Emotional “LANDMINES”

Hope, Healing & Freedom Podcast : Ep 17


Have you ever been in a conversation and a friend will say something that instantly triggers a strong emotional response in you? Or have you said something to someone else that received a much greater emotional response than was called for? I know you have, we all have. We have either been triggered by what someone else said or we have innocently said something that triggered someone else. When that happens you have uncovered an unhealed emotional hurt which Cindi and I call landmines. 

In this podcast we are going to talk about those unhealed emotional landmines and how to deal with them.

Today’s verse is Luke 4:18 where Jesus said “I came to heal the brokenhearted.” 

When my kids were little, they had the uncanny ability to set off my unhealed landmines better than anyone else. Most of the time they were doing nothing more than just being kids, and something inside of me would get set off, and I would become instantly angry at them. And sadly, more times than I would like to admit, I reacted out of that anger and would over correct or yell at them. I hated what I was doing to them, yet something inside of me was so broken that I would blame them for my outbursts. “If they would just do what I tell them to do, then I wouldn’t need to yell.” The kids were triggering a landmine that they did not create nor put in my life. They just happened to be the ones who triggered the landmine and unfortunately, they got the explosion. 

As we know, a landmine is an explosive device that is buried under ground in a war zone. Being buried, they are only discovered when they are stepped on and explode. What do I mean by unhealed emotional landmines? These are wounded places on the inside that usually got put there by something that happened in childhood. Some of these wounding events, however, can also be the result of something that happens as an adult. They are unseen, yet they can be as controlling or debilitating as if you had a physical illness or handicap. They are often formed as a result of a traumatic or negative event, or they might be formed by a series of negative events.  

In my case, the landmine that my children triggered on a regular basis was one that was put there over time. It began by being the youngest child in a family of highly competent and successful older siblings. It was never done intentionally, but I grew up feeling like I was being compared to my two older siblings and was constantly found lacking. My brother and sister did well academically. I had a hard time learning. My sister was the valedictorian of her graduating class. She worried one time that she might actually get a “B” grade in a class. We celebrated the once or twice that I got a “B”. Sister and brother never got in trouble at school. I was a highly active child with a creative imagination. That’s code language for I was on a first name basis with the principle. Even though the comparison was never done intentionally by my parents, it was not uncommon for me to get much more negative attention than positive attention. So the landmine that resulted from many years of these experiences said to me that I was a failure and sooner or later I was going to fail at whatever I did. Thus when my kids would not obey something I told them to do immediately, the landmine that I was a failure and I was going to fail at whatever I did would go off and they would get the shrapnel. 

Landmines can reside in us in many different forms. The most typical ones are wounded places caused by traumatic events. We ministered to one guy recently who had a very angry alcoholic dad. When Dad came home drunk, everyone lived in fear. The family lived this way for many years until one day when this boy was about 11 years old and he had had enough of his father beating on his mother when he was drunk. The boy got his baseball bat and stood between his father and his mother as her guardian. As long as the boy was protecting Mom, Dad left her alone. He protected her for two more years until Mom finally took the children and left. In his healing time with Jesus, Jesus showed the now 35 year old man that he was still holding on to the baseball bat to protect himself and his family. Jesus showed him that it was safe to drop the bat and allow himself to relax and that Jesus was there to walk with him through every situation. When we asked Jesus where He was when the little boy felt like he had to protect Mom, Jesus clearly showed him that He was with him everyday just waiting for him to ask for Jesus help. 

This is a landmine that is very emotionally based. Although this boy made a conscious decision to protect his mother and himself from Dad’s anger as a child, he did not realize that he was still clutching the bat today to protect his family. He held onto the bat even tighter for anything that he perceived as a threat to his family or himself. His belief that he had to be the protector made him live on edge and he would become defensive and angry very quickly. That encounter with Jesus in the midst of his memory made all the difference. He is a different man today as a result.

These traumatic events can be any number of things in one’s life from a divorce, an accident, a fire, getting fired from a job, an illness, or any type of abuse, or any number of other things that happen to people. The one common theme in all of these events is when they happened the person involved was powerless to stop them. They were victimized by the event. 

For other people their landmine is a lie that they believe (Ungodly Belief). That was my experience. I was believing a lie that kept getting triggered causing me to feel like a failure. What Jesus did for me was to take me back to a memory of blowing up at my kids. He then brought the lie I was believing into the light so that I could see it. As obvious as it is now looking back, at the time I had no idea why I struggled with my anger at my kids. Then when I saw the lie and allowed Jesus to bring healing to my wounded heart (“I came to heal the brokenhearted”), He told me that what I had believed all these years was a lie. He spoke the truth to me and my life has never been the same since. From that moment forward, I no longer struggled with anger like that because the lie had been broken and my heart had been healed. 

It is very common for Jesus to address lies (Ungodly Beliefs) at the same time He is bringing healing to a wounded heart. That is because the wounded heart and the lie that is believed are connected. When we look at life through a wound, the sound distorts the lens that we look at life through. And whatever we see through that distorted lens is also distorted. For example it is very common for children who have been physically, emotionally, or sexually abused to blame themselves. A lie they might believe is something like “if I was a better kid, then this would not have happened.” Or “I must have done something to cause them to abuse me. It is my fault.” When Jesus comes into that memory and brings healing to the wounded heart, He usually breaks the lie by speaking the truth to them. It is truly amazing.

Some landmines can actually be inherited. There have been studies that have proven that the children and grandchildren of Jewish Holicost victims experience trauma as a result of what their ancestors went through. We see in RTF ministry how there are sins and curses that are passed down in the bloodline from generation to generation. So seeing that trauma can be passed down from generation to generation is not much of a stretch. We have done ministry with people many times when the trauma they experienced was while they were in the womb. 

So let me tell a few of the healing stories we have seen over the years doing RTF ministry. Jesus took Mike to a memory of flying in his fathers private airplane as a young man of 24-25. Mike’s father was a very accomplished and highly decorated Vietnam War fighter jet pilot who had restored a World War 2 era P-51 Mustang fighter plane. It was his fathers pride and joy. Mike would often go with his father to air shows and other events flying together in his fathers plane. The one thing that never happened was Mike was never taught how to fly by his father. So in this memory Jesus rode up to Mike in this incredibly beautiful and special airplane that Mike immediately knew belonged to Jesus. Jesus asked Mike to go for a ride in this very special airplane. Once they were in the air Jesus told Mike to take the controls, that He wanted Mike to fly His very special airplane. In that one instance Mike’s heart was healed from the landmine placed there by his father. Mike has never been the same. Jesus knew exactly what to say and do with Mike to bring about this incredible healing. And He knows you just like that as well. He knows what you need and how to heal your broken heart.

I want to tell you one other story although Cindi and I have seen many during our RTF ministry sessions. The thing we see over and over again when Jesus brings His healing to a wounded place is how very intimate He is with each one. He doesn’t have a cookie cutter method on how to bring healing. He touches each person in a way they need to be touched. No two healing sessions are ever the same because no two people are the same. And when they have met personally and intimately with Jesus, they also are never the same again.

There was a guy who was dealing with discouragement. Everyplace he looked he only saw the negative, which made him more discouraged. In his healing time with Jesus, Jesus took him back to a memory of being with his Dad and the only things his Dad would say to him were negative. The only times his Dad would say something even remotely positive, he would couch it with something like, “that was a nice job, but if you did it this way, it would have been better.” As he was telling Jesus about his discouragement and the fact that he felt like a disappointment, he looked up and Father God drove up to him in a golf cart. The golf cart was very significant for this guy because the only place he was able to connect with his Dad was on the golf course. So God rode up to him and asked him to ride in His golf cart. This one event spoke so much acceptance and value that it made the feelings of discouragement and disappointment go away forever. As you may have already guessed, I am that guy. The fact that God knew me so well that He knew what riding in His golf cart would mean to me has changed my life forever. The funny thing about that experience is I don’t think we ever played golf. We were just riding in God’s golf cart together, and that made all the difference. 

Please don’t put up with emotional landmines in your life. When they are triggered by something in life and they become evident, use that painful triggering to show you another place in your life that needs to be healed. Then set aside time either by yourself, or with a trusted RTF minister to take that wound to Jesus. He will never reject you. He will only bring His healing touch to that wounded place. After all He said, “I came to heal the brokenhearted.”

RTF Featured on The Shawn Bolz Show

On the second half of this week’s episode (May 20th 2024) of “The Shawn Bolz Show”  RTF directors, Lee and Cindi Whitman, were the guests. Watch for powerful insight and two special listener offers on products to help bring hope, healing, and freedom.