Dictionaries and definitions aren’t usually a wow factor in the beginning of an article or blog post, but that is precisely where we begin our topic today. Some things just need to be defined up front. So, what is “healing,” or what does it mean to “heal”?
Heal—1 to make or become well or healthy again 2 to cure (a disease) or mend, as a wound. (Webster’s New World Dictionary and Thesaurus)
By definition, there must be something wrong to need healing. Something has become unhealthy, or has been wounded. We’re not discussing scraped knees and paper cuts here, but wounds of the most deadly kind…wounds of the heart. Possibly the most misunderstood and overlooked. Psychology has made it only about the mind, scientists have reasoned it away, and sadly much of the church has misunderstood the role of the heart itself.
Proverbs 4:23 tells us the very wellspring of life flows from the heart, and for that reason, we need to protect it more than anything else! The physical heart is central to our ability to live and thrive as it pumps life-giving blood to every organ and every inch of our bodies. When it is wounded, life is threatened. It is the same in spiritual terms with our hearts.
But what might be a “wound” to our spiritual heart? Any time a person does not love us, treat us, or respond to us in the ways God intended, whether intentional or not, we are wounded. It can be as simple as a distracted parent, or as complex as sexual abuse (as I shared in my story in the last post). The death of a key person in our life. Other examples could be the cruel taunting by kids on a playground, or the betrayal of a friend or group of people. And yes, wounds can be self-inflicted through sin.
The aforementioned are barely scratching the surface, but such wounds bruise, hurt, and cause trouble, upset, and pain. We are broken, sometimes shattered into a million pieces, and the flow of life within us is greatly hindered. Without even realizing it, we find ways to self-protect out of survival when we are young. It appears we have adapted, or found ways to cope. Yet often we’ve made deadly vows to keep our hearts from being hurt again, and the life-giving wellspring is cut off—unable to flow in or out.
If you don’t believe me, think about your own responses and knee-jerk reactions to life. All things are not so easily chalked up to personality alone. “That’s just the way I am.” “I’ll never to that again!” (Fill in “that.”)Take time to ask yourself (and God) why you are a perfectionist (I’m in recovery!), or painfully timid. Maybe you’re the life of the party and in constant need to be the center of attention. Do you hide (or hide your past)? Drink or eat too much? Too little?
Make no mistake, our enemy—also God’s enemy—is behind it all. His ploy is to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10a), and he’ll use humans to run his errands for him (that’s the wounding). He’ll steal our innocence, joy, security, you name it. The very image of God written on our hearts is destroyed and marred by our sin and afflictions.
Thankfully, our God will not sit idly by.
He sent Jesus “to heal the brokenhearted.” (Isaiah 61:1, Luke 4)
“’…all who devour you will be devoured; all your enemies will go into exile. Those who plunder you will be plundered; all who make spoil of you I will despoil. But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 30:16-17a)
There is much to uncover and much to explore on this subject, which we will do over the coming weeks. To restore is to give back something that was taken, lost, etc. (Webster’s). After all we have suffered, this seems utterly impossible; too good to be true. According to Jesus, “’with man this is impossible, but not for God; with God all things are possible’” (Matthew 19:26).
This is what Jesus came to do. And that's the offer: to heal and restore our hearts to their original glory. Let's explore the possibilities!