Inner Healing: Who Needs It?
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows ... . He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5
As we have seen, “griefs” and “sorrows,” especially the ones suffered in our childhood years, damage us emotionally and can prevent us from becoming the people God has created us to be. The bad fruit that develops from these childhood hurts includes unforgiveness, bitterness, insecurity, wrong attitudes, sexual sins and various emotional problems. In the atonement, Jesus has taken these deep hurts, sorrows and griefs of the past and has purchased both physical and inner healing for us through His shed blood. The purpose of the inner healing ministry is to set us free from the results of such abuse and rejection and to enable us to enjoy fulfilling, victorious lives. Through inner healing, we are liberated from being victims of the past, and are able to become “more than conquerors” in Christ.
From God’s dealings in my own life, and from our experience in ministering to thousands of Christians for more than two decades, Pattie and I have learned many new things about the inner healing ministry. What we have found in the Body of Christ in general has surprised us.
All of Us Need Inner Healing
All of us need a great deal of inner healing. Wounded and hurting Christians need far more inner healing than I originally believed necessary. Many Christians have a reservoir of unhealed hurts and hidden rage. This may even include those who have already received much inner healing. All of us need to know how to receive inner healing and deliverance on a continuing basis. This is a lifetime undertaking, part of the continual work of inner sanctification, of the process of being conformed to the image of Christ.
Pastors, deacons and even well-known Christian leaders fall into sexual and financial sins (and it happens everywhere in the world and in every denomination). Many of them desperately desire help, but they don’t know where to go to get that help. It is surprising how many Christian leaders don’t even know that inner healing exists.
Living in Denial
Others who know about the inner healing ministry but refuse to seek it for themselves are simply denying that they need help. The truth is that few of us want to face our need for such healing and perhaps even deliverance. We prefer to hide from God and from ourselves. The very thought of being needy can be frightening to us. We like to feel that we pretty much “have it together” and are in control of our lives. The denied problems of rejection, insecurity, rage, lust, depression, self-hatred, dishonesty and addictions therefore go underground, only to surface later in destructive ways.
Such denial can eventually lead to emotional ruin of various kinds: broken marriages, deeply wounded children and destroyed ministries. Jesus is ready to set us free from all emotional hang-ups and paralyzing memories of the past.
What does it mean when we say that people are “living in denial”? It means that they are unwilling to face the painful truth about themselves or that they are minimizing serious problems. The refusal to acknowledge a serious drinking habit, an out-of-control eating habit or a sinful thought-life are common examples of denial. Not wanting to admit that we have a bad attitude, negativity, self-righteousness or pride are others. We consider our criticism of others as righteous indignation, not sinful judging. We refuse to see that we have a serious problem with unforgiveness, with jealousy, or with selfishness. We deny that our problems are being caused by us. We blame others, circumstances, our parents and even God, but refuse to accept any responsibility ourselves.
I am speaking from experience, for I have been guilty of much of the above. We are all guilty of this, and usually to a great degree. It is our nature to deny our need. The Bible declares:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? Jeremiah 17:9
None of us can know his own heart without a revelation from the Holy Spirit. The Lord is willing and eager to show us our hearts, but we must cooperate with Him. He will reveal to us the dark areas, the sins, the negative mind-sets, the traditions of man, and the weaknesses that need to be cleansed, changed and removed. He tells us:
I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings. Jeremiah 17:10
I can teach on denial because I experienced it. It took me many years to be able to admit the painful truth that my father never told me he loved me and seldom hugged me. Since then, I have spent hours in prayer being freed from this painful rejection. With the inner healing I experienced as a result, I have moved into a whole new place of peace and joy, and I have developed a more intimate relationship with God and with others.
My Extensive Anger List
Some years ago while I was teaching about the enormous amount of unforgiveness and buried anger every person has, God gave me a surprising revelation. Like most Christians, I thought I had already forgiven everyone. I was sure that hidden anger was no problem in my own life. The Spirit of God, however, had a different idea about how anger-free I was. He showed me twenty-one different people against whom I still had unforgiveness and resentment. Some of this resentment went back twenty to forty years. I had mentally forgiven most of these people, but God requires heart forgiveness.
When the Lord revealed this, I had a long prayer session, and one by one God set me free from my unforgiveness toward each of the twenty-one people. This experience brought a wonderful new peace into my life. We all need inner healing.
The Prevalent Spirit of Lust
To my astonishment, I have found that anywhere from seventy-five to ninety-five percent of all Christian men and perhaps as many as fifty percent of all Christian women need deliverance from the evil spirit of lust. Such spirits attack the thought-life of the believer and often lead them into pornography and other forms of immorality.
Once when I was teaching a Sunday school class of thirty born-again Christian men, twenty-seven of them confessed to having a substantial problem with lustful thoughts, and three or four of them confessed that these lustful thoughts plagued them throughout the day everyday. Only one or two of those men knew how to get victory.
In a marriage seminar that we held, eight of the ten men present expressed their need for deliverance from a spirit of lust.
In both of these groups, the men repented and asked God to deliver them. I prayed for them, and they were set free from lust. They reported feeling a great change within, and it became much easier to avoid lustful thoughts after that.
In an overseas meeting that Pattie and I conducted, fifteen pastors and leaders expressed a desire for deliverance from a spirit of lust. These pastors repented, and through the power of the Holy Spirit, God delivered each one of them.
We Must Change
We usually blame others and outward circumstances for the difficulties and disappointments in our lives and even for our personal failures. We must be courageous and recognize that we are the ones who need to change, not others. We are called to be more than conquerors through Christ Jesus, and it is inward change — being conformed to the image of Christ — that will lead us to a life of victory and joy. If we continue to deny the truth of our need to change, we prevent God from transforming us into His image. We reject the very thing that will bring healing and fulfillment into our lives.
Even if you have received much inner healing and deliverance from the Lord, you almost certainly need much more. Here are some signs indicating such need:
1. You were not hugged, cuddled, embraced or told verbally that you were loved by one or both of your parents.
2. As a child, you were abused mentally, emotionally or sexually. This includes abuse through religious legalism. It also includes having to earn love and not receiving it unconditionally.
3. You had a one-parent family, alcoholic parent(s) or the divorce of your parents during your childhood.
4. You have had a painful teenage period or marriage(s.)
5. You have one or more compulsions or addictions to things such as alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, work, sexual fantasies, rage, soap operas or overspending.
6. You have many negative, critical, jealous or fearful thoughts, or you have a habit of boasting or putting others down verbally.
7. You have many lustful thoughts or habits.
8. You have undergone one or more abortions.
9. You experience rebellion against authority figures.
10. You suffer from constant marital problems.
11. You experience much stress in your life.
12. You easily lose your temper with loved ones (or others). This may be the tip of the iceberg of much underlying pain, fear, rage and insecurity.
13. You experience feelings of inferiority, depression or sadness. Also, there is a lack of peace and joy in your life.
14. You exhibit dishonesty, lying or exaggeration.
15. You were involved in the occult before salvation. Even if you have had much deliverance, you will need not only more deliverance, but also inner healing, cleansing and, probably, further breaking of the generational curse of occultism.
If any of these sound like you, God wants to heal you on the inside — to change you, to set you free. Be courageous, and come out of your hiding. Be determined to leave your state of denial and face truth so that God might set you free in deep and mighty ways.
Did You Really Have a Good Childhood?
You may insist that you had a perfectly wonderful childhood, but tell me, “How often did your father hug you? How often did he sit you on his lap and tell you he loved you? The answer in my own life, and perhaps in yours as well, is “never” or “not very often.”
How about your mother? Did she hug you or tell you she loved you often? You answer may be, “We just weren’t that kind of family!” A lack of hearing those heartfelt words “I love you” and experiencing frequent hugs and kisses from your parents has had a tremendous negative effect on your life whether you have realized this before or not.
Because your parents provided you food and clothing, and they didn’t abuse you physically, you may have thought you had a good childhood. However, if you were not hugged and frequently told you were loved, there is a great emotional wound within you, an emotional vacuum. This causes suppressed emotions and inner rage. You need to be healed from this wound and delivered from the rage within. Jesus will fill up that empty place in your heart with His love.
The Trauma of the Teen Years and Its Aftermath
The teenage period is a time of questioning and experimentation. During this time, many young people investigate the supernatural. Unfortunately, it is usually the occult instead of the supernatural working of the Holy Spirit, as most teens are not aware that godly supernatural gifts even exist. Many teenagers get involved with Eastern religions, use ouïja boards, study horoscopes and astrology, have seances or visit palm readers. Such involvement opens these young people up to evil spirits that can plague them for the rest of their lives unless they are deeply ministered to through inner healing and deliverance.
During the teenage years, people make many wrong choices, and this brings about trauma and emotional pain from which some never fully recover. When teenagers experiment with sex, they forge a negative bonding to their sex partners, damage their emotions and harden their conscience to sin. Their hearts are fragmented and torn. Such sexual experiences negatively influence a person’s thought-life.
If this describes you, and you are now married, most likely it has been difficult for you to bond deeply with your marriage partner. The more sexual affairs you had in the past, the harder it is for you to have the close bonding desired with your spouse. It is like a piece of adhesive tape: each time you use it, it loses some of its ability to stick. When you lose your ability to stick emotionally to our marriage partner, you subconsciously find yourselves looking around for others to love. The soul ties that develop from these premarital sexual partners need to be broken, your damaged, fragmented soul needs to be healed, and you need to be set free from guilt feelings and shame.
The Bible tells us that “two become one” in marriage. In the sexual relationship, married or not, you become one with your partner. During sexual union, evil spirits from one partner are transferred to the other. We need deliverance from these evil spirits.
Damage From Extended Grief Over
the Death of Loved Ones
The death of key people in your life results in deep emotional pain. When a loved one dies, our society discourages us from properly grieving. Tears of grief, that might normally continue for weeks or even months, bother those around us. Yet such tears (unless carried on for too long) are necessary for our mental and emotional health. The vast majority of us have not cried nearly enough for the death of our loved ones. Therefore, much of the grief and emotional pain remains. This produces many negative side effects in your life, including stress, arthritis, hidden resentment, depression and even negative soul ties with your deceased loved ones.
Damage From Verbal Abuse in Childhood
When we were small children, we believed whatever our parents told us. They were like God to us. Children are wounded deeply when their parents speak negative words like “You’re stupid,” “You’re no good,” or “You will never amount to much.” Those negative words become established in one’s heart and become a curse upon one’s life. If the curse of such words is not broken, it will hinder you greatly throughout the entire course of your life.
At first, you may be succeeding at your job, in your business, in your marriage, or in your ministry, but for some reason you repeatedly do something that causes you to fail. This curse needs to be broken through inner healing and deliverance. As we shall see, you also need to start substituting words of faith for the negative statements that have dominated your life until now. Your mind must be changed, renewed by the Word of God, changed to see things the way God sees them.
Damage From Sexual Abuse in Childhood
Abuse can be mental, emotional or physical. Statistics show that about one out of four girls and a high percentage of boys under the age of ten have been abused sexually. The abuse is usually carried out by one of their own family members, a friend of the family, or a neighbor. As they become adults, those who have suffered such abuse critically need inner healing if they are to be free to function as emotionally healthy adults.
Sexual abuse marks one as a victim and, like a powerful magnet, draws further abuse into one’s life. A girl who has been sexually abused in the early years will often be abused or even raped as a teenager. There seems to be a sign over such children identifying them as potential victims. This can be explained. Through the process of transference from the abuser, this child has received a seducing spirit and a spirit of lust. He or she is usually unaware of having such a spirit, but this evil spirit draws, or seduces, abusers or rapists.
Let us put names to some of these needs in order to personalize the need for inner healing:
Anne: Sexually Abused by Her Brothers
Anne was sexually abused by her two brothers when she was a child, and she was raped in her early teen years. Then she went through two physically abusive marriages. As Pattie and I ministered inner healing to her, she sobbed deeply. We broke the soul ties with her abusers and prayed deliverance over her from various spirits.
She was able to deeply forgive her two brothers and her two ex-husbands for the first time. There was a marvelous change in her life. All bitterness, shame and self-pity departed. She glowed all over, filled with the peace and love of God. This is what the Lord does for His children through inner healing, and He will do it for you too.
Fred: Unloved by His Parents
Fred was raised on a dairy farm. He had good, moral, hard-working parents, who provided him with a stable home, delicious farm-cooked meals, fine clothing and a good education. He thought he had a near-perfect childhood and didn’t understand why his emotions were so imprisoned, so suppressed. This is typical of many of us. Fred had suffered, as so many have, the childhood abuse of not having been held in his parents’ arms and of not having been verbally told he was loved.
As we ministered inner healing to Fred, one by one his emotional walls began to crumble, and his suppressed emotions, including rage, began to be released. He was able to forgive his parents, and he began to come alive. You may need the same release.
Helen: Traumatized by Her Husband’s Infidelity
Eight years previously, Helen’s husband had torn her heart through an affair with another woman. He had sincerely and deeply repented, and it was apparent that he loved Helen, and she loved him. She tried to forgive him again and again, but her pain was so deep that when they would come together in the marriage bed, she could not bring herself to give herself physically to him. “Will you pray for me,” she pleaded, “to be set free from those thoughts of what my husband did eight years ago so that I can have a normal marriage?”
I got ready to lay my hands on her head, but the Holy Spirit stopped me. “Don’t pray for the relationship with her husband now,” the Lord showed me. “Pray for Helen’s relationship with her father, for that is the root of the problem.”
I prayed for Helen to be healed of the deep hurts she had suffered through her father’s rejection. She was able to fully forgive him, to appreciate him, even to love him. Having been set free of unforgiveness toward her father, she was then able to deeply forgive her husband for his unfaithfulness, and her marriage was healed. From that day, Helen was also free to love and trust her husband, and even to trust God more deeply. When she and her husband left, they looked like honeymooners.
Any person who has marriage problems, insecurity, rage, lust, depression, stress, self-hatred, fears, negativity, dishonesty or addictions is in need of inner healing and/or deliverance. Preachers and evangelists who desire to preach with brokenness and compassion are in need of inner healing and/or deliverance. All those who desire to be more intimate with God and more intimate, vulnerable and transparent with their loved ones and with others are in need of inner healing and/or deliverance. I need it; you need it; we all need it.
The chapters that follow will reveal how easily and quickly you can receive inner healing and, through it, become the person God has created you to be. I challenge you to Laugh and Cry Your Way to Freedom and be Changed Into His Image Through Inner Healing.