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 Re: Healing the soul


John173 said

Quote:
the ongoing pain that we still feel results from us harboring...

Hi Doug,

I stopped short of mentioning this dynamic in my first post. I have posted your point about it being [u]a sin to hold on[/u]to one's pain, before, here on SI. No-one commented specifically. I've also said many times here, that the Church is weak because saints are unwilling to address inner pain.

Pastors / churchians / Christian 'counsellors' (both untrained and, sadly, some even [i]trained[/i]) whose personal pains may have been more survivable than the pains of those they counsel, may well-meaningly direct people to the kind of coping mechanisms (for that is all they are) that they themselves unconsciously employed.

This, and other terminology in the US with which I'm not familiar, as MC has pointed out, can never lead to true healing in Christ.

A while ago I discussed the terms being used in a workshop in a church in Australia, with a sister who was attending those workshops for survivors of sexual abuse in [u]child[/u]hood, and was horrified at the language which laded guilt on to the survivor for having 'chosen' to be abused! :-o Many other things were wrong with that programme.

My own experience of being counselled by a professional who knew [u]what[/u] I needed to [i]hear[/i], changed my attitude completely to non-Christians in this field. But, he was sympathetic to faith in God and never tried to make me to give it up nor treated it like a defence mechanism. He merely said it is ok to be 'not ok'. Even Christians can have unhealed pain which will only go away if it is addressed. He understood how difficult it is for evangelicals to admit to inner pain, but of course, since this was his field of work, he also knew that evangelicals are just ordinary people who have had the same childhoods as other ordinary people, but made different choices further along the way. He in no way disparaged my faith in God for healing, but as I'd tried to deal with my pain the way I was [i]brought up to deal with it[/i] - that is, not the way God wanted to deal with it - I was just as stuck as the next person who'd reached that point when it was impossible to hold it in any longer.

I've come to understand that that [i]breakthrough point[/i] of the pain, is a gift from God, to turn us to Him more completely. But at the time, it felt like a severe failure.

I do know there are people who refuse to go there, and who would rather not lose face before the world, than to go through with God and yield Him up their innermost heart. Of course, that need for controlling one's own destiny, is a typical feature of hurting people. If only they realised what a giveaway it is, perhaps they would be more willing to go it alone with God at a deeper level of trust. They would find Him truer than they ever had thought possible.


EDIT: I do apologise for sounding patronising here. [i]OF COURSE[/i] I was [i]very controlling[/i].... and this was one of the first things I had to give up to the Lord, because I [i]did[/i] want to go through with Him, [i]whatever the cost.[/i]

 2007/7/31 15:40
John173
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 289
Omaha

 Re:

Compton,

Wow! You have added some worthy thoughts to this issue. All I can say is Amen and Amen. I was making the basic assumption that what you have written was understood here at SI. I'm glad you made your point so succinctly, as I recognize now how much it needed to be said. Indeed, what is in my heart is to find a way to help people discover just how truly awesome is that inner life when we surrender completely to the cross and find that we didn't lose our life but found it. This is, as you said, the only true wholeness and source of healing.

Blessings in Christ,

Doug


_________________
Doug Fussell

 2007/7/31 17:56Profile
John173
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 289
Omaha

 Re:

Hi Linn,

My apology to you, but try as I might I couldn't get the slightest whiff of your being patronizing. :-o You'll just have to try harder!

Alas, there are so many different approaches out there that attempt to find a solution to this arena of inner pain. Rightfully, conservative Christians have turned away from these secular approaches but in so doing have failed to seek out how to minister to the hurting via God's method's. This is the age old problem of the baby and the bathwater. I so long to get ahold of God's heart in this matter. To then impart the incredible depth of His love to others and watch them blossom into true Oaks of Righteousness.

This is why I wanted to open this discusson. I have a degree of understanding in this regard, yet feel I have so much to learn. I know one thing, I learned more by going through this than I ever would have by reading a book. I glean a little as well from those (like yourself) who have also had these struggles and have come through by God's hand.

[color=000099]2 Cor 1:3-113 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 6 Now if we are afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effective for enduring the same sufferings which we also suffer. Or if we are comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope for you is steadfast, because we know that as you are partakers of the sufferings, so also you will partake of the consolation. 8 For we do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, of our trouble which came to us in Asia: that we were burdened beyond measure, above strength, so that we despaired even of life. 9 Yes, we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead, 10 who delivered us from so great a death, and does deliver us; in whom we trust that He will still deliver us, 11 you also helping together in prayer for us, that thanks may be given by many persons on our behalf for the gift granted to us through many.[/color]

This passage gives me great comfort in knowing that there is purpose behind the pain and suffering. That we may give comfort and hope to those still afflicted.

Bless you sister,

Doug


_________________
Doug Fussell

 2007/7/31 18:27Profile









 Re: Healing the soul



Doug, thank you. (Don't try too hard on that search for patronisation... ;-) please!)

I wrote screeds earlier, but wanted not to dump it all in one unpalatable lump. Already I wonder if I have too much to say and am encouraged that maybe it is worth saying anyway...

You know, I've veered away from recent discussions on SI about psychology, because I made a discovery during my own journey with God... that within the Bible, laid out for us to analyse as 'the way' He deals with man and men, is the only psychology which works, with the least harm done. I say 'with the least harm done' because it is clear that sometimes harm was done to them through God's dealings with them. 'I wound. I heal... ' However, these were both marks of His love, and nothing less.

Quote:
I know one thing, I learned more by going through this than I ever would have by reading a book.

Exactly. And if we / people remember this during their dealings with others, they will pull through better with effective prayer support (by which I mean prayer with and from those who [i]believe[/i] in healing).

Hurting people also need appropriate direction towards opening themselves to God in a [i]real[/i] way, even if it is just by opening the door of their inner being by a 1 mm crack. I think that's pretty much how I had started out at first.

But (some years) later, (as I've shared in other threads), the Lord arranged for three separate preachers to visit my church. They didn't know each other, or that their text had been preached recently. It was from 2 Corinthians 1, on the comfort of God. By the third exposition, (some 12 weeks after the first one), I had a palpable ache inside, which I just knew I had to address before I went home...

And that was the beginning. Straight after 'church', I made a bee-line for an elder who seemed to be aware someone needed to speak to him. Unknown to me, he had intimate knowledge of aspects of hurt which were relevant to my history, and there began to put some context to parts of my past which were a great surprise to me.... I mean.... I had thought I was [i]'normal'[/i]. :-? LOL

 2007/7/31 19:40
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Doug,

As you hinted at below, this thread, and any conversation regarding "healing" in the church often reveals a gender gap. To put it frankly, women own this topic. I think it's how the question of 'healing' is framed around pain instead of character.

Our 'wellness' isn't measured by our feelings, emotional or physcological, but by our character. I say that as one of the more 'sensitive' men you'll ever know! ;-)

Quote:
And that was the beginning. Straight after 'church', I made a bee-line for an elder who seemed to be aware someone needed to speak to him. Unknown to me, he had intimate knowledge of aspects of hurt which were relevant to my history, and there began to put some context to parts of my past which were a great surprise to me.... I mean.... I had thought I was 'normal'.



You see sister, this is a concern to me. I too have had people presume to see my inner pain, even in the form of 'a word of knowledge.' I was annoyed, but not surprised, because people who specialize in inner healing also believe everyone needs it. However, I couldn't allow them to penetrate me in this invasive fashion. It seemed...well unhealthy.

I''m not dismissing any ones pain, but if we think we can groom our inner-selves, extracting all the bad stuff and leaving only the good, we are only going to be frustrated. (One sister recently described the sensation of trying to scrub clean a dirt floor...) At the risk of sounding glib, we can't be fixed...we need to be replaced with Christ Jesus in our character, and this is a transaction that modern counseling is not set up for.

About the gender gap; many women...and a few men in leadership...think they can repair men with nursing which is often the worst medicine. Instead men must be disciplined and trained by other men who are stronger, smarter and more mature then they are, both in physical and spiritual things. Mentorship is the 'healing' ministry men need for their shriveled hearts. This guidance is the love men ultimately respond to...and all the clinical insight into a man's soul won't replace the lack of mature friendship and manly instruction in the Church. Rugged and selfless descipling relationships between loyal men, is the prescribed way of Godly manhood, and a motherly method of inner healing that causes men to become introspective victims is simply unhealthy and fruitless.

Blessings,

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2007/7/31 20:16Profile
John173
Member



Joined: 2007/1/30
Posts: 289
Omaha

 Re:

Compton, you wrote-

Quote:
About the gender gap; many women...and a few men in leadership...think they can repair men with nursing which is often the worst medicine. Instead men must be disciplined and trained by other men who are stronger, smarter and more mature then they are, both in physical and spiritual things. Mentorship is the 'healing' ministry men need for their shriveled hearts. This guidance is the love men ultimately respond to...and all the clinical insight into a man's soul won't replace the lack of mature friendship and manly instruction in the Church. Rugged and selfless descipling relationships between loyal men, is the prescribed way of Godly manhood, and a motherly method of inner healing that causes men to become introspective victims is simply unhealthy and fruitless.



My brother, I agree and disagree with you when it comes to men and healing. Men have a biological difference from women in our brain structure. While in the womb, the brain develops the same in both genders for a while, but at some point prior to birth the male fetus will develop and release testosterone. This hormone actually "washes" the brain and destroys many of the inter-connective tissue between its two halves. This accounts for women being more 'in touch" with their emotions. In men, these differing aspects are compartmentalized. This does not mean however that emotional issues can simply be ignored. Men get wounded just as much as women, but due to this brain structure have a much tougher time comprehending the nature of its impact. Unacknowledged wounds often become something akin to a sub-program governing our responses to situations and relationships. This in turn impacts our character.

Our society teaches men to have a tight reign on their emotions. But this tight reign often closes us off from experiencing the fullness of God's love and the fullness of Christian fellowship. If we are closed off in this way, how can we then fully bear the fruit of Godly character?

I agree with you that overcoming these issues is not a matter of being nursed with excessively compassionate coddling and incessant introspection. For years this has been my own error, it lead to self pity and excuses. Some degree of introspection is necessary. Enough to discover those underlying issues and confront them. Without this our hearts will continue to be scaled over with a subconscious self defense mechanism. If I keep you at arms length, you can't hurt me etc.

I am still wrestling with just how to help people, especially men, toward God's version of wholeness and emotional health. Without this inner wholeness though, I am convinced that Godly character is impossible.

Thanks again for participating in this thread, your perspective is invaluable.

In His Love,

Doug


_________________
Doug Fussell

 2007/8/1 10:22Profile









 Re: Healing the soul


This is tricky.... I want to reply to MC's post, as it gives (me) an opportunity to more finely divide between thoughts I've shared / tried to share elsewhere.... but Doug.... I can't leave this statement of yours till then.

I fear I'm about to ramble, but... I hope, not to no avail.

Quote:
Without this inner wholeness though, I am convinced that Godly character is impossible.

'impossible' is too strong a word here, brother.

Godly character is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, whether the brother (as we are talking about men) has fully investigated his inner pain or not.

But, I would agree there is a strength of spiritual character which develops as healing prgresses, [i]because[/i], as you say, that shielding from new hurts is now unnecessary.

I don't mean the pain of spiritual assaults is then not palpable, but, its effect is far less crippling to the one who is more healed, than to the one who is unhealed. I'd go so far as to say that somehow God protects unhealed brethren (to a certain extent) from being completely destroyed. But part of His strategy is to lead them as their Shepherd, in safe paths of righteousness, according to their deepest desire for fellowship with Him and of pleasing Him.

I'm sure there are some whom God heals by a more circuitous route, almost so that they don't have to have big crises of confrontation with their pain. That is His goodness to them. These honest men (and women) will work hard to comply with all scriptural constraints, and God will honour their application to His word.

But, there are many wounded souls who believe they are more godly for their unhealed woundedness, who sort of wear it like a badge of spirituality that they hurt. They go through the motions of forgiving and repenting and God gives them a clear conscience and a measure of peace. Really I don't believe this is enough nor the full extent of His ability to release them from inner pain - which ability is ENTIRE.

I need to be careful not to generalise too much here, but the difference I see with this interpretation of the issues, is that those who believe they are to bear this historic pain (some carry it to almost celebrity status) tend towards re-naming this unwillingness to yield it up to the Lord as 'suffering'.

There is so much more .... I'll save the rest for now.

 2007/8/1 14:09
Compton
Member



Joined: 2005/2/24
Posts: 2732


 Re:

Well Doug and Dorcas,

you have endured my strongest comments regarding this subject with patient grace. :-) Thanks much...I just felt I needed to establish the context I am speaking from.

I also wanted to extend my understanding for those who have given and recieved counseling.

Quote:
I am still wrestling with just how to help people, especially men, toward God's version of wholeness and emotional health. Without this inner wholeness though, I am convinced that Godly character is impossible.



My first reaction to this statement is to gently challenge the biblicalness of the phrase "inner wholeness." However, I would like to temper my suspicion because it's more then likely we do not have an agreed upon definition of this phrase.

Having offered that small disclaimor, I simply do not see a disparity between 'inner wholeness' and Godly Character, as if one can come without the other...anymore then fire can come without heat and water can come without wetness. We are talking about the power of Godliness afterall.

Now perhaps the phrase, "Godly character", is also suspect ...conjuring fears that I expect men to wipe the blood off of their fattened lip and to keep fighting the good fight like automatons without feelings.

Yet, from my own personal experience I do not believe this. There was a time when I was hurt, and hurting, so desperately, that I wondered if I was going to lose my sanity. I felt as if my soul was like a fish wounded by a shark, trailing a red cloud of blood behind as it floated sickly through life. I felt as if no one around me noticed my wound...except maybe the predators!

Much of my pain was caused by poor moral choices. Yes there were corrupt people in my life who hurt me. But in truth I was often attracted to corrupt people...because I believed their ways could help me more then God's ways.

There came a point where I realized how deeply my own corruption, my own sin was hidden in my heart, and sought out the mercy of God. Indeed, He was waiting for me...before I called he was answering! He poured his abundant grace upon me, and in the desert there flowed in me a revival that I can honestly say has never stopped running through my heart, cleansing and refreshing.

Yet, alas...I learned that a Christian who has made poor moral choices will never be at peace no matter how much counseling and forgiveness he recieves... untill he becomes more like Christ in those areas of sin. Forgiveness, and justification is a sure foundation but everyone, who is in Christ, must put on the New Man or be miserable. We mercy givers want to short-circuit this path...we hand out our emotional coupons to hurting brothers, but the Lord does not honor our misguided bargains. He gives these hurting men more then forgiveness---he gives them the fruit of the Spirit...he gives them peace and longsuffering, integrity and honor, contentment, and love for others before themselves. This fruit, which is given freely in His son, is the only wholeness there is...and holding out for some other wholeness is merely a continuation of the self-interest that got us hurt in the first place.

We Christians are told to put on the New Man as if we can already. This way of moving forward in Godliness is the path to 'wholeness', and not the way of holding back, waiting and hoping for a wholeness outside of Godliness. Some of our brethren do seem too crippled to even begin to walk this path...but we must encourage them to have faith that God does indeed call the lame to leap like a deer.

Quote:
But, there are many wounded souls who believe they are more godly for their unhealed woundedness, who sort of wear it like a badge of spirituality that they hurt.



Yes, many wounded souls claim to be (edit: lonely and spiritual) out in their wildernesses. Pride is the consolation of many wounded people. But wounded souls may be tempted by other comfort sins. Some give their hearts for the love of money and others medicate themselves with pornography. Now should we say that the cure for these "addictions" is professional counseling but not Godly descipleship? Many in the Church today answer yes!

And in saying yes, I think we are seeing that counseling and inner healing has replaced loving descipleship in the western Church. This is perhaps the simple point I am trying to make.

I appreciate sharing these things here,

Blessings,

MC


_________________
Mike Compton

 2007/8/1 20:54Profile









 Re: Healing the soul


Mike thank you.

Quote:
I appreciate sharing these things here,

As you see from the time it is late and still I have not replied to your previous post, but I do want to do so, though I'm not sure whether I'll manage tomorrow.

Perhaps that will be better, as I should be more focused by then.

But tonight, I will look at what I'd already written and not posted, and decide whether it could be placed here, without causing distraction.

 2007/8/2 20:26









 Re: Healing the soul



Hi Doug,

I wanted to comment on something you've said. I know you are rolling it all together because it is now crystallised out in your mind.

But I want for the sake of those who don't know you or other parts of your story you've shared on SI, to remind you how slowly you've come to these understandings, and how many times it has been God Himself interacting with your heart, mind, soul and spirit, through tears and trials, dryness and refreshments, that you can are sure.

I would not take issue with your list. You said:

Quote:
unforgiveness/resentment/bitterness etc.

But I would temper it thus: that people who have been harbouring inner pain for years, may not be able to distinguish one aspect of their pain from another, through having learned to live with it till they are numb.

I know this was true of mine. God Himself undertook to heal some of that 'pain', without my ever knowing what it was about - or [i]feeling it[/i]. Other pain, He had to convey to me by gradually giving me back enough feeling to label it, so I could pray constructively.

Unfortunately, [i]some[/i] Christians who think they know something about what is necessary for someone else to 'do' to be healed, are often armed with words like you used above, at the very [i]beginning[/i] of their encounters with a brother or sister who [i]does need healing from the Lord[/i], but could not cope with all of it at once.

To a person who has already been hurt more times than they can count, and who can't [u]feel[/u] most of how that affected them originally any more, this kind of analysis offered prematurely, is terrifyingly unnerving.

In fact, [i]unless[/i] it is left to the person in need, to set the pace of these spiritual transactions, yet more harm can be done - not by the doctrine itself, but by turning it into a system applied externally..... when truly only the Lord is able to unravel in the right sequence, each individual's hurts and painful reactions.

The counsellor has to understand that the Lord Himself will give the revelation to the person, just as He did to you, and just as I have also had, with an indescribable precision of touch, which is perfectly accurate in the Spirit. How the Christian responds to these revelations and how long it takes them to come to the Lord with the necessary petitions or repentance, is between that person and the Lord. Sometimes they do need a Christian facilitator, and sometimes they just need to have someone on call, to reassure them there is a way through.

The other thing which can happen when a person starts to deal with 'stuff', is that God can [i]seem[/i] very far away ... even, [i]non-existent[/i]. I found it helpful to know this loss of perspective is 'normal' and of course God hasn't changed or disappeared.

This tests one's faith, but it may be one reason that Christians hold on to pain for long enough to establish in their own understanding a meaningful relationship with God which they can trust, [i]even when[/i] there is less of His tangible presence than they are used to.

Is this making sense?


 2007/8/2 22:00





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