Bruised Apple

Understanding Emotional Bruises

    Have you ever dropped an apple and bruised it?  You may not notice the bruise so much immediately, but if you wait a few days, a large dark spot shows up on it.  If you wait very long the whole apple becomes rotten.  Furthermore, if you put a bruised apple into a basket of apples, before long, the one bad apple causes the other apples in the basket to also become rotten.

    An emotional bruise is much like the bruise of the apple.  It may not show up immediately, but there is a dark spot in the person's personality when it does show up.  One may think that an emotional bruise will just go away in time, but instead, it gets worse and worse and can effect the whole of one's personality.  Furthermore, a person who has been bruised and becomes rotten in there personality, often influences those people around them also to become rotten in their personalities.  Bruised people bruise people.

    An emotional bruise occurs when someone receives a blow to their personal identity. These blows usually come from those in authority (parents, teachers, and even ministers) or those who the individual considers to be in a position of authority.   It may occur in any number of ways, but here are a few illustrations. (1) Let's say there is a young man who has a stern and critical dad.  The young man may try his best to live up to the expectations of his father, but never makes it.  He is told by his father, "You are just lazy and will never amount to anything."  (2) There is a young girl who is somewhat chubby, but all her peers are slender.  She looks to her peers for approval, but they tease her by calling her "little pig".  (3) Sometimes in families, there are two children which are near the same age.  The parents chooses one as the favorite over the other.  The less favored one sees himself as "the family reject".  (4)  A child that expresses a lot of curiosity may find himself in trouble a lot.  The child's teacher may declare, "You are always in trouble.  You are an accident looking for a place to happen." (5) Sometimes parents make stupid statements to a child comparing the child to a disliked family relative. They may say, "You are just like Aunt ______ ." (6) Often preachers abuse their flocks by declaring, "You may be saved, but you are still just a sinner."  (7) When someone places their identity in their job, ministry, family, or natural skills and these fail, there is also a blow to the individual's identity, even a loss of identity. (8) Finally, we may also inflict emotional bruises upon ourselves.  We may make negative and destructive comments about ourselves, such as "I am just dumb."

    Sometimes children and youth are severely traumatized with blows to their identity to such a degree that there is a fragmentation of their personality.  For example, this may occur in a case where the child witnesses the dramatic death of a family member or someone close.  It may also occur in cases where the individual is raped. Various degrees of disassociation often occur.  One may go somewhere, but not remember where he went or what he did.  One may also break down in tears, but have no recall of why he is crying.  One may recall an image of a traumatic experience, but not no emotional feelings attached to that event.  In some cases, traumatic events in later adulthood may trigger unresolved childhood trauma issues.  The adult may crawl into a fetal position and become as a fearful little child.

    In more severe cases, one may exhibit multiple personalities because of the fragmentation and be diagnosed as having MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) or DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). The Dissociative Identity Disorder is the more modern term used today.  One may find this coming out of cases of incest, strict legalistic cults, and Satanistic Ritual Abuse. Basically, the person can't handle what has happened to him (his identity), he goes into a mode of escapism, and consciously or unconsciously takes on a new identity. Usually the people who do this are imaginative, creative, and resourceful.  Although David would not be considered as having DID, he temporarily and consciously changed his personality to avoid detection.  "And he changed his behaviour before them, and feigned himself mad in their hands, and scrabbled on the doors of the gate, and let his spittle fall down upon his beard" (I Samuel 21:13).  When one does have DID, these "new" personalities are lasting and are called "alters" because of the altered personality.

    In some cases, evil spirits may also manifest themselves as one or more personality.  This can be very confusing to both the individual and to the person caring for the individual.  However, evil spirits can be spiritually discerned. They also are more than just "altered" personalities, they are evil dark personalities.  We find a case of many demonic spirits inhabiting a man in the account of Jesus crossing over into the country of the Gadarenes. "And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gergesenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way" (Matthew 8:28).   Mark focuses on one of the two men.  "And when he [Jesus] was come out of the ship, immediately there met him out of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit,    Who had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains:    Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him.    And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones"  (Mark 5:2-5). "And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many" (Mark 5:9).   Again, I must emphasize that there is a difference between true alters and demonic spirits.  Alters are fractures of the individual's personality.  In contrast, demonic spirits are an entities in and of themselves.

    Again, emotional bruises are an attack upon one's personal identity.  God foretold of the bruising by Satan.  "And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel" (Genesis 3:15).  Please note that the seed of Satan would bruise the seed of the woman.  I understand that this is a prophecy concerning the crucifixion and Jesus overcoming Satan. Satan would bruise the heel of Jesus, but Jesus would bruise the head of Satan.  However, there still remains a general principle of Satan using people to hurt others.

    We find some statements by a demonic spirit in the book of Job which also confirms that Satan uses people to bruise people  (Job 4:17-21).   The two questions  "Shall mortal man be more just than God? shall a man be more pure than his maker?" call for a true answers, but are delivered with a spirit of condemnation.   The clause "Behold, he put no trust in his servants" is an outright lie.  The next clause "and his angels he charged with folly," reveals the identity one of the spirits who was also charged with folly.   The next accusation, "How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed [literally the word for 'bruised', the same word as in Isaiah 53:5] before the moth?" is simply a put down for man.   The statement "They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it" is another lie.  The final idea, "Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? they die, even without wisdom" is a false condemnation without hope.   It is interesting that Eliphaz in the context of the passage is using the quotes from the evil spirit to accuse Job.  Later Job declares, "How long will ye vex my soul, and break [bruise] me in pieces with words?"  (Job 19:2).

    David also wrote about the bruising by the enemy.  "For the enemy hath persecuted my soul; he hath smitten my life down to the ground; he hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead"  (Psalms 143:3).  Our enemy, Satan, wants to beat down our lives into the ground. He wants to beat us down so low that we can never get up.

    However, there is also another principle that Believers in Christ would bruise the head of the enemy.  We do this as we share the freedom and healing found in Jesus with those who have been bruised.   "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20).   Believers can minister to the bruised by applying, "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,  To preach the acceptable year of the Lord"  (Luke 4:18-19).

    Emotional bruises carry many of the same symptoms in general as do the emotional cuts; however, the bruises are generally deeper and carry with them a bondage. It is like dragging a ball and chain around with you where ever you go.

    1. The person is very defensive to cover the bruise.
    2. The person tries to cover the bruise by being an over-achiever.
    3. The person has anxiety or panic attacks.
    4. The person is extremely passive to avoid any confrontation.
    5. The person belittles himself when he speaks.
    6. The person is constantly seeking the approval of others.
    7. The person exhibits an excessive compulsive personality type.
    8. The person is dysfunctional in keeping a job.
    9. The person has a terrible short term memory.
    10. The person has a withdrawn countenance.
    11. The person experiences episodes of temptation to commit suicide.
    12. The person has various addictions (drug, alcohol, nicotine, sexual, or work).
    13. The person is hard to get to know.
    14. The person has memory blocks.
    15. The person may be described as having a manic-depressive personality.
    16. The person switches personality from time to time.
    17. The person gets angry and loses control.
    18. The person lives in a world of their own.
    19. The person experiences schizophrenic type symptoms.
    20. The person experiences bouts with physical seizures.
    21. The person experiences episodes of crying.
    22. The person has a problem with habitual lying.
    23. The person has an imaginary friend in which to confide.
    24. The person has periodic nightmares.

    You do not have to experience all these symptoms to be emotionally bruised, you may only experience one or two.  Also see the Emotional Wound Test.

    Furthermore, when one is bruised, he often puts up a wall of defenses.  Listed below are some that one may use.
Critical Spirit
Fantasy Thinking
Sexual Addiction
Illegal Drugs
Yielding To Evil Spirits

    For a further study of defense mechanisms see: Defense Mechanisms

    Is there any hope?  Do you have to carry the ball and chain of the emotional bruises around with you the rest of  your and take some medication to cope with the situation? NO!  Even if you have been diagnosed as having DID, a disorder which no medication can cure, there is an answer.

    It is evident from Scripture that Gideon had a bruised identity!  When the Angel of the LORD spoke to him, he was hiding in a winepress from the enemy, the Midianites, beating out the grain.  He couldn't believe that God would choose him for anything.  "And he said unto him, Oh my Lord, wherewith shall I save Israel? behold, my family is poor in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house"  (Judges 6:15).  He had a very low self image.  However, God encouraged him and demonstrated His power to him.  Once Gideon found his identity in God, he came to win a great victory over the army of Midianites, a many times larger army, with only three hundred men.  He also became a mighty Judge of  Israel.

    God is concerned with the "whole" person.  He is concerned about the bruised person.  He is concerned about you.  Isaiah prophesied concerning the coming of Jesus, "A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth" (Isaiah 42:3).  In dealing with a person who has been emotionally bruised, one must be gentle and speak the truth in love. One of the purposes of the coming of Jesus was to set free those who have been emotionally bruised.   "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised" (Luke 4:18).  Note the phrase, "to set at liberty them that are bruised."  The Greek word (thrauo) for "bruised" here means to be broken into pieces.  If you are bruised, then you qualify! Jesus came to set you free from your bruised identity.

    Just like Jesus became a sin substitute, a curse substitute, and a hurt substitute for us, he also became a bruise substitute for us.   "He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not" (Isaiah 53:3).  Jesus was rejected by some of his own family, by his home town, by the religious leaders of the day, and we also have at one time rejected him.   "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5).  Jesus identified with us and took our bruises that we might be healed!  "Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand" (Isaiah 53:10).

    I will give a very brief and simplistic outline of some of the factors in receiving healing of bruises, but because of the severity and complexity of emotional bruises, it is probable that you may also need the discernment, guidance, and intervention of a counselor who is guided by the Holy Spirit.

    1. One must become a child of God through faith in Jesus.
           Find Life, Purpose, Joy.
    2. One must allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the emotional bruises.
           Emotional Wound Test.
    3. One must purpose by God's grace to forgive the offender.
           Bondage Of Unforgiveness
    4. One must take back any ground he has yielded to the enemy.
           The Open Door
    5. One must get a clear conscience both before God and before men.
           Get A Clear Conscience.
    6. One must ask God to bring the healing through the finished work of Jesus.
           Healing For The Emotions
    7. One must become established in their new identity in Christ.
           My Personal Professions

    Even if you have developed a fragmented personality, you don't have to remain that way.  You can become "whole" in Christ.  "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (I Thessalonians 5:23).  We are to be "complete" not fractured.  "And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power" (Colossians 2:10).   God even wants to give you a ministry of bringing healing to those who have been bruised in their identity.  "And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen" (Romans 16:20).

 For additional help see:  Appointments or email me at .

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