The Healing of Memories
Have you ever remembered a particularly embarrassing moment and noticed that your palms began to sweat, your heart started to race, and your stomach turned over – all as if you were somehow transported in time to that event and it was happening all over again? That is an indication that the pain of a past event still has a grip on your mind and emotions. Sometimes it happens when you think of an “ex-__” or an abusive friend, partner, or relative. Inner healing seeks to identify and sever the grip that such an event or relationship has on you. This is accomplished through prayer.
Inner healing is not counseling. It is not psycho-therapy. You do not need to share what is troubling you with anyone but Jesus. Inner healing gives you tools. It uses imagination, prayer, meditation, and hesychastic breathing techniques to help you avail yourself to God’s healing power.
In the Song of the Suffering Servant (Isaiah 52:13-54:12) Christ is said to bear (i.e. to take upon himself) our shame and sorrows, our sickness and infirmities, and our sin and iniquity. Jesus took the burden of our inner pain with him to the cross. He marched it down to hell and left it there so we would not have to carry that burden ourselves ever again. But many do, either because they are so comfortable with their pain that they cannot let it go, or they have never learned how to release it to Jesus and accept his true freedom.
Many things can block your inner healing.
+ Unforgiveness – Unless you forgive someone who has wronged you, you can never be free of the pain of that injury.
+ Identification – If you identify yourself as a victim, you cannot stand on your own as a victor.
+ Fear – You must be willing to accept the responsibility that comes with freedom.
+ Shame – You feel unworthy of Christ’s forgiveness and healing. Well, you are unworthy, but that doesn’t matter. Christ wants to forgive, heal, and by his worthiness make you worthy to share in the light of the saints in heaven.
Jesus wants to deliver you from fear, shame, and self-destruction. He wants to drive away your darkness with his light. Then you will know the true freedom only Christ can bring.
That you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God, Strengthened with all might, according to the power of his glory, in all patience and longsuffering with joy, Giving thanks to God the Father, who has made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light, Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, In whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins; Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature, For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers, all things were created by him and in him. Colossians 2:10-16 (NDRB)
The Healing of Bitterness
In a fallen world we find ourselves being hurt by others. Sometimes those hurts are so profound, they are hard to forgive. But, unforgiveness only hurts the one who holds the bitterness in their heart. It never hurts the one against whom we hold the grudge.
If we don’t forgive someone who has wronged us, we can never be free of the pain of that injury.
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15
To be forgiven we must forgive as we are forgiven. Forgiveness, and all grace, is like a river. It doesn’t just flow into us; it flows through us. If we don’t allow it to flow through us, we stop the flow. When we stop the flow, grace cannot get in.
The Healing of Control
All of us have been hurt: sometimes by ourselves, sometimes by others. It is easy to imagine that if we could just control those around us, we could prevent any further pain. But, we were not made to be in control of others, and that desire for control becomes a burden too heavy for us to bear. Unable to control our lives, much less the lives of other, we become burdened by worry and anxiety. To be healed, we must give up our desire to be in control of other’s lives, even of our own life. We must give our burden to Jesus.
Give the burden of all your worry and anxiety to the Lord for he cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7
The Healing of False Beliefs
False beliefs lead to bad decisions. False beliefs lead us into bondage and self-destruction.
Sometimes false beliefs about ourselves are pressed upon us by people we loved and trusted who insulted, maligned, or abused us.
Sometimes false beliefs about God have been fed to us by well meaning but uniformed teachers who gave us an image of God as a cosmic dictator who is out to get us. Or, perhaps, a cosmic Santa Claus who drops by every now and then to give us a present. Eventually, those false images fall apart, and atheism starts to make sense.
Healing only comes when we identify and renounce our false beliefs and embrace the Truth Jesus gives us.
You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free. John 8:32
I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. John 14:6
Healing Through Prayer
The following prayer exercises are designed to help you find healing in the life-giving grace of God. They utilize a prayer technique known as imaginative prayer, taught by St. Ignatius Loyola. Sometimes it is more effective to pray with imagination instead of words.
I encourage to do each of the following exercises. Some of them may need to be repeated several times to be applied to specific events or beliefs in your life that have left you in pain or bondage.
Do not seek healing but seek Jesus who is the healer of all hurts and deliverer of all the oppressed.