One of the teachings that impacts many who hear it is the "Onion Principle." It's a good description of a life that has layers and layers of pain, unforgiveness, broken relationships, and more wrapped around their hearts. Have you heard the saying, "Hard-hearted" or "Cold-hearted?" Well, this is the reason. Over the years many hurts and offenses took place and after a time this person begins to protect themselves from further harm forming a casing around their heart. What they don't realize is that this casing are the very things they don't want to have. Bitterness, anger, fear, resentment, rejection, abandonment represent these layers. The layers represent pain, they are a result of taking on sins that came out of a relationship or situation. These are the very sins that have separated you from yourself, God and others.
As like an onion, the outer part is easy to peel off, but when it gets closer to the core, the tighter the onion rings. So is it with the "junk" around your heart. That stuff closer to the core has been there a very long time, fermenting all these years. This "junk" is what is causing your illness and emotional pain. No one else is doing this to you. It is what you have allowed to encase you! John 20:23 says, "Whosoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whoseoever sins ye retain, they are retained." Clearly this tells me that if I do not forgive someone of their sins, their sins fall upon me and I take them in. But if I forgive them, the sins return to them and I'm not affected and no pain or layers of sins are added to my life. This is a choice that every person makes every single day. Whether to forgive someone or not. Walking in love is walking daily in forgiveness.
For example: If someone pulls out in front of you in traffic and you become irritated with them, you were just offended and took on a stranger's sins, adding them to what is already in you, causing your onion to grow. Yes, it's just that simple. And look at all the layers that are there because you didn't know that forgiveness removes the layers of pain from your life.
An interesting thing I found is that as I face each layer in my life the harder it gets to face because I'm not getting more to the core. Those are things that have been there for a long time that I may not even know is there. My husband would tell me to "Just flush it" when I come home and share an experience I had with someone. But I know that just flushing it isn't going to do it, it has to be rooted out and only done through forgiveness. Well since I was never taught this principle those many years back, I have a lot of forgiving to do! As we get closer to that inner core the tighter the rings and we may even feel a bit of pain and discomfort as we face each one. But regardless, all that stuff has to go.
I've shared the story many times so far about my husband's experience in Vietnam with the shrapnel penetrating into his body. This is a good example of that. Because each layer is like one of those pieces of shrapnel. The way that it went in is the same way it's gotta come out. Once we have recognized we have a "piece of metal" under our skin (as the old saying goes, "they are getting under my skin" - is not far from the truth!) it's time to let God dig it out.
The Holy Spirit divides rightly, between soul and spirit (Hebrews 4:12), and He's the only one that can cut away the layers without killing us. Our job is to recognize the "metal pieces" (sin or hurt) in our lives and agree with God to get rid of it.
Be sure to follow the teaching on forgiveness to deal with each and every one of your layers. You can also pick up the book called "Forgiving from Your Heart." It goes into greater detail in taking off layers. By going through that teaching, you will be purged one layer at a time. As the layers are removed by God through the prayer of confession, you will find yourself feeling lighter, treating people differently that you were having problems with, and developing a better relationship with God, yourself and others because all the "JUNK" is no longer there to pollute your mind. You are no longer living through this junk, but free from it. Many make choices in life because of the "filters" they live through. Get rid of the filters, and you will be free to see the truth.
Exercise: Draw your onion. How many layers do you think you have? Remember, every hurt is a layer forming a case around your heart!
Prayer for you:
"Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for my dear friend that they would look at this principle as a blessing. To know that all that junk they see inside of them is as a result of some kind of an offense. Don't let them feel bad or get angry, but simply deal with each one. Help them to recognize the individual(s) involved and forgive them. As we forgive Lord, you purge and cleanse us from all unrighteousness making us righteous! Help us to remember to come to you in confession not depression. I ask for you love to penetrate their lives and fill them with your presence. In Jesus name, Amen."