Recently I read a book entitled “Courage To The Healed” by Mark Rutland. The book describes how true inner healing happens through the power of the Holy Spirit and Christian counseling. He shares stories from counselors and clients of how people faced things from their past and learned to let go of bitterness to find healing.
Rutland deals with five toxins that affect our lives along with the pathway to deal with each one. Every toxin has a throne that needs specific therapy to reach the goal. Here is a chart that shows this.
We have a Wonderful Counselor who wants us healed and whole. Here is my summary of each one of the toxins and how we can recover from each one.
The Toxin of Shame
Dr. Rutland offers an example of a young boy who was raped when he was fourteen. He had lived a life suppressing his shame, and it was affecting his work and his marriage. Shame leaves unworthiness in its wake. He describes shame as the most destructive of all negative emotional forces. There are two principal reactions in lives wounded by shame. The first is a defeatist attitude; the other response is combativeness.
Shame lies to us; thus, its throne is deception. As long the sufferer believes the lie, shame is strengthened. What is needed is truth. Truth is what unseats deception and helps heal us from the toxin of shame. Once deception is unseated, the goal is to integrate our lives. Shame causes us to compartmentalize, which fractures our lives in the process. The contents of each compartment are not always consistent. The goal is integration, so we have whole lives, not multiple inconsistent compartments.
The Toxin of Unforgiveness
Unforgiveness is seated in legalism. He defines legalism as “a worldview that sees all life’s outcomes as a product of cause and effect, of if-then propositions.” You can be legalistic about anything. It is not just rooted in religion. All unforgiveness is seated in the sense of justice, and all justice is seated in law.
The therapy that is needed is grace. Receiving grace and granting grace destroys legalism. He tells us that grace lets God run the universe His way. Grace wants sinners to be healed, not destroyed. God is more concerned with people than law. Learning that forgiveness happens solely in the offended is a huge step in overcoming this toxin. My forgiveness does nothing for those I forgive. It heals me.
The Toxin of Rejection
Rejection is seated in doubt. Some doubts are inflicted while others are inborn. Rejection is more than being left out. It becomes a conviction. Rejection is a question, not a statement, and that question is, What is wrong with me? Doubt is the throne of rejection. Doubt gets its power from a lie, and that lie is, “something is wrong with and unlovable about me.
The therapy is trust. Rejection is a slow, long-term wound. Therefore the healing process of trust can take time. The healing is necessary because wounded humanity wounds wounded humanity. The goal is to learn acceptance. Learn to trust the character of God, and He accepts us. We must realize that we are acceptable. No one can reject someone whom God has accepted.
The Toxin of Condemnation
Rutland states that “Condemnation is a powerful inner wound. Self-loathing, even self-destructive impulses, are rooted in condemnation.” The cycle is reinforced by idolatry. We believe that our wound is bigger than God or bigger than what God can heal. Our wound becomes our idol. Condemnation is a toxic kind of idolatry that puts the way I feel or believe ahead of what God says.
The therapy for condemnation is worship. Worship restores perspective. By restoring perception, a worshipping life becomes a more balanced life. He mentions three aspects of worship that can be life-changing: gratitude, humility, and other-centered living. Worship is by definition other-centered, or, more precisely, Other-centered. One of the counselors in the book says, “Worship doesn’t rid the world of idiots. It heals the people who need to learn how to live constructively in a world full of idiots.”
The Toxin of Fear
Fear is seated in pain. He says that future pain, dreaded pain, finds its horror in either memory or imagination or both. The interesting thing about pain is that we cannot remember how it felt when it was happening. We cannot forget the hurt. But fear does not always flow out of pain. Sometimes it flows out of our imagination. Many of our fears are nothing more than our imagination leaving us debilitated.
The therapy is love. Love heals painful memories where fear is anchored. This is not just any love, but perfect love. Fear attaches itself to our lives. Love is what casts it out. When fear is cast out, hope can blossom. Hope is like springtime at the end of winter. Without hope, despair sets in, and we become less resistant to the struggles of life. Rutland reminds us that “the truth that heals our fears is not the end of pain. There is pain in life; it is true. Pain-free living is a false hope. It is not the end of pain that sets me free. What sets me free is love that casts out fear.”
If you are struggling with any of these issues, I highly recommend “Courage To Be Healed” as a part of your healing journey. Don’t fall into the trap of believing that life is good, but God is hard. Life is hard. Sometimes even painful. But God is good, and we can trust Him.