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Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #3 (when one is sinned against)

I once had a word of knowledge about a person who had been
repeatedly raped by her father and an uncle as a young child.  As I looked at the people present at
the gathering, I was fairly sure I knew who it was; a young woman had been
glowering at me for most of the meeting. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong.  After the meeting, a sweet little lady in her 70’s
approached me.

“I was the person who was raped,” she said.  “From the age of 5 until I was 10 or
12, I was repeatedly sexually abused in the way you described.  It has affected every day of my life
since then, including my marriage. 
You are the first person I have ever told about it!”

Was she, as a young girl, in any way to blame for what went on?  No!  As an innocent child she was sinned against in a horrendous

The main way to deal with this kind of problem will come out
in the next post, but there is a very important principle here, and that is the
need of forgiveness.  Despite the
magnitude of the sin against her, this lady needed to forgive her father and
uncle.  Jesus made it quite clear
that our own forgiveness depends on our willingness to forgive others.  (The fact that one forgives doesn’t
mean one trusts again quickly.  The
wife who is sinned against when her husband has an affair is not immediately
going to trust him again.)

It was a privilege to pray with her and see her set free as
she forgave her father and uncle.   Jesus cleansed her and freed her from the shame of what
had happened to her.

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #2 (inherited sin)


Continuing the discussion on Kingdom skills: inner healing.

We had known Faith and her family for many years.  Faith had a wonderful husband and two
delightful kids.  Yet one day she
told us that she had problems with uncontrollable anger.  For no apparent reason, she would lose
her temper with the family, shouting and yelling at them.  She had repented many times, and
frequently asked the Lord to help her, but the situation recurred over and over

Anger:short fuse

We knew something of the family situation, and that her
grandfather had had similar problems when he was alive. When he lost his
temper, he was renowned for throwing plates across the dinner table.  The family connection was obvious.

We see this kind of inheritance in other situations.  The child of an alcoholic is likely to
have problems with addictions. 
Those who’ve been abused may end up abusing their own kids.  “The sins of the fathers are visited on
the children.”  (This is a
statement of fact, rather than God punishing children for their fathers’ sins.)

What is the spiritual component in this? There are two different
words used for sin—transgression and iniquity.  Transgression is the kind of sin that we commit, as in the
last post, but the word “iniquity” has the added meaning of a twisting or a
perversion.  It’s as though sin in
one generation leads to a tendency to sin in the next generation.  We see it in Nehemiah 9:2 where the
children of Israel are told to repent for their own sin and to confess the iniquities
of their fathers.  The fact that
one has inherited a tendency to sin does not negate the need to accept responsibility  for one’s own part—Faith needed to deal
with her own sin of anger—but the inherited part needed to be dealt with too.

When Faith confessed the iniquities of her grandfather as
well as repenting for her sin, and when the power of the enemy in using this in
her life was broken, Faith was completely set free from her problem.

Kingdom skills: causes of emotional problems #1

Continuing the discussion on skills for the Kingdom:  inner healing


A girl came to me with depression.  When I asked why she was depressed, she was quite clear it
was due to her family situation. 
Although she was in her 30s, she still lived at home, basically because
her parents had somehow manipulated her into remaining there saying they needed
her.  Her career and possible
relationships had been put on hold so she could look after them.

No question there was a problem in the family dynamics.  However, the main problem was in her
attitude.  She was bitter, angry
and resentful towards her parents. 
Her own sin was the cause of her depression.

Sin is a primary thing to look for.  Sin that has not been dealt with can
cause all kinds of problems. 
People need to take personal responsibility for their sin, dealing with
it thoroughly with repentance (I John 1:9) and if necessary, putting things
right with other people. 

Healing: our choice?

Glasses of water

Continuing the series on Kingdom skills–inner healing

There are some interesting verses in Proverbs 15.  Verse 13 says, “A glad heart makes a
happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit.”  And verse 15 says, “For the despondent, every day brings
trouble; for the happy heart, life is a continual feast.”

The implication, especially from verse 15, is that people
have a choice as to the kind of heart that they have.  They can choose to see the glass half full or half
empty.  If their internal choice is
to have “an afflicted heart” as the older versions say, it doesn’t matter what
we pray about, nothing will change. 
But if they choose “a merry heart,” then our prayers for them make a

I remember praying over a person with epilepsy over a period
of several months.  Healing didn’t
happen for her because her epilepsy was something she could hide behind,
something that brought her attention. 
However, when she changed her attitude, and following prayer by someone
else, she was completely healed. 
She told us about the difference changing her attitude made.

Some people choose to be unhappy.  It gives them significance and draws attention to them.  That attitude has to change in someone if we want to see transformation in their lives.

Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda, “Do you want to
be made whole?”


A physician’s perspective

In a former life back in the UK, I was a physician. Patients would come to me with various physical problems. I would take a history of their symptoms, examine them and make a provisional diagnosis that I would confirm if necessary with diagnostic tests, and then treat whatever condition I had diagnosed. The treatment depended on the diagnosis. For example, upper abdominal pain can be caused by anything from gall bladder problems to gastric conditions, or even a heart attack. The treatment for each is totally different. The correct diagnosis is essential if the patient is to recover.
It is similar with inner healing. For example, someone may feel depressed. For someone in the mental health field, depression is a diagnosis that is usually treated with anti-depressants. But viewed from a spiritual perspective, depression is a symptom that has some kind of spiritual root. It may be due to some event that happened in childhood, a sin that has not been dealt with etc.
Over the years as I counseled with many people, and as I searched the Scriptures, I discovered the causes of most problems fit into just a few general categories. Once aware of those categories, it is easy determine the cause or causes.
In the next few posts, I will examine these in more detail.

Where do our problems come from?


Like it or not, we were born into a world at war. As we might say in England, "Satan does not play cricket by the rule book!" In other words, he doesn't play fair.  He is an opportunist, taking every opportunity he can to gain a foothold in our lives.

A paraphrase of John 10:10 says, "The thief has come to steal and kill and destroy.  I (Jesus) have come that you might have life more abundantly."  Satan loves to steal from us.  He seeks to steal our joy, giving us depression. He tries to steal our peace, giving us fear and anxiety, and so on.  

Satan needs a legal right in order to gain a foothold in our lives.  We sometimes unwittingly give him that right, or maybe we were defenceless at the time.  For example, a child who is the victim of abuse may have horrendous problems, but they were not to blame for what happened to them.

Thankfully, Jesus has made provision for all these things to be dealt with through his victory over death on the cross.

Jesus heals the inner person

Jesus defined his ministry in Luke 4:16-18:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord's favor has come.

Jesus came to help those who were poor and oppressed.  Everywhere he went he healed people (Matthew 8).  He didn't just heal people physically, but spiritually too.  Matthew 8:16-17 describes how Jesus healed those who were demon possessed and healed the sick to fulfill the saying of the prophet Isaiah, "He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases."  However, if you look at Isaiah 53:4, the passage that Matthew translates as sicknesses and diseases, it says, Yet is was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down.

Many people's problems are not physical but emotional, spiritual or psychological.  Can Jesus heal these problems too?  Of course.  "Inner healing" is the name usually given to this. (Over the years, some have called it healing of the memories.)  

Part of my study into this area looked at how we view man.  Usually the terms, spirit, soul and body are used.  People often quote Scriptures such as 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless…) to verify this, and indeed this concept is a very helpful tool.  But most commonly, the Bible just refers to the inner man and outer man. Other words are usually used for the inner man, such as heart or spirit (eg Daniel 7:15, 1 Corinthians 6:20).  

The outer man is obvious.  The inner man consists of the soul (mind, emotions, will etc) and spirit.  The Bible itself says that it is difficult to distinguish between the soul and spirit–in fact it takes the word of God to do so (Hebrews 4:12).  

Jesus heals the inner man–hence, for want of better terminology I will use the term "inner healing" to describe the process that happens when Jesus heals the inner person.

A change of topic: Can Jesus deal with the past?

A few months ago, I asked people which topic they would prefer, "inner healing" or church planting.  The majority chose church planting, but a significant number asked me to cover healing.  So I'm taking a break from topics specifically related to church, and will be looking at inner healing for the next few posts.

Part of the reason for this is that most people, when they were in legacy church, left praying about the problems people faced in life to the pastor or other full-time professional minister. But there are some key skills that are useful for church planters.  (Note: if you are inexperienced in praying with people, find someone who has prayed for others with the kind of problem you are dealing with to work with you.)


I'll never forget the glare that Jenny gave me.

"Incest was the name of the game!" she said.

Tony and I had been married for only a year or two, and Jenny was staying with us because she was depressed. Then we discovered that every day she was swallowing bottles of cough medicine, which in those days contained opiates.  We asked her why, and that was the answer she gave us.

The story came out.  From the age of about 6 through 10, Jenny had been repeatedly raped by an uncle. And we had no answers for her.  We knew that in theory, Jesus could set her free and heal her, but we just didn't have the tools.  This led us on a search to find out how we could help Jenny, and others like her.

At that stage we were living in a very socially depressed area of London.  It has since become gentrified, but in those days every kind of problem ended up there.  Jenny was fairly typical of the sort of thing we encountered on a daily basis.

Our first clues came when we heard a friend of ours, a family doctor like ourselves, talk about something he called "inner healing."  And sure enough, it worked.  We found many people helped by the principles we began to understand.  A few years into this, a book came out, very scathing about the subject, claiming it was a new age practice.  I was troubled, not wanting to be a practitioner of something dubious.  So for the next two years I studied the subject, reading the Bible right through and making extensive notes. 

The next few posts will talk about what I discovered. 

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