Monday, June 3, 2013

The Dangers of Doctrine Becoming Our Identity Instead of Jesus

Before I was saved, since I was sick I used to be very involved in the natural health, chronic illness communities. I used to be the one researching theories, coming up with ideas and trying out different treatment options. I knowingly and willingly made myself a guinea pig in hopes to finding something that may work for all of us.

Over the years I began noticing that people would almost immediately invest their personal identity into a diet, supplement regimen, treatment plan or even a doctor. Other followers would jump on the bandwagon and invest their personal identity in it as well.

When someone came to the group and told them they weren't getting better (or in some cases getting worse), instead of the group having compassion and saying  "I'm sorry this didn't work for you", it became about protecting the doctrine. The blame was always thrown to the sick person and all attention was made on what the sick person did not do right.

"Well you must not have done the diet right"
"I bet your veggies weren't organic"
 "You probably used the wrong form of B12"

They would throw out catch phrases like.

"Everyone sees results".
"Sometimes you get worse before you get better".

Others in the groups learned to regurgitate this and the cycle began over and over again. I have been guilty of this.

I'm seeing this same thing in the church when it comes to grace and healing doctrine. Now in this post I'm going to talk solely on healing.

Jesus is a Healer. No Doubt
One thing I want to make clear is that I believe Jesus is a healer. I believe that if Jesus touched you or me right now, we would be healed of all illnesses. POTS, CFS, blindness, lasting effects from a stroke, MS, arthritis, kidney disease and more. This is demonstrated many times throughout the Bible and throughout the ministry and life of Jesus.

As we look at different healing ministries, we can see that each have their own way of ministering healing prayer. I'm not even going to go into the specifics on those ways in this post.

Similar to the health communities, most churches or ministries set out some sort of plan for you to follow when seeking healing through Jesus. You are to believe in it, act on it and then be healed.

After you've tried the plan or done exactly what it calls for, if you are still not healed and you try to seek help, you will find the church in general is NOT very helpful or encouraging. [This has been my experience.] Immediately the sick person is put in a defensive position because what comes afterward is usually an onslaught of attacks of your character and faith.

"Well you can't possibly have done it all".
"You must have some doubts you don't want to admit to".
"Maybe there's some sin in your life that you just won't let go".
"You don't really believe in your heart Jesus is a healer."
"You probably haven't repented for something you've done".

The church believes if the sick wasn't healed by their approved doctrine, then something is wrong with that sick person. You are labeled as broken and then written off. 

Being a sick person in the church, especially in a church that believes in healing, it is a tough place to be. People become offended at you, simply because you are sick. They see you with sickness and immediately their personal doctrine of healing is attacked. You don't even have to say anything or even do anything...haha! People just become uncomfortable around you especially if you have limitations that are visible on the outside. If you have an invisible illness, you will just be ignored.

As I read online, many sick people are becoming jaded, bitter and completely giving up on getting prayer. Some have completely given up on Jesus being a healer and or have given up on believing in God!

It hurts me when I see people in this place, but I understand why they have come to that point.

When you get prayer from someone and nothing happens, it can be devastating when your healing is focused on man and on a teaching method. You are at a weak place and are looking for anything to comfort you. Unfortunately in those moments, the enemy is also there waiting to destroy you. Sometimes a misguided friend, minister or person at a church will speak lies to you from the enemy, which may be an attempt to shipwreck your journey with the Lord.  

"You must have some secret doubt about healing."
"You're faith is not sufficient for healing"
"You need to read this guy's teaching on healing!"
"Maybe you don't really want to be healed"
"You've made your sickness, your identity. That's the problem!"

If someone has said any of those things to you, I'm sorry that happened! However know that those words spoken to you were not from God.  The enemy can speak to us through other people. He tries to hurt you when you are down and he tries to hurt you when you are making progress too. He just wants to hurt you, period. The enemy will do whatever it takes to get you mad at God and away from seeking a closer relationship with Him!

Sick People Have to Ignore the Mean/Misguided Comments
Sadly the church is not walking in the same love as Jesus. Many people are trying, but we make a lot of mistakes and we say a lot of stupid things to sick people. Many don't believe you can be sick and believe in Jesus as a healer, so they will immediately attack your belief systems. Many don't believe you can be in the will of God for your life and be sick. Many don't believe that God may ask us to walk a journey with Him towards healing, so they say misguided and wrong things that are not true.

I have had my beliefs questioned almost at every healing meeting I've been to and these were from ministers who would deny that they do this to the sick. Who these ministers are in person is very different than what they show online in their videos and in their teachings. The sick must not let these ministers and their followers walk over them like a doormat. Be firm with your beliefs and stand mighty with God. It's important to truly know our identity in Christ and not just know the catchphrases and buzzwords. That way when someone says something dumb to you, you can just laugh it off and move on.

I've even seen people try to boast in the number of people they've seen healed. This only makes the sick person feel even worse because now you are not only telling the sick, something is wrong with them spiritually, you are also boasting.

"Well I've seen hundreds healed".
"Oh well I've seen several thousand healed"
"I see 90% of sick people healed" (You can usually prove this wrong in a single meeting)

As a sick person seeking healing, you have to learn to ignore these people who are in spiritual pride and to find those who have a balanced view of Jesus Christ as healing. You must find those who are encouraging, loving, kind and compassionate. There are people out there who don't blame the sick, but I admit, it is nearly impossible to find them. My advice is always keep seeking God for healing. Don't ever give up, no matter how long it takes and no matter how many prayers it takes. (Authors Edit: Since writing this post in 2013, I no longer go to meetings and get prayer from people because of the abuse I suffered. In Sept of 2013, the Lord called me out of that rat race and told me to get my eyes off of men and to look directly to Him. We obeyed the Lord in this. My husband and I still pray for each other and we continue to seek the Lord from our house, but we rarely if ever go to meetings).

The Church Is Abusing the Sick and Hurting
We tend to beat up the very people in our church coming for help, so it's no wonder the general public refuse to believe in healing and think it's a bunch of con artists. I have found many exaggerate their testimonies, inflate the number or percentage of people they have seen healed and generally blow things out of proportion to make themselves look good. This is all at the detriment of those who are truly suffering and sick.

The church as a whole says such awful things to sick people. You'll be told to read some guy's book, watch this video, go to this conference, but very rarely will you see people offer love, hope, encouragement or any real path for the sick to continue believing for their healing. We teach revelation and knowledge as a means to be healed instead of faith in Jesus Christ.

In the same way that people can make their health theories, sports or politics part of their identity, many have made their favorite healing ministers with their many "revelations" on healing a part of their identity too. For many people it actually ceases being about trusting Jesus and becomes about preaching some doctrine or revelation at whatever cost, no matter who it hurts. Our walks with the Lord are not a regimen like we see in the natural health communities. It is a faith walk that has risks, unknowns and where we are out of control. That means we won't always have perfect answers or have all the loose ends tied.  It's not a 10 step program. It is about knowing your identity through Christ and building your life around that foundation. It's about learning what it means to surrender our will to the Lord and letting His will become more important than what we want in our lives.

When we treat the sick inappropriately or say hurtful things, it directly affects how the sick perceive their Heavenly Father.

Instead of us representing God as good, loving, faithful and caring, many healing ministries are actually representing God as a jerk who is just waiting for us to meet some magical level of faith or revelation that's required to be healed.

It's important to remember throughout this journey that being healed is not the way we know that God loves us or cares about us. If it requires us being healed to know the love, kindness and goodness of God, then that is an unstable foundation that will likely be tested. We see the love of God that He sent His Son Jesus Christ, who then willing sacrificed and suffered for each of us on the cross.

Jesus is the perfect example of how we are to live our lives and minister to others. He was humble, bold, fiercely passionate and yet gentle towards the hurting and rejected. The church are to act as ambassadors of Christ, speaking to HIS people and pleading with them on God's behalf to be reconciled to Him. Whenever our own motives start getting in the way, it becomes more about "doctrine" instead of about Jesus and what he did. Then is when we get into big trouble and can lead people to destructive teachings.

When we tell sick, hurting people inaccurate healing theologies, we are in fact pushing people away from God and setting them up to be disappointed.

Most sick people aren't solid in their relationship with God, so ministers should be building them up in that instead of questioning those areas. I've read countless posts on Facebook and on blogs of people who at one time were seeking prayer for healing and gave up after friends, ministers and people in their church told them how effortless and easy it was to receive healing, only to be disappointed time and time again. Their hope and faith were completely stolen from them and many went to just give up on healing altogether because it was a harder journey than they were prepared to walk.

A Healing Ministry Is About Compassion for the Sick
Praying for healing has never been about us or our ministry. It is about the love of God and wanting to set people free and God wanting to see His children healed. God does not heal because our doctrine is right or because the sick person has"perfect doctrine". We need to take the burden off the sick people. Jesus being a healer is supposed to be good news. Not bad news!

I feel we have placed such a huge burden on sick people and have forgotten about the love and compassion that Jesus had for all. We seem to remember Jesus flipped over tables and yelled at the Pharisees, but we forget that he is also the same person who would go out of his way to help others.  Jesus was looking to rest and pray after hearing John the Baptist was killed, but when he saw the sick, brokenhearted people coming towards him, he was moved with compassion! Instead he went out to help those people in need and even stayed to feed them. This is where the miracle of feeding 5000 took place. Matthew 14

We have so much hurt and frustration in our own hearts about the disappointments we have seen in life, that we can't clearly see to comfort or understand others when they are hurting.

Colossians 3:1-4

1 Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth. 3 For you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.

Let's just be more careful with the way we say things to each other. An unbalanced view of healing can be extremely detrimental to the sick and when these teachings become part of our identity, not only do we hurt ourselves, but also every single sick person we come in contact with.

We have to keep praying and keep an open ear for the Holy Spirit to guide us as we do. Sometimes the Holy Spirit may tell us things we don't want to hear. That was certainly the case with my husband and I when the Lord told us to "wait" for our healing. Perhaps some of the frustration that ministers and sick people have is because we refuse to accept what the Lord is telling us?

If you've been seeking prayer for healing, please comment!! Those who have been rejected by others, please email me. I want to keep in touch with you to encourage you to keep moving forward. Take care. God Bless!

Updated 2016- My beliefs have changed drastically over the last few years, so I decided to clean this article up. Thank you Jesus that you opened my eyes to the unstable foundations I had built my house upon and have now corrected my path.

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