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Erica Galindo
Celebrating Food, Faith and Family
Last edited on: September 25, 2014.

Jack Watts’ weekly column is aimed at helping those who have been wounded, including those who have been abused by the church. If you are in pain—or if someone you know is in pain—you will find real comfort, wisdom, and many answers right here. Based on his book, Recovering from Religious Abuse, published by Simon & Schuster, Jack will teach you the value of working the “11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.” Remember, recovery is a process—not a destination. The answers are simple but not always easy. Look to the Lord and allow His Spirit to heal you.


Having established a relationship with God through faith, you already have everything you need to facilitate your recovery. It’s inside you. Because you are His child, possessing all the rights this entails, you can recover—just as soon as you make the decision to do so.

This isn’t just the power of positive thinking or putting a constructive spin on your situation. It’s real, and you can count on it.

You may feel lost, detached, helpless, and defeated, but you are not. You may feel like you are in the world—without God, forlorn, and beyond help—but you are not. You may feel like nothing good will ever happen to you again, but it doesn’t have to be this way. All is not lost—not even close, regardless of how desperate your circumstances appear.

As is so often the case, your recovery depends on how you choose to proceed. If you nurse your wounds and continue to blame your abuser, you can certainly do that. It’s your right, and it’s the path most people choose to follow, especially immediately after their painful experience.

Being angry for a while is normal but, by becoming stuck in your anger, you will only experience one thing—bitterness. When bitterness clutches your soul, it diminishes the quality of your life, insuring you will never become the person God intended you to be. Bitterness can run so deep in you that it becomes as addictive as a controlled substance—a habit nearly impossible to break. Once it takes grip, it becomes part of you, diminishing every positive character quality you’ve ever possessed. It can even alter how you look, producing a sour, defeated countenance, which is certainly not the look you want for yourself.

Nothing good comes from bitterness—nothing. If you’ve become bitter, it’s imperative that you make a conscious choice to break its hold on you. Until this happens, no substantive recovery will be possible. Remember, you didn’t become bitter in one day, so be patient with yourself in renewing your mind. It takes time, but it will come, if you work at it. To help you discard bitterness, join me in this prayer, and pray it as often as you need.



You know how badly

I have been mistreated

By those who should have fostered my welfare

But did the exact opposite,

Taking advantage of my trusting nature instead.

I’ve expressed my outrage and indignation

To You so often that I’ve lost count.

This affront has wounded me deeply.

Out of my pain, I know I have hurt others,

Which I’ve tried to justify but I cannot.

I fear I have become like those who have hurt me,

Injuring the innocent—just as I once was.

Father, I acknowledge that I have done this,

And I am becoming a person I don’t want to be.

I don’t want to be like my abusers,

But to be honest, I know that I have been,

Despite my insistence that I have not.

Forgive me, Father. Heal my wounds,

And restore gladness to my troubled soul.

As a conscious act of contrition, I choose to abandon

My self-serving ways, which have been so hurtful.

Despite my pain, anger, and disquietude,

I make a commitment to stop spreading malice.

To ensure that this becomes a reality, I will need

Your strength and guidance more than ever.

Will You reach down and touch me?

Will You help me bridle my acerbic tongue?

Will You keep my feet from stumbling?

Will You transform my wandering heart,

And maintain it close to You?

Don’t allow my years to be spent in nurturing spite.

I need Your help, Father, and I will

Continue to need it as I move forward

Discarding my bitterness—one day at a time.

I pray this in Christ’s Precious name,



Refer to STEP 6: I abandon my desire to spread malice because of my pain and anger, and I chose to relinquish my right to be self-absorbed.


And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you. (Ephesians 4:30-32)



To see more on recovery, check out  The 11 Steps to Recover from Religious Abuse.




Jack Watts won the award for the “Most Inspirational Memoir” in 2011 for Hi, My Name Is Jack, published by Simon & Schuster. They also published Recovering from Religious Abuse: 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom.His daily blog, Pushing Jesus, is read in more than 140 countries. Jack lives in Atlanta, where he broadcasts two weekly Blog Talk Radio shows—Jack Watts Live and Jack Watts on Recovery. Single, he has five children and nine grandchildren.


To see more from Jack Watts please visit


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