You have heard people say it, perhaps to you, or maybe even shouted it at you?
"You make me sick."
Those who say it usually don't mean it, but it may nevertheless be true. God only knows how many people are physically sick because of emotional wounds, harsh words, spiteful actions or emotional trauma. This is not to suggest that all physical illnesses are emotionally or spiritually caused or even exacerbated. There are these things called germs. There are illnesses that have nothing to do with emotional hurt. That said, however, I must also say that the triune nature of the human organism is far more sensitive than many believe. Humans are body, soul (or mind) and spirit. When life drops a monkey wrench into the human trinity, the damage can be entire. The "parts" of this trinity are not precisely parts, at least not in the sense that the parts of a machine are separate and distinct. The triune human is three "parts" in one person. Humanity, the pinnacle of God's creation, is a fully integrated whole, a trinity in the image of the Trinity.
Humanity has proven to be magnificently enduring, having lasted and adapted for millennia. Yet, at the same time, humans are shockingly fragile, sometimes sickened by hardly more than words.
Healing flowed out of Jesus into the wounded humans He encountered. The woman at the well, living in sin after five divorces, needed Jesus to be the Wonderful Counselor. The man lowered through the rooftop, unable to even stand, needed inner healing from guilt and condemnation more than, or at least before, he needed a physical miracle. After Simon Peter's abject failure in Caiaphas' courtyard, his guilty soul needed restoration. King David, who said, "He restores my soul" (Ps. 23:3a), would have understood St. Peter's need and our own.
In 1 Corinthians 12, St. Paul spoke of "gifts of healing" (v. 9b). "Gifts," plural, not "gift," singular. Surely those gifted in healing wounded souls are servants of the Wonderful Counselor. What should they be called but "counselors" in a healing ministry called counseling? Yet some in the evangelical/charismatic world are dismissive of Christian counseling, if not downright adversarial. One angry Pentecostal evangelist memorably shouted, "If you've got Jesus, you don't need counseling; and if you're in counseling, you need Jesus." My immediate thought was, This guy needs counseling.
Some evangelicals reject Spirit baptism because subconsciously, they fear the need for something after salvation denigrates salvation. Some charismatics and Pentecostals likewise feel that after baptism in the Spirit, if you need, well, anything, you aren't really Spirit-filled. The truth is that salvation does what it does, which is much. Spirit baptism likewise does what it does, but neither does everything.
Imagine a Spirit-filled minister with the abiding fear that his congregation will reject him and who, come to think of it, has feared rejection and abandonment ever since his father disappeared without a trace. Since he first came to faith, he has heard and preached that "just a little talk with Jesus makes it right," so he absolutely cannot admit he struggles with panic attacks.
Imagine a Christian businesswoman whose depression and nightmares are destroying her life. Her best friend at women's ministry tells her she needs deliverance. Deep inside, she knows the fact her father raped her repeatedly when she was a small child may have something to do with the nightmares. But she is terrified that the only way she can ever get free is to tell someone her monstrous secret. She finds that idea so horrible that she goes through deliverance instead, knowing all the while that though deliverance may be the answer for some, it will not lead to her healing.
I sought counseling at a crucial moment and was led to a marvelously gifted man for whom I am eternally grateful. I have also counseled many people, and in preparation for a forthcoming book on inner healing, I have interviewed other counselors. As a result, I have come to some conclusions. Here are four:
Everyone is wounded. Everyone. No one goes through life unscathed. Sometimes, because of inner wounds, people act in destructive ways.
At some point, many—if not most—people need a trained healer to help deal with inner wounds.
Shockingly, not everyone wants the emotionally wounded healed. In fact, some graceless legalists do not even believe these hurting people can be healed. They just want destructive behavior punished.
Most importantly, God does want them healed. Once one affirms this final point, all arguments against healing and all man-made limitations placed on healing are rendered moot. God loves the hurting, even those who in their pain hurt others, and He wants them well. He gifts the church with counselors because He is the Wonderful Counselor.
Dr. Mark Rutland is president of both Global Servants and the National Institute of Christian Leadership. A renowned communicator and New York Times best-selling author, he has more than 30 years of experience in organizational leadership, having served as a senior pastor and a university president.
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