Healing Our Children and the Child in us
The other day, we picked up a copy of “Faith Today Magazine” and began reading an article on “Counseling, A Christian Growth Industry,” by Bramwell Ryan. He wrote, “People are looking for advice and guidance in dealing with marital problems, addictions, depression, anxiety and a host of aftershocks following abuse.” We agree.
Wherever this new River of God’s presence flows, it creates a deeper hunger for intimacy with God. This hunger is causing believers to become more open to seeking help for problems that might inhibit experiencing that intimacy. The need for ministry training is growing as we see an increase in the number of cases requiring the need for in-depth counseling. While God is our ultimate healer, He allows people to be involved in the process so that we can learn both to receive from and minister to one another through the power of the Holy Spirit.
We believe that every Christian needs to find a place to receive healing where he or she feels safe enough to become open and transparent to a Spirit-led counselor. There are many ministries in the body of Christ today that are meeting these needs. In our experience, we have found that there is no hurt that God is not able to heal or no sin that He is not willing to forgive.
Why Inner Healing?
Why do we experience so much wounding anyway? Why do Christians need inner healing?
Whether we realize it or not, we are often reaping the temporal consequences of generational sin, particularly the sin of judging someone else. Exodus 20:5-6 says, “ For I the Lord your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sins of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” As children growing up, we have often made judgments against those who have hurt us. Often, we are not even aware that we have done so. Instead we begin to experience the bad fruit of these choices.
A child’s self-image is based on all his experiences and relationships.
The scripture says that we will reap and even become what we judge. Paul, in Galatians 6:7 says, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatsoever a man sows, that will he also reap.” This is a spiritual law that affects everyone on this planet whether an individual believes it or not. It works the same as a scientific law such as the law of gravity.
Another sin we often commit is that of failing to honor our parents. Another one of God’s spiritual laws is found in Deuteronomy 5:16. It says, “Honor your father and mother, as the Lord your God has commanded you, so that you may live long and that it may go well with you in the land the Lord your God is giving you.” You say, “But how can I honor a father who has abused me since I was a little child?” It becomes easier as you begin to see the hurting child in your parent, who was often abused as well. No one has had perfect parents, and it often helps to understand that the majority of parents do the best they can on the basis of what they know and have experienced in their own lives.
The Healing Process
In order to begin the healing process, you first need to identify, confess and repent of the judgments you have made against your parents and ask God’s forgiveness. Invite the Holy Spirit to illuminate any painful memories. Sometimes the pain is an indicator that there is a need to give and receive forgiveness.
The next step is choosing to forgive them. Without forgiveness, there can be no healing. 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”
A child’s self-image is based on all his experiences and relationships. When a child’s closest relationships become channels of abuse rather than validation, he internalizes as truths the cruel words spoken to him. These are lies we believe which will eventually affect the decisions we make as adults.
Recently we prayed with a pastor’s wife who allowed us to use this testimony from her own life. Her mother had recently died, and she was unable to grieve the loss normally. She felt little or no grief at all. As the Holy Spirit gently turned His searchlight on her heart, He brought to her mind a painful conversation she had had with her mother over 25 years before. Even though this pastor’s wife had enjoyed a loving relationship with her mother and had highly respected her, her mother would sometimes vent her anger on her daughter.
One moment stood out in her memory. On one particular occasion, the daughter had eagerly told her mother some news she’d heard which involved her mother’s finances; but rather than listen to the idea, her mother had attacked her motives, lashing out at her accusing her of wanting her money. The wounding word penetrated deeply into her soul. She cried about it later, but said nothing to her mother and even thought she had forgiven her for her remark. Now under the Holy Spirit’s searchlight, she remembered with pain her mother’s unkind words.
We led this pastor’s wife in a prayer of forgiveness asking her to name the incident and specifically forgive her mother. In return, we declared the body of Christ’s forgiveness to the daughter as well for subconsciously holding bitterness. Forgiving this one incident unlocked a train of other painful memories not only involving her mother but others as well. A look of relief and a sense of freedom began to creep across her face as she forgave each one. For the first time in years, she was finally able to feel the forgiveness of God.
Stopping the Attack Before It Begins
We have seen God bring freedom to many who were affected by negative experiences even before they were born or during the birth experience.
Another area where we are seeing breakthroughs is in ministering to those who have suffered from the time they were in their mother’s wombs. We are learning that babies in the womb are very aware of the natural as well as the spiritual realms about them. Wouldn’t it be great if they didn’t have to carry all that baggage with them till they are 30, 40 and 50 years old or more?
We have seen God bring freedom to many who were affected by negative experiences even before they were born or during the birth experience. Parents-to-be can learn to begin parenting their children by praying over them and nurturing them with love while they are still growing in the womb. If healthy families are the building blocks of the church, no wonder Satan is working so hard to destroy our families beginning with our marriages and then the children. He has hopes of destroying the future of the church.
Interrupting the Wounding Process
Dr. Pat Morgan, in her book entitled, “How to Raise Children of Destiny”, (Destiny Image Publishers), says, “The key we need in order to unlock the hearts of people today and of future generations lives, eats and sleeps in our own homes. It is our children.” God especially honored, blessed and trusted Abraham who faithfully trained his son in the ways of God passing on the blessing of an intimate relationship with God to Isaac.
Parents, you can do the same. You can further interrupt the wounding process if you take the time to know who is teaching your children and what they are teaching them. If they are not getting Christian education, keep close contact with the schools where they are attending. Many teachers do appreciate it, and it is so important to the welfare of your children.
God’s plan for each one of us is to live emotionally healthy lives and pass generational blessings, not curses, on to our children. As we receive healing and deliverance ourselves, and learn how to appropriate the finished work of the cross, then we will be able to effectively minister to our own children, and they will not have to reap the consequences of repeating the sins of their fathers. Curses do not have to continue generation after generation. God wants to bless His children, including you and yours.