We can all list physical healings Jesus did in the gospels ranging from blind eyes opened to the lame walking, but can you name a single healing of a person’s emotional wounds?
Is there any place in the gospels where Jesus laid His hand on someone and said something like ‘Be healed of your emotional pain caused by your father dying when you were 10 years old’? Is there any example listed when we read multitudes were healed and demons were cast out that says ‘and emotions were healed too’?
No, there isn’t. Millions of believers are stuck in emotional quicksand, unable to move on in life, unable to extricate themselves from the emotional pain and memories that pull them down and suck them into emotional darkness. They await the next teaching that will provide answers, the next prophet to lay hands on them to make it all go away, the next deliverance ministry to cast out shadows of the past, the next possible key to unlocking the door to the healing of their emotional wounds.
And so they tread the spiritual water, barely staying afloat, often overwhelmed with the feeling something is wrong with them, that they are damaged goods, that if they could just get healed of this past trauma they could be all they are called to be in Christ.
There are ministries that offer hope, yet while many help the process it is rare to hear of 100% total healing, and those that claim to be 100% healed emotionally are usually the ones touted on the ministry brochure, similar to a TV weight loss program where they show the biggest success stories…”Lisa B lost 150 pounds (68 kilos) and so can you…”
Millions still long for that one key that opens the door to their healing, that little bit of hidden knowledge that will heal them and set them free so they can move on in God.
So where do we see Jesus healing someone’s emotions in the gospels, or where do we see emotional healing in Acts, or where do we see teaching about it in the letters of the New Testament? Are we just emotional cripples compared to the early church, or did they know something we don’t, perhaps woven throughout the gospels and letters to such a degree there was no need to bring it forth as a singular teaching?
And yet emotional healing is included in the atonement right alongside physical healing
One of the foundational verses for healing is found in Isiah 53:4-5 which says: “He has carried our griefs, and carried our sorrows…the punishment that brings us peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we were healed.”
There is no missing the fact that both emotional and physical healings were part of the work of the cross: Griefs. Sorrows. Peace. Yet where in the gospels do we find Jesus healing someone’s emotions? I assure you He does, and I’ll show you where and how in the gospels and how to receive, for this is what this series is about.
The bruised stem
Another prophecy about the Messiah directly states He will heal emotions, comparing a person in need of emotional healing to a ‘bruised reed’ and a barely lit flame on a lamp. It is Isaiah 42:1-4, and saying in v3-4:
“A bruised reed He will not break. A smoldering wick He will not snuff out. In faithfulness He will bring forth justice; He will not fail nor be discouraged until He has set justice in the earth…”
This is a powerful picture of someone with emotional wounds. We’ve all held a flower or young plant and bent the stem causing a bruise. In appearance at least for awhile, that flower, that leaf, that plant, looks normal, yet because of the bruise in the stem it won’t be able to receive the fullness of the nutrients destined for it.
A bruise is a wound under the surface, in this example emotional, but the picture presented is the same as a bruise on let us say, your arm or leg. Your skin is unbroken just as the skin on the plant stem is unbroken. You can even cover up your bruised arm or leg with clothes so that no one will see the bruise.
Yet below the surface it is ugly and it hurts. It can linger that way for weeks. You protect that bruised area because if someone accidentally hits it or brushes against it, it hurts! And they will have no idea they just hurt you further. That is the same with emotional bruising presented in these verses. An emotional bruise is hidden from view, protected by the person, and if someone inadvertently presses against that emotional wound the reaction to protect and back away is strong.
An emotionally bruised person reacts disproportionate to the situation.
In other words they react much stronger than the situation calls for. A friend may casually laugh at a situation from their childhood, but the emotionally damaged person having had a similar childhood experience, may strike out in anger and tears at the friend….leaving the other person wondering what they said that warranted such a reaction.
A smoking wick
Isaiah also refers to an oil lamp, the oil representing the Holy Spirit, and their light is barely burning. They are so bruised, so wounded emotionally they feel barely alive, barely lit. Like the emotionally bruised person, indeed these are one and the same, they can hide the fact of their injury. They can smile and go about their business while inwardly they are hurting, barely alive, barely able to keep the light lit.
The barely burning wick sees other ‘oil lamps’ burning brightly, the light of God blazing for all to see, yet these people wonder why that same Holy Spirit won’t come and heal them to allow their light to burn brightly. They feel they only have a part of the Holy Spirit, of God, in their lives and they can barely maintain what they have. What is wrong with me, they ask themselves.
This is the condition of someone in need of emotional healing, of someone who is bruised and barely able to keep their light shining. Yet their healing was provided for in the cross – so where do we see it? How were people emotionally healed in the gospels? And that is where we’ll pick it up next week, until then, blessings,