[I use a lot of parallel examples in this post so to avoid confusion, let me please clarify that I’m not talking about miraculous physical healing but emotional healing that is led by the Holy Spirit]
Even though there is so much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for and so much to enjoy, I think we can all agree that sometimes, life hurts.
At some point we all feel pain whether physical or emotional and we have to learn how to deal with it. Caring for our hearts is serious business. Proverbs 4:23 says we need to guard it above everything else because our life actually flows out of it.
We all know that when our hearts are hurting the ripple effects can touch every area of our lives and the lives of those around us. I’ve heard the phrase “It’s okay to not be okay” thrown around a lot and used it myself. If we’re saying it’s important to be authentic and able to admit that we struggle, we’re not perfect and we have problems, I totally agree! Sadly I feel like often it’s used to give us an excuse to wallow in our pain and unresolved issues instead of seeking God in healing and restoration.
This is especially important for us as Christians if we believe what Jesus says in Luke 6:45, that our mouths are the outlet for whatever fills our hearts. So why don’t we give proper attention to their condition?
Growing up in the Church and in the world I’ve often seen that the general responses to emotional pain are to ignore it, deny it or trivialise it. Emotional wounds are invisible and so we’re often aware that others aren’t able to understand the depth of what it is we’re experiencing. It’s often much easier to sympathise with a broken leg than with a broken heart. Ever knock your hip on the corner of a desk or counter? To someone watching it looks like you bumped into the counter and need to get over it but you feel like you’ve been shot and are about to lose consciousness! I think it’s like that…
When our hearts get hurt we think that “getting over it” is the same as healing but it really isn’t. You can get over the pain of a broken nose and move on with your life but that doesn’t mean it’s healed or even healed correctly.
This difference is huge and has big implications for our lives.
In the last few years I’ve been introduced to various Christian ministries that focus on the topic of having a healthy heart life and addressing the wounds within. In the West we have increasingly tried to sweep emotional pain under the rug and cover it with positive thinking which has led to some supersize issues festering and growing under the surface and manifesting in strange and damaging ways! As Christians we have streams of living water flowing out of us that should refresh others (John 7:38) and we’re supposed to produce fruit to feed others (Gal 5:22-23). If we don’t guard our hearts the fruit we produce is affected or should I say INfected. You’ll be hard-pressed to find clean water downstream if the source is polluted.*
My experiences of what some folks would call biblical “inner healing” ministries have been very positive, benefiting my life and others. I think it’s hugely important to be able to give language to our struggles and to properly articulate the road to recovery. However, I’ve noticed something that I think is a really big problem and a potential hindrance to us and our long-term growth.
After engaging for a time with the healing process, we can learn to speak the language of healing instead of actually getting healed!
“We can learn to speak the language of healing instead of actually getting healed.”
Personally I think this is a DISASTER but it’s one that I’ve seen in my own life and I see being repeated more and more. At some point, like me, you’ve probably told people you were “fine” just so that they would stop asking. We can learn how to say the right words and make the right faces to convince people that we’re A-Okay and unfortunately we can even work this charm on ourselves sometimes.
This is the problem with “speaking positively” all the time. If we act like we’re okay and talk like we’re okay, sometimes we can even start to believe we’re okay when we’re really not. If you break your finger and cut off the circulation to your forearm you might feel like your finger is okay but if you try to use it you’ll find out otherwise.
(This is not to negate the power of speaking words in faith that God has given us before we’ve seen the results)
Head over to Part 2 for more!
*Ultimately Christ is our source and He is fully pure but we have a responsibility to guard the deposit we’ve been given.
If you’re not much into reading but prefer to listen/watch, here’s a 38min message on a similar topic from Brian Johnson.