Health is a basic value in life. “At least you have your health,” you may hear people say. If you’ve lost everything else, at least you can still get around and take care of yourself. But not everyone has that advantage. Some people are beset with hidden ills that prevent them from living full, happy lives. And I’d like to propose to you one thing that keeps people from living healthy. It isn’t diet or exercise, important as those are. It isn’t really even any disorder of the body. I want to suggest that if your soul is sick your body will suffer too. Soul sickness sometimes prevents bodily health. It becomes the ceiling for your healing. But fixing those soul wounds can contribute to your overall health and quality of life.Soul sickness can prevent bodily health. It becomes the ceiling for your healing. Click To Tweet
How do you know if your soul is sick? There are at least as many diseases of the soul as there are of the body. But let’s consider an example from the life of King Saul. The Spirit of the Lord had left Saul after he rebelled against God’s instructions, and that same Spirit was now powerfully working in young David. David joined Saul’s staff after killing the giant, Goliath. David was so successful that he became Saul’s most trusted captain. He was best friends with his son, Jonathan, and even became the king’s son-in-law. But bitter wounds in Saul’s soul made it impossible for him to trust David, even though David had only done him good. Saul, the King, became insanely jealous of David, a shepherd boy. Several times he hurled a spear at him, trying to kill him. Then he sent soldiers to his house to kill him, but David got away.
At first, Jonathan wouldn’t believe that his father was after David. Saul kept his malice quiet. But David devised a plan to expose the King’s murderous rage. When David didn’t show up for the New Moon celebration, Saul became furious. When he found out Jonathan had given David permission to be absent he became verbally abusive and even threw his spear at Jonathan. Saul was a man with deep soul wounds that came from his own disobedience and rebellion.
Soul wounds come from sinful behavior, yours or someone else’s. They are like physical infections that happen when sores are not kept clean. Everyone gets wounded in this life, the question is, how do you tend your wounds. If you try to cover them up without cleaning them out, they won’t heal any better than a physical wound that’s been bandaged but is still full of dirt. Inner healing is really about the process of cleaning the soul wounds and allowing them to heal.
When you have soul wounds you might start to act like Saul. You might nurse a grudge in silence. You might resort to acts of verbal or physical violence. But silence and violence never solve problems. You might find yourself bitter at another person’s success. You quietly keep score of all your wounds and the other person’s wrongs. You might find yourself unable to say a kind word or think a charitable thought toward that person. You can start to believe that the deck is stacked against you and that everybody is out to get you. Addictions take the place of simple enjoyment. Obsession replaces desire. Anxiety and depression, hand-in-hand slip into your life like a poisonous cloud. And you feel isolated from God and others. That’s what happened to Saul.Silence and violence never solve problems Click To Tweet
Someone once said, “The body, soul and spirit are next-door neighbors. They catch each others’ ills.” Your body might start to experience sickness you just can’t shake. You’ve been prayed for and treated, but the disease just won’t go away. But at root, sometimes this kind of chronic illness is rooted, not in the body, but in the soul.
Contrast Saul’s experience with that of David in 1 Samuel 30. Even though he had been on the run from Saul, kicked out of his home in the palace and taken away from his wife, David still succeeded wherever he went. Even in the country of Israel’s greatest enemy, the Philistines, David became more and more influential. Then one day, David and his men returned to their home base in Ziklag to find that raiders had stolen all they had and kidnapped their wives and children. Everyone cried until they had no tears left. Worse still, David’s men were pinning the blame on him. They were going to stone him for causing their problems. But David did a couple unusual things that showed how healthy his soul was.The body, soul and spirit are next-door neighbors. They catch each others' ills. Click To Tweet
First, David encouraged himself in the Lord. Then he asked the Lord’s direction for what to do. Next, he took action and went to war. He was victorious, but in his victory he was generous and gave presents to the people around him. Within a few days, his enemy, Saul was killed in battle, and David became a king. If he had given up in his darkest hour, he would never have made it to become king. He had an excellent, healthy soul that came from the time he spent alone with God.
So what is your experience? Do you find yourself bitter and always on the losing end, like Saul? Or do you find yourself always coming out on top, no matter what evil happens to you, like David? Do you need inner healing?
Here’s the process I use for inner healing: Follow Holy Spirit; Give it to Jesus; Receive from the Father
- Follow Holy Spirit: Ask Holy Spirit where you are stuck. Ask Him to lead you in your mind to the place of your hurt. Follow Him! Don’t go anywhere on your own. Let yourself feel the hurt that you have and ask Holy Spirit to help you name it. It’s important to be able to name it as precisely as possible. And go for the root feelings. If you feel anger in that place, ask Holy Spirit, “why am I angry?” Follow Him to the answer. If the hurt is related to some sin of your own, confess it and renounce it. If it’s a sin that someone else did against you, ask Holy Spirit for the strength to forgive.
- Give it to Jesus: Ask Jesus to show you where He was when you were hurting. What was He doing for you? Ask yourself if you’re ready to give up the hurt. Some people hold onto the hurt because they believe it empowers them. Some are unwilling to let go because their wound has begun to define them. But holding onto it you will never heal. Do you want to keep the hurt? If not, ask Jesus to take it and nail it to His cross. Now is the time to admit that the person who wronged you has been forgiven by God, and you will need to agree with that forgiveness.
- Receive from the Father: Ask the Father to give you a good gift to fill the hole left behind by the pain Jesus took. If you gave up rejection, He might give you acceptance. If you gave up bitterness, He might give you joy. Usually the gift of the Father has the opposite message as the pain. Wait on Him and receive what He has to give you. You might write it down to remember it.
When you’re done, go back to the top and ask Holy Spirit to take you back into that place where you were hurt before. If the same or a different hurt is still there go back through the steps until you can remember the situation in detail but no pain is associated with the memory.
You have begun the process of healing. But remember, healing takes time. Not all wounds are fixed by a bandaid. When you injure yourself, as you heal, sometimes when you move certain ways, the pain comes back. It doesn’t mean you weren’t healed. It just means you are healing. As often as the pain comes back, put it in its place and recall God’s gift to you. And then pursue God like your new drug.
God wants you well more than even you do. Your job is to do the hard work that will let Him heal your soul.