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Saturday, October 18, 2014

What is Healing? Part 5


Our Relational Design: Ideal or Real?

Is God’ relational design for our lives more than a nice theoretical guideline – or are loving relationships with God and others something we need to take seriously?

Many of us long to live for God more deeply. We want to see God move more powerfully in us and through us to accomplish His purposes. We’d like to have the kind of joyful, loving fellowship described in the Book of Acts. Some of us would even like to see the miraculous in our day. Why does it seem that despite our deepest longings, our desires for “more of God and His works” often seem unfulfilled?

Perhaps the heart of the matter is this: it’s hard to experience or express the life of Jesus when we live outside of His relational design for our lives. According to His design specs for our lives, God created us to function best only when we are connected with Him and others in love. Love, experienced and expressed in relationship with God and others (and not more power, authority, influence, ministry opportunities, miracles, church attendance, memorized Bible verses, miracles, signs and wonders) is the “Gold Standard” in Christianity.

The failure to take seriously Jesus’ commands to love God and each other with His love keeps us weak, frustrated and unfulfilled in our lives as Christians. Furthermore, it blinds us from recognizing our overwhelming need for healing.


What does Jesus tell us?

On the night before He died, Jesus shared a last meal with His disciples. Knowing that His arrest was only a few hours away, Jesus poured out His heart to His dear friends one last time. This was not a moment for empty words; Jesus used the short time he had to tell his disciples what was most important.

Here Jesus established a new and more demanding vision for love than they’d ever heard before. He said, "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love [Greek tense: love and continue to keep loving] one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another." (John 13:34-35, NIV, parenthesis mine). Here, there is little room for negotiation or debate; Jesus is quite clear. He commands His disciples to love each other with the same love that He has for them.


What did his disciple John say?

Fifty years later, John the beloved disciple had not forgotten Jesus' commands. Addressing the influences of Hellenism, early Gnosticism, Eastern Mysticism and Roman pagan religion on the early church, John takes us back to the Last Supper as he writes,

  • Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. (1Jn 2:6)
  • And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. (1Jn 3:23)
  • This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. (1Jn 4:10-11)
  • Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And he has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister. (1Jn 4:20-21)

I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that if we claim to follow Jesus, then we are commanded to love God and each other – just like Jesus.

Love isn’t a one-time event – Jesus intends it to be our lifestyle.

The idea of Christianity marked by signs, wonders, power, authority, spiritual gifts and ministry opportunities without love is a myth – and a poor substitute for the life of Jesus. As much as I would like to at times, I just can’t find any wiggle room to avoid the commands to love God and others like Jesus!


The challenge of love, the need for healing

Healing is the restorative work of returning me to my original relational design so that I can mature in love and overcome my own internal resistance to love.

When I take God’s design for loving relationships seriously, I am confronted by my own lack of love – and secret wish that I could exclude really annoying people from the list of those I am supposed to love. I come face to face with my own internal resistance to both receiving and allowing God’s love to flow through me to others. Jesus’ command to love as He does is hard – and makes me realize how much I need to mature in love and deal with my own internal resistance to love. I desperately need to be restored to God’s relational design for a life of love. We’ll continue discussing our need for restoration in our next blog.

Love challenges me to leave my comfort zone and enter the hard work of engaging with the love of God in Jesus so that I can learn to love and live like Jesus with those around me.

Friday, September 26, 2014

What is Healing Part 4

What is Healing? Part 4

Our Relational Design: Sharing Life Together

In our last blog, we began studying the scriptures to reveal God’s relational design for our lives and discovered that from the beginning, we are created to enjoy loving relationship with Him. Since our Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are an eternal, joyful, loving, relational Trinity – and created us in their image and likeness – everything about us is designed to be just as relational! 

Today, we’ll continue by taking a look at how God intends the life and love we share with Him to flow into our relationships with others.  As I pondered this topic, I realized that this subject is just too big for one blog, so I decided to spread our discussion about God’s design for our relationships with others over several weeks. 

God’s Love Initiates

According to God’s design, our relationships with each other work best when they reflect the characteristics of the relationship the Father, Son and Spirit share together. 

It’s important to note that experiencing this type of relationship with others is only possible when we are connecting with God in Christ to receive His love.  It’s impossible to live in this kind of love – and share it with others – if we haven’t received it first. We simply can’t give what we haven’t received. John makes the connection between receiving God’s love – and our ability to love others clear in 1Jn 4:7-11:

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love (in Greek, love and keep on loving) one another. (NKJV, parenthesis added).

He emphasizes this theme later in the same chapter when he writes:

We love Him because He first loved us. If someone says, "I love God," and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.  (1Jn 4:19-21, NKJV).

These passages show a clear sequence: 
  1. God’s loves us first and takes the initiative to show us love.
  2. We receive His love and life.
  3. We respond to His love with love.
  4. We relate to others with the same love. 

Reflecting God’s Love

From the Greek texts, we also learn something seriously exciting!
In these passages of Scripture, John uses the word (agape and variants) to describe God’s love for us and the love God asks us to share with others. The New Testament uses this word to describe God’s unconditional love, and is different from the kinds of love that express feelings, warm affection or even a kiss. God is not just asking us to be friendly, affectionate or nice to others in response to His love.  God asks that we respond to His love by sharing the exact same type of love with those around us.

It blows my mind to think that this kind of love is what the Trinity experienced together before creation.  It is even more incredible to understand that Father, Son and Spirit are generously pouring out that love to us today so that we can freely receive it, live in it and share it with others. 

But wait…it gets even better!

You are I are created with a relational design to experience and share this kind of love. This means that everything about us functions best – according to God’s design – when we live in love with God and each other. As apprentices of Jesus, we are all in the process of learning to continually receive love, respond to love and share love. God designed us and intended for us to live this way with Him and with each other.

God’s Design Specs and the “3 R’s”

The relational nature of our design is not just a “nice spiritual truth” or interesting point of discussion we can tuck away in a file drawer under “good things to think about later.” We can only grow to experience the full capacity of God’s original design for us when the “3 R’s” (receiving, responding and relating to God and others in love) are alive and active in our lives. To function within God’s design parameters, we must be interactively experiencing the 3 R’s as we relate to God and to others. When any of the 3 R’s are missing, we are functioning outside of our design specifications – and that means that we malfunction and break down. 

We will never understand healing and God’s desire to heal if we miss His relational design for our lives – and the malfunctions and breakdowns that occur when we operate outside of our design specs. 

Coming Attractions

My next blog we want to answer the question, “Is the relational design for our lives something that is ideal (but can’t really exist) – or is it real (something we can experience as part of a “normal” Christian life?  You don’t want to miss this discussion as we move forward to establish a new understanding of healing.

Remember, our purpose in this series of blogs is to move towards a new definition of healing that:
  • Is broad enough to include physical healing as well as healing for those who are hurting on the inside.
  • Uses terminology explicitly found in Scripture to end the “is it Biblical or not” controversy.
  • Proactively focuses on healthy growth and maturity, and avoids a self-limiting emphasis on pain, problems and suffering. 
  • Is Invitational, and helps all members of church community recognize the significant role they play in healing and maturity.
  • Multiplies easily from one person to another (self-propagates).

Friday, September 19, 2014

What is Healing? Part 3

The Reality of Relationships

Our Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are an eternal, joyful, loving, relational Trinity. Created in God’s image and likeness, everything about us is relational too! He designed us so that we function best when we are joyfully connected to Him and to others, and learn to see ourselves through these eyes of joy. That’s why relationships are the foundation for life, growth and healing.

As we move towards a fresh definition of healing, I want to spend my next several blogs exploring God’s relational design for our lives. We’ll explore why both scripture and neuroscience agree that relationships are foundational for life and growth. We will also discover why joy-based relationships are essential for healing and equipping in the Body of Christ. I will also discuss the role that grace plays in healing of all kinds.

Remember, we are working towards a new definition of healing that must be:
  • Broad enough to include physical healing as well as healing for those who are hurting on the inside.
  • Use terminology explicitly found in Scripture to end the “is it Biblical or not” controversy.
  • Proactively focus on healthy growth and maturity, and avoid a self-limiting emphasis on pain, problems and suffering. 
  • Invitational, and help all members of church community recognize the significant role they play in healing and maturity.
  • Multiply easily from one person to another (self-propagate).

Today, our journey begins with a look at what scripture has to say about God’s relational design for our lives and His desire for life giving connections with us.

From the beginning

We need to look no further than the book of Genesis to discover God’s relational design for our lives. In Genesis 1:26-27, we read:

Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth." So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (NKJV).

When God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness”, we catch a glimpse of God’s eternal relational nature. Always in harmony, each member of The Trinity moves in everlasting unity and love. There is no strife, no jealousy, no selfish ambition. The Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit do not argue about “who gets to be in charge and make decisions now.” The Father never has to referee arguments between Jesus and the Holy Spirit about anything.

You are I are created in the image and likeness of a relational God to be just as relational!

The divine attributes of God revealed to us in Jesus are present at creation. Love, joy, peace, wisdom, compassion, mercy, patience and humility pour into our design. Righteousness and justice are the foundation of God’s throne, and He weaves a hunger for these into our design. The drive to share the life, character and gifts God has given us with others in new places is part of our God-given spiritual DNA. The “one another” passages in the New Testament describe what it looks like when we follow Jesus and share His relationship with each other.

The relational nature of our design means that our deepest desires and needs are for lasting connections with God and others that reflect His character and nature. God’s design means that you and I literally function best in these relationships. God never intended us to live an isolated life, and living in a relational vacuum is antithetical to His design for us.

The greatest commandments are relational

When reading the books of the Law and the Prophets in the Old Testament, many Christians mistakenly conclude that God’s biggest concern is making people behave – and then “smiting” those that do not. Nothing could be further from the truth! The law and prophets proclaim the heart of a relational God who desires loving connections with His people. He also desires that people who follow Him live in love with each other.

In chapter 22, Mathew’s Gospel records a fascinating interaction between Jesus and one of the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders of his day. The Pharisees were experts in the details of Old Testament law, (as well as the hundreds of other commands they created) and were usually much more concerned with rules and behavior than they were with love for God or others. In verses 36-40, Mathew reports the interaction between Jesus and a Pharisee who wanted to know which commandment in the law was the greatest

"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?"
This is the first and greatest commandment.
And the second is like it: 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.'
On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." (Mat 22:36-40, NKJV)

What a relational response and revelation of God’s heart as revealed in the Old Testament! Here Jesus tells us that God’s intent for us is loving relationship with Him and with each other. Furthermore, Jesus is telling us that everything in Old Testament Law and in the prophets can only truly be understood when approached from the understanding that God’s greatest desire is for relationships of love.

Everything about us – and scripture – testifies to our relational design and God’s desire that our relationship with Him would be reflected in our interactions with each other.

Finding real life in real relationship

Have you ever wondered how to find real, authentic life? Volumes have been written on the subject and the “Self-Help” sections of bookstores are packed with answers. Today, people have become wealthy by packaging trendy new techniques to help people enhance their lives. Christians have also explored this question extensively, and devised many ways to help people make a “profession of faith” in Jesus to find eternal life.

Perhaps nowhere is the answer to this question expressed more clearly than in John 17:3. Not surprisingly, we discover that God’s answer is relational, and consistent with His relational design for our lives found throughout scripture:

“And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” John 17:3, (NKJV).

The relational nature of this statement becomes absolutely clear when we look to the original Greek that is translated “that they may know you” in English. In Greek, this portion of the verse means “should keep on knowing,” which indicates an active, growing and ever-deepening relationship with God in Christ. It means that we find eternal life only in an ongoing relationship with God in Christ. Eternal life, it seems, is much more than a one-time profession of faith, or mere intellectual assent to a “Christian” belief system. You and I find life and are restored to God’s design only in relationship!

There is much more to say about God’s love and our relational design, especially John’s declaration, “We love Him because He first loved us,” (I John 4:19, NKJV). Here, we find that love is our relational response to God’s initiating love. However, if I pursue each scripture describing our relational design, and God’s desire for relationships with us, I would never complete this blog!

A preview of coming attractions

In my next blog, we’ll explore how God designed us to relate to each other. We will discover how joyful relationships with other followers of Jesus help us heal, become equipped and grow in maturity as we connect to each other in love.

In future blogs, we’ll also look why Grace is foundational for healing, consider what neuroscience is learning about our relational design.

All Photos: Thinkstock.com

Thursday, August 28, 2014

What is healing? part 2

Those Pesky Emotions

Trying to answer questions about emotions and “emotional healing” always reminds me of the carnival/arcade game, “Whack-a-Mole.”  

 In Whack-a-Mole, the player stands with a large foam “whacker” in hand, and faces a flat surface with a series of holes in it.  The object of the game is to “whack” a mole on the head every time he pops up randomly from one of the holes.  Once whacked, the mole disappears back into his hole – and another one pops out somewhere else. Good whackers discover that the faster they dispatch a mole, the faster and more frequently multiple moles appear simultaneously. Before long, the moles are moving too quickly for the player to respond to them all.

Discussions about emotions and emotional healing generate questions in the same way!  Here are only a few of the kinds of questions that quickly arise:

  • What’s the best way to deal with emotions such as anger, sadness, shame or hopeless despair?
  • Are emotions like these inherently “sinful?”
  • Do we eliminate these primarily through repentance and renewal of the mind with God’s Word – or is the capacity to experience these emotions part of our God-given makeup?
  • Is emotional healing much more than changing our belief systems to change our behavior?
  • If negative emotions are part of our humanity, how do we learn to manage them?
  • Are deeply troubling emotions signs of a deep wounds and a painful past that needs healing?
  • Isn’t it better to “stuff” emotions than act out when we’re upset?
  • If we’re really walking with Christ, should we ever experience emotions like these?
  • And where in the Bible is the term “emotional healing” found anyway?

And lists like this tend to multiply exponentially for 2 very profound reasons.  First, the subjects of emotions and emotional healing generate controversy in the church. Second, we all experience sometimes confusing emotions to one degree or another as part of our human experience.

My purpose in discussing issues related to emotions and emotional healing is not to try to answer every question that has – or will arise – around these issues. I want to describe a fresh, clear definition for healing that includes each of the following elements listed below. 

Healing should:

  • Be broad enough to include physical healing as well as healing for those who are hurting on the inside.
  • Use terminology explicitly found in Scripture to end the “is it Biblical or not” controversy.
  • Proactively focus on healthy growth and maturity, and avoid a self-limiting emphasis on pain, problems and suffering.
  • Be invitational, and help all members of church community recognize the significant role they play in healing and maturity.
  • Multiply easily from one person to another (self-propagate).


Emotions are important

First, we are created in the image and likeness of a kind, good, loving and intelligent God who has emotions. As the Son of Man, Jesus experienced an intense assortment of emotions ranging from serious anger (Mark 3:5), to sorrowful grief (John 11:35). In the person of Jesus, we see a living picture of God’s own character and nature. Jesus told His apprentices, the disciples, “He who has seen me has seen the Father,” (John 14:9).  In his letter to the Colossians, Paul wrote, “He (Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation,” (Col. 1:15). Jesus also spoke what he heard His Father saying (John 12:49), and told His disciples, "Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner,” (John 5:19).
This is profound! What was happening when Jesus was enraged at the stubbornness of hard-hearted leaders or cleansed the temple with a whip? What about the time he wept over Jerusalem or grieved at the grave of a dear friend? His emotions and actions were simply reflections of what He saw His Father doing. In the person of Jesus, we see the rich emotional life of God demonstrated for us! This alone makes emotions a very important part of our lives and design. 

Second, emotions are some of the most personal things about us, and to a large degree, tend to motivate our behavior.  Ignoring or dismissing the importance of how God, others or we feel is a grave mistake. This kind of behavior explicitly communicates, “God, others or self, I don’t really care what you feel or are experiencing emotionally right now.” As a result, we also implicitly, convey the message that we don’t value God or others – or our relationships with them – too highly either. Sadly, the tendency to ignore/dismiss the importance our own emotions tends to indicate that we don’t value ourselves as highly as God does. These messages of rejection bless no one, perpetuate relational breakdowns and prevent us from learning to regulate emotions in the way that Jesus did.

An example will help make this point more clearly. Suppose a child falls, skins her knee, bleeds a bit and starts to cry. What kind of parent would ignore their daughter’s obvious distress and continue to check email on their smartphone? What message would that communicate to a child in pain? Suppose the parent stopped looking at their phone long enough to say, “Stop crying and let me get back to this important task.” 

What kind of message would this communicate about God? What would the child learn from this experience? 

  • When I am in pain, no one (including God) cares or comes to help.
  • I am on my own and must take care of myself.
  • I cannot trust others to help me.
  • My pain is unimportant, especially when I am upset.
  • Nobody cares when I am in pain.
  • I am not very important.

Clearly, this kind of behavior is not OK and the messages learned create serious emotional and relational distortions in the life of the child. We could run scenarios involving the death of loved ones, overt racial intolerance, beatings and all manner of abuse, and the messages would be the same.  Ironically, we communicate the same kinds of rejection messages when we dismiss/ignore positive emotions.

Dropping a Bombshell

Having described the importance of emotions, let me now make a statement that may surprise many in the “emotional healing” community. I want to make this point now, and promise to develop much more fully in my next several blogs.  

While emotions are important, they are not the most important things about us and are not the primary issue that must be addressed in the context of “inner healing.” From a Biblical and Neurological perspective, the real problem with negative (and sometimes intense positive emotions) is that they damage, distort and disrupt our relational connections with God, with others and with ourselves. 

In my opinion, the term “emotional healing” sows confusion.  I would very much like to banish the term from the healing language used in church. Not only is this un-Biblical, it runs contrary to good neuroscience.

By definition, the name “emotional healing” suggests that emotions should be the real focus of healing ministry, and leads us off track in the inevitable and unending quest to “fix” our emotions so that we feel better. This term elevates emotions to a place they are not intended to be, and unintentionally makes emotions and “feeling better” an idol. I would like to smash that idol right now!  

Biblically, the restoration of relationships and the ministry of reconciliation are quite clear. We are created to learn to love God with all of our being and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We called to grow together into the “whole measure of the fullness of Christ,” (Eph. 4:13). The calls to love and relationships are Biblically non-negotiable.

Developments in neuroscience increasingly reveal that the brain really only learns to manage, regulate and express emotions in the context of relationships when those relationships are joyful.  To my brain, joy does not mean that I’m happy.  Joy is the fruit of an interaction with someone who is glad to be with me. Neuroscience defines joy as coming from others, and emphasizes the role that others have in helping us learn emotional regulation.  As a Christian, I believe that interactions with God, who is always glad to be with His children, are also an excellent source of life-transforming joy.

This is why reconciliation and restoration of relationships to God’s intended design are the solid foundation upon which healing ministry should rest.

As we’ve pointed out, emotions are important.  God feels deeply, is willing to share our distress and asks us to help bear one another’s burdens.  We never want to minimize the importance of anyone’s emotions. But, we also do not want to elevate emotions in life – whether positive, negative or horribly traumatic – to a place not found in scripture.

In my next blogs, we will take a look at what I believe is a proper focus for “inner healing” that is both Biblical, relational and true to the brain’s design. I will also begin to lay out exactly what I believe about emotions from both scripture and neuroscience as we move towards a fresh, clear definition for healing. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What is Healing?

Part 1: To Heal or Not to Heal

One of the quickest ways to start a theological argument is to start throwing around the words, “Inner Healing,” or “emotional healing.” Like a group of grizzly bears
with fresh meat, heresy hunters, those self-appointed internet guardians of all things Christian, will rip the term – and the unwary feeder – apart. Name calling, personal and professional attacks systematically seek to destroy the credibility of anyone who might use those terms. Those attacks deter bystanders – or those who serve hurting people – from entering the fray. The fear of being found “guilty by association,” deters and discourages churches, ministries and individuals from exploring tools to help bring wholeness to hurting people.

Furthermore, there is often considerable confusion surrounding the use of the terms “inner healing” or “emotional healing” in traditional denominational circles. Neither term is explicit in scripture, although the concepts are implicit. As a result, those seeking a firm foundation for a Biblical approach to ministry are reluctant to embrace them. They simply do not want to introduce non-Biblical approaches to ministry.

This is even more complicated because there are so many dispensational augments concerning whether or not God even heals today. While recognizing that God clearly worked miracles in the New Testament Church, some dispensationalists argue that era in Church History is over and that God no longer miraculously heals. Thus, the entire concept of physical healing – let alone inner/emotional healing – is suspect. In addition, some churches are willing to embrace the idea that God is still in the business of bringing physical healing to people – but do not believe that ministry to help people overcome the areas on life that keep them stuck on the inside are needed. Contending that receiving Jesus makes us whole, these churches believe that salvation alone, combined with exercise of the will and forgiveness for others make any other type of ministry to hurting people unnecessary.

The problems multiply further because there is often a difference of opinion as to exactly what “inner/emotional healing” really is. Because the term is not explicit in Scripture, it is hard to establish a clear, contextual definition of these terms from the original texts. It is important to note, however, that there is a clear mandate in Scripture concerning the call to bring healing to the brokenhearted as well as numerous citations describing elements that bring us freedom. As my friend, Andy Reese makes clear on his Freedom Resource Website (www.thefreedomresource.org), Scripture contains many references to the concept of bringing healing and freedom to people in pain. These include:
  • Healing the brokenhearted is (Luke 4:18).
  • Confessing sins to another and prayer for them is (James 5:16).
  • Casting out demons is (Mark 16:17).
  • Setting up godly defenses (Eph. 6:10).
  • Speaking prophetic encouragement is (1 Th. 5:20).
  • Taking thoughts captive is (2 Cor. 10:5).
  • Releasing the captives is (Luke 4:18).
  • Forgiving is (Eph. 4:32).
  • Renouncing past sinful practices is (2 Cor. 4:2).
  • Being led by the Spirit is (Rom. 8:14).
  • Asking God for miraculous input is (Jer. 33:3).
  • Bearing one another’s burdens is (Gal. 6:2).
  • Wanting freedom is (Gal. 5:1).
  • Speaking truth to someone is (Eph. 4:15).
  • Setting free the oppressed is (Luke 4:18).
  • Knowing and saying God is near to the brokenhearted is (Psalm 34:18).
  • Comforting the afflicted with what God has shown us is (2 Cor. 1:4).

Finally, it is important to point out that our culture is full extra-Biblical approaches to helping people heal. “Extra-Biblical” simply refers to something not specifically mentioned in scripture. Some examples of extra-Biblical approaches to healing include things like antibiotics, surgery or other direct medical/treatment interventions. Things like losing weight to manage high blood pressure or diabetes are helpful, although scripture remains silent on issues of high blood pressure and diabetes. Treatment or interventions for things like alcoholism or other substances of abuse can be included here also. All of these good things are consistent with Biblical principles, and followers of Jesus utilize approaches like these frequently with a clear conscience.

At the same time, it is clear that other approaches to healing are not consistent with scripture. These include the use of “spirit guides” or some forms of “guided imagery” under their leadership, which are clearly not consistent with the teachings of scripture. By "spirit guides, I am referring to spiritual beings who represent themselves as God or as higher forms of "spiritual consciousness" that promise greater spiritual enlightenment to anyone willing to interact with them. I am not referring to Share Immanuel or other approaches to healing in which participants interact directly with God and are led by Him. New Age influences muddy the waters and in the minds of many heresy hunters, make any approach to healing the brokenhearted unacceptable. The baby is thrown out with the bathwater.

Getting to the Heart of the Matter

To me, we need a clear and fresh definition of healing. This definition should:
  • Be broad enough to include all forms physical healing as well as healing for those who are hurting on the inside.
  • Use terminology explicitly found in Scripture to end the “is it Biblical or not” controversy.
  • Proactively focus on healthy growth and maturity, and avoid a self-limiting emphasis on pain, problems and suffering.
  • Be invitational, and help all members of church community recognize the significant role they play in healing and maturity.

In my next post, we will take a look at a new definition of healing!

Photos by ThinkStock.com

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