering to him.  R-release the offense to him for his judgment. 
            I'd like to leave you with a few questions to ponder:
Will you be among the few who REALLY surrender to God the right to judge?
What keeps you from surrendering?
Where might you be holding anger, fear, or shame you're not aware of?
How do you try to get rid of it?
Is your God big enough to take care of it?
Is there some other "burden" that you would be willing to let Jesus carry for you?
            Ask God today to help you.  His help is available for the asking.  If that feels like too big a step right now, reach out to a trusted Christian friend, or give us a call for help. 
            I've spent years researching this topic, and each day that goes by I learn more about forgiving offenses, both as an offender and an offended person.  I share many more themes about forgiving and healing at this blog site.  By the way, I wrote a book called Escaping the Pain of Offense: Empowered to Forgive from the Heart.  I include a study guide to help you process the information.  I also include resources like sample prayers.   I try to make myself available if you want me to come and speak to your group.  Whether you read my book, or someone else's, learn all you can about forgiveness and practice it more than you eat spinach!
by Ed Hersh, Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry
The Author Ed Hersh blog is a ministry of Blue Rock BnB Healing Ministry accessible at: