Healing and Freedom

Today’s song is I Am The God That Healeth Thee by Don Moen, based on Exodus 15:26.

In a blog post earlier this year, Chuck Crisco explores Love, Demons, and Mental Illness, a great article which contains a fascinating quote:

When we read in Acts 8:7 of unclean spirits crying out, the Eastern (Aramaic) text reads: “Many who were mentally afflicted cried out”. This is because, according to George Lamsa, “”Unclean spirits” is an Aramaic term used to describe lunatics” (3). It should be noted that Lamsa was a native Aramaic speaker with a fine understanding of Aramaic terms. He grew up in a remote part of Kurdistan which had maintained the Aramaic language almost unchanged since the time of Jesus. It’s significant that Lamsa’s extensive writings indicate that he failed to see in the teachings of Jesus and Paul any support for the popular conception of the devil and demons- he insisted that the Semitic and Aramaic terms used by them have been misunderstood by Western readers and misused in order to lend support for their conceptions of a personal devil and demons.

Chuck goes on to explain that any time there is a ‘demon’ mentioned in Scripture, it’s actually mental illness at fault.

Continue reading “Healing and Freedom”

Reaching The Other Side of Pain With Music

Today’s song is the ever-so-smooth Gospel track, I Want My Destiny by Fred Hammond, off of one of his greatest albums, Purpose By Design.

The other day someone I follow on Twitter mentioned that music is like a drug. He dismissed it as it was like any other psychiatric medication. I disagree that it’s ‘just a drug’–but maybe that’s because I’m a ‘user’.

For many years, silence was painful for me. Without something in my ears, I was terrified that ‘demons’ would overtake my mind, and the pressure cooker would explode. Music was often a comfort, especially when I was in private and could cry as much as I needed to. There are so many comforting albums that I relied on during the hard times that it’d be hard to list them all here. The aforementioned Fred Hammond album is one–most of the songs speak directly to things I faced, and sometimes still face, in my life: the desire to see my destiny fulfilled, to have a clean, unencumbered heart–all of it.

For a while I couldn’t come back to the music that helped me get through the pain. Some music I was listening to during profound times of deception, such as during my ‘Messianic Jewish/Torah Movement’ or ‘Drunken Glory’ kicks, I would never return to–but the albums that helped me through the generally hopeless and heartbroken times, when I come back to them, sometimes they don’t hurt any more. That’s how I know I’ve grown up a bit–that God has worked in my life to heal the hurts. I’m still a work in progress–it’s an everyday thing, believe me!–but I am thankful to God that he hasn’t given up on me–and indeed, has promised never to, Phil. 1:4-6:

In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

unsplash-kitsune-4If you’re someone for whom music plays a fundamental part, and you’ve gone through a long time of healing, you might occasionally test your progress by trying some of the older music that you listened to while you were healing. If it brings back old hurts, then there’s no shame! You’re still a work in progress and it’s totally OK. If the hurt has dissipated, mark that down–God has healed you, and you’ve made progress.

Think of this as if you’ve broken your leg and someone prayed for it to be healed. Most folks praying for you will ask you to test it out. With mental and emotional healing, it’s invisible and there’s nothing to test. Results may occur right away, but you won’t know for weeks or months exactly what the impact was. Music is a quick test for that. Does it still hurt? That’s OK, just rejoice that God’s helped you make progress elsewhere and then come back to it later. You’re on your way.

Healing and Invisible Walls

This is what I feel like today.
This is what I feel like today.

This is the first article I’ve seen anywhere that gets healing right, in my estimation:

In both Evangelical and Charismatic circles, evangelism often looks remarkably like business sales.

  • Establish a need – “You are headed straight for eternal, fiery torment. You need help”
  • Pitch the main benefit – “By accepting Jesus, you can avoid eternal, fiery torment.”
  • Sweeten the deal – “But wait, there’s more. God answers prayer (for healing, finances, relationships) so you will have a better life.”
  • Always be closing – “Would you like to pray this prayer and avoid fiery damnation?”
  • Don’t waste too much time on any one pitch – there are too many souls that need saving.

In this context, healing ministry tends to be part of the salvation sales pitch. It tends to be less personal and more “how can we reach the most people”.

There are upsides and downsides to this perspective, but regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, it makes sense to have an “I don’t know” theology on healing when our goal is maximum reach and “results aren’t guaranteed”. It makes sense to keep our expectations of healing vague when we can’t predict the outcome and salvation is the primary objective.

The rest of the article is fantastic, too, and I recommend it highly.

I’m thinking about healing today because I’m coughing out my lungs due to bronchitis. Thanks God for medicine. But I’ve always been taught healing as a sort of magical thing that happens when I do x. Doesn’t matter what x is, it’s usually something that’s not sustainable. Have so-and-so pray for you, he’s really anointed. Give more money. Pray more. Read your Bible more. And the list goes on. Continue reading “Healing and Invisible Walls”