Testimony, Training, & Truth Re: ‘Inner Healing’
Errors of Contemporary Inner Healing Theories
By Nick Conner
(Part I of 3)
The belief that one’s wounds causes his sins is a false belief. It is “calling those things which are not as as though they were.” It is a stronghold. We must cast down strongholds, imaginations and every high thing exalted against the knowledge of God. A stronghold is a deeply entrenched belief which one refuses to recant. Behind the cognitive resistance is a demonic influence. Rebellion, unforgiveness, pride and unbelief are what give the demon access. Those thoughts must be brought captive to the obedience of Christ. Therefore, the person who is held captive by such strongholds resists any correction of his or her error with vehement defensiveness. He will not submit to correction from the Word. His self-pity is self-important pride inverted. He resorts to arguments and rationalizations without scriptural support. His feelings are his facts, not the Word. This resistance is demonic. One will be held by this stronghold until he recants the error which is contrary to the gospel.
Rationalization about sin being caused by wounds or abuse nullifies genuine repentance. One never fully assumes responsibility for sins he or she has committed. We must repent of such victimology. Those who become defensive and argumentative about this topic have an exaggerated sense of importance about themselves and their personal history. It is emotionally driven with an effeminate nurturing model. This is why the preponderance of advocates are females. Processing their history does not free them from it because they do not want to let go of their martyr identity.
Also, the shame-reduction counseling is secular and demonic. Lastly, the guided imagery and prayer over past experiences is actually hypnotherapy. One can tap into very powerful emotions where there was trauma. This is very dangerous because one can suggest memories, such as one’s parents were Satanists and used you as a baby in Satanic rituals. I know of more than one person who believes this, based on a “revelation” while in inner healing sessions. It is completely false memories, and one is violating the commandment to honor mother and father. There is no qualification on this honor. Even where they were wrong I am not entitled to hold on to the offense. One who meditates on his parents sins will repeat them. I am commanded to honor my mother and father even if they behaved dishonorably. Those who blame their parents and rehearse their sins to others do not get healed. In fact, they will cut their lives short. “ Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth” (Ephesians 6:2,3 KJV).
Such victimology therapy is not the gospel. It feeds into the warning, “ This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For MEN SHALL BE LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES, covetous, boasters, PROUD, blasphemers, DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS, UNTHANKFUL, UNHOLY” (II Timothy 3:1,2 KJV).
All of these inner healing techniques, even in a secular setting, provides a rather euphoric relief which can seem to be spiritual. None of these things bring healing. None of it is biblical. We do not see the Lord doing this even with the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, or Mary Magdalene. He never said, “Let’s talk about your abandonment issues with your Daddy”, or, Let’s look at where you were molested and how this led to your committing adultery.” He never said, “Your promiscuity comes from a lack of love in your childhood.”
Christ did come to bind up the brokenhearted. But not through counseling sessions where we talk about how we were wounded. We look to the power of the cross. No one was more innocent or pure than the Son of God. No one was more betrayed, violated and rejected than Him. It is the power of the cross which heals us. The inability to grasp the love of the Father is not because my earthly father abused me or abandoned me. It is because of unbelief and a lack of revelation of the love of God in the cross of Christ. Faith in that revelation and reality overwhelms any history of rejection or abandonment.
I say, this as one who also has a history of abuse and abandonment. I have a sister who blew her brains out at 14. I have another sister one year younger, who went completely insane and was on locked wards for a lifetime. My brother went to prison. Getting through 24 hours was a challenge when we were young. However, my sins were not from my wounds. For me to rehearse the details would be shameful unforgiveness. Yes, it is true, that sexual abuse victims often become promiscuous. However, I cannot blame my abuser for my sins. Healing comes when I repent, and when I forgive those who wronged me. This is the biblical model. Many people who claim the “inner healing” method are never healed. They are always rehearsing their narrative of victimhood, often rationalizing it is “to help others.” It does not help. We do not bring up what we have forgiven. Another common trait among those who are focused on their wounds and their history is that they seldom see where they are abusing others. They are not near as concerned about where they have wounded others as they are about where others have wounded them. While one should not minimize the history of another, there is propensity to keep an open wound by continually focusing on it. Indeed, the wound becomes larger through rumination. They are self-absorbed. Such self-rumination negates healing and disqualifies one from receiving the power of God. We must renounce such self-love which prevents us from honestly repenting and following Christ.
Wounds do not prevent me from walking in love or forgiving the offender. Christ was wounded and marred more than any man. As He hung on the cross in unimaginable pain He said, “Father forgive them.” As Stephen was being stoned to death “he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell asleep” (Acts 7:60). We are taught to pray, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.” The person who clings to the importance of rehearsing their history of abuse is not walking in forgiveness. Such a person always continues to have problems in relationships. He or she is consistently being offended and holding to unforgiveness.
Some of the most whole and victorious believers I know, were subjected to insane abuse. They were extremely broken. How did they get healed? It was not through inner healing counseling. Their victory is in repentance and forgiving their offenders. One would never know or believe they had survived such nightmares.
We are moving forward when we can thank God for His mercy and grace. We are even thankful for our history which helped us to grow and lean on Him. We are moving forward when we weep about our sins more than our wounds. Such repentance toward God and faith in Christ will heal the deepest clinical depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
Our focus must always be on Jesus and following Him according to His Word. Any time we start looking at ourselves and our past, we have taken our eyes off of the Lord.
The Errors of Contemporary Inner Healing Theories
(Part 2 of 3)
The “inner healing” movement does not originate from the gospel but from secular sources and very dark spiritual sources, starting with Agnes Sanford. It was also advocated by Fr. Francis McNutt and Ruth Carter Stapleton (sister of President Jimmy Carter). Inner healing became quite popular in the late sixties and early seventies. This was entirely congruent with the contemporary development of secular psychology theories such as Freudian, Jungian, Rogerian, Gestalt Therapy, and Transactional Analysis. Then in the eighties and nineties there was an emphasis on family systems, family roles, family of origin issues, and boundaries. “Codependency” became a common theme, made most popular by Melodie Beattie’s book, “Codependent No More.” John Bradshaw addressed the topic of “Shame,” based largely upon the theoretical work of Gershan Kaufman and Alice Miller. Then “Shame-reduction” was advocated by such people as Pia Mellody. This was often combined with Rational Emotive Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral therapy, which identified irrational beliefs acquired in childhood. Many of these “tools” and concepts were incorporated into “inner healing” schools. However, people trained in these inner healing schools have no formal training, and often open up traumatic history for which they are not equipped to address. It is more destructive than helpful. It is rather like a person with a GED performing open heart surgery.
The doctrine of “soul ties” is demonic. It is not scriptural. The concept of “soul ties” comes from the concept of “soul mates” and “twin souls.” It is neo-Platonic and Hindu. The underlying belief is that souls are eternal sparks which emit from the Over Soul (or God). “Soul mates” are believed to be a single spark which emitted from the Over Soul and then split into two souls. Therefore, one is looking to be rejoined to his “soul mate” in order to be one whole flame. The doctrine of “soul ties” speaks of some organic and psychic connection through affection, obsession or sexual relations. It is not biblical. It is an imaginary bond and nothing more than a metaphor. It is, however, possible to have a demonic entity which transfers through sexual union.
Guided imagery and revisiting traumatic events so the Lord can heal wounds, is neo-Freudian hypnotherapy. Often the memories are suggested by the one conducting the session. A person calls up memories from the sub-conscious but often they are false memories. This is exactly what happened with the woman who accused Supreme Court Justice Brett Cavanaugh during senate confirmation hearings. She gave a detailed account of being gang raped by him and a fraternity of men. She did not remember this event until she went through hypnotherapy. It never happened. In a like manner, a disturbing number of “Christians” have discovered through hypnotherapy for inner healing that their parents were Satanists and they were abused as infants in Satanic rituals. They are being fed this narrative by the one who is guiding the inner healing sessions. This is extremely dangerous. It demonic, accusatory and falsely slandering one’s parents with dishonor, in violation of the commandments.
Having worked in the mental health field for many years I can say that most of these things do not work. I say this, as one who personally went for inner healing, and submitted to therapy. I say this as one who has witnessed longitudinal outcomes of hundreds of cases. While a person may experience a helpful insight which enables him to change, it is rare. Often the information acquired just becomes more data to support his narrative of victimhood. The insidious self-love and egocentrism in the breast of man merely converts the information and psychological terms into his self-serving narrative. It does not deliver his heart from the sin problem or self-centeredness. Some people have been in therapy for 5 or 10 years without any real change. Others have gone through inpatient treatment numerous times, but they do not change. Multitudes have gone through inner healing and deliverance, without any real substantive change. They may learn why they behave in a certain manner, but they do not change their behavior. Often, they use their psychological information as a weapon in order to diagnose others.
This self-centered model for inner healing has led thousands to believe they suffer from an “orphan spirit” or some imaginary inner wound. They wear these titles like a merit badge or a purple heart. I know real orphans who do not drip with so much self-pity. That is the crux of the problem of inner healing advocates. Their defensiveness over the topic is related to their self-love and exaggerated sense of suffering. They dig in and takes offense at the command to repent. They feel like their sufferings and history are being minimized – a history which they refuse to release. They love their sad history and identity, refusing to let go of it.
There are real wounds which can come from PTSD. There are real neurological and psycho-physio wounds which need to be healed. Some pyschosis such as schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder are physiological. Much damage comes from these pseudo-psychology therapists of inner healing. It takes a miracle for healing, just like cancer, diabetes, or lupus. However, emotional pain is not a “wound.” The metaphor is not the reality. If one truly forgives from the heart the pain lifts. One’s value is not diminished by the abuser. Nor is it enhanced by resenting the abuser. Our value is found in the price paid at the cross. Our identity is in Christ. We will shed this false identity of victim as we identify with Him. Our healing is in Him. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (II Cor 5:17).
The Errors of Contemporary Inner Healing Theories
(Part 3 of 3)
Many people blame their sins on wounds they incurred in their history of experiencing some form of abuse. They sin, they assert, because they are wounded. Many people are claiming that they need tolerance and patience because they are “still wounded.” This is simply a defense mechanism and justification for not repenting. Or, one is told to be patient with an abusive “Christian” because he is “still wounded.” In fact, one is being told he is not a Christian unless he is a codependent enabler of toxic behavior. The biblical reality is that a person who says his wounds are the cause of his sins, is a person who has not repented. Nowhere in the bible, does it say that we sin because we are wounded. Rather it says we sin because of the deeds of our flesh and not being under the Lordship of Christ. There is not one single instruction about addressing wounds in order to avoid sin. We are told to repent, not seek inner healing. We are instructed to overcome sin by crucifying the flesh, not healing our heart. Victory comes through walking in the Spirit, not psychotherapy and inner healing.
The source of sin is an impure heart. It has nothing to do with a wounded heart. Christ was speaking of every human being when He said, “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matthew 15:19 KJV). The Word does not instruct us to seek inner healing but repentance. These two are NOT synonymous. In fact, when it comes to the heart we are told, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and PURIFY YOUR HEARTS, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness” (James 4:8,9 KJV). That is how inner healing occurs. It is quite the opposite of this effeminate coddling of the emotions, as though there is some understandable and acceptable reason for our sins. No! How is the heart made whole? When we pray, “Create in me A CLEAN HEART, O God” and realize, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: A BROKEN AND CONTRITE HEART, O God, thou wilt not despise” (cf Ps 51:17 KJV).
Those who argue for inner healing cannot support their arguments from scriptures. There is not one scriptural example to support these assumptions. Those who argue for this inner healing paradigm, do so based on personal conjecture, feelings and opinions. They cannot argue for their position with the Word. When confronted by what the Word says, their response is, “I disagree. It just doesn’t feel right. In my opinion … or … I think …” It really does not matter what one feels or thinks when it contradicts the Word: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD” (ISAIAH 55:8,9 KJV).
Furthermore, the empirical outcomes of “inner healing” ministries do not indicate that people become more victorious or Christlike. It does not fix the sin problem. Rather, most models for inner healing reinforces a victim narrative which keep one perpetually fixated on themselves. We live in cultural times where everyone is a “victim.” He who sees himself as a victim will never take responsibility for himself and rise above his self-image and narrative. He sees his condition as primarily caused by the wounds inflicted on him by an abuser – be it another race, ex-spouse, parents, religious leaders, another gender, politicians, or rich people. Such displaced blame emits a hubris which makes interactions with such a person unpleasant. Such a person is oriented toward self, and sees everything through a self-centered lens – a bias which skews his understanding of scriptures, the Lord and other people. Victimology is what has led to ungodly agendas cloaked as righteous causes – social justice, gender equality, LGBTQ, feminism, equity, reparations, women’s healthcare (i.e, abortion). All of these causes have an abuser but the terms are ambiguous, lacking specificity. Without concrete examples how does one provide a definition of toxic masculinity, patriarchy, homophobia, misogyny, systemic racism, white privilege, hierarchy, mansplaining, capitalist oppression, etc.? There is no solution to undefined and generic concepts. The victim paradigm shirks personal responsibility for one’s life. This false dichotomy and victimology has infiltrated churches and ministries, particularly in inner healing.
Often, the narrative of the “inner healing” victim does not hold a candle to the narrative of others who survived near impossible situations. There are many women who were repeatedly raped and molested as children who now live functional, healthy, holy and victorious lives. There are many men who were molested by other males as a boy, yet they did not become homosexuals. There are many people who were born in poverty and oppression who rose above it to be successful and prosperous. There are many people who were violently abused who did not grow up and become abusers. I knew many holocaust survivors who lost their families to Hitler, and yet they went on to be humble, joyful and loving human beings, even when their bodies were broken from torture. There are many people who were abandoned by their parents in their childhood, yet they have become loving, healthy, strong adults. Rather than wallowing in self-pity, unforgiveness and blame, they focused on living, loving and serving. Our sufferings in childhood should be embraced as a gift. God’s grace is abundant to the afflicted. Those afflictions can be the source of our strength and character. They can be what led to our dependence on God. “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.” (Psalm 27:10). Often, such souls do not need to go through years of the wilderness and tribulation to be broken. They enter the kingdom, having been through that process. It is a gift. God’s grace flows from every wound. His light shines from them where they were most afflicted. They walk in Kingdom authority because they have forgiven the greatest offenses.
We must walk in repentance, accepting full responsibility for our sins. We must walk in forgiveness toward others. If we do not forgive, we cannot be forgiven.
Thank you for posting this excellent insight. What you have written resonates with my experience. I haven’t found anyone else talking about it much so this is refreshing and powerful.
I was in a spiritually abusive religious environment from age 12 through around age 30. I ended up with P TSD and major depression for years. I sought help to recover through many means including counselors, therapy and hospitalizations. Shock treatments revived my mind from a cataonic state to being able to process information again. But in depth Bible over the last 25 years, believing it and applying what I learned to my life have been most effective for freedom, wholeness and peace. I was also relieved when I learned Jesus hated false teachers and religious leaders who abused their subjects.
I also went to Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center in Ohio, which is a cult recovery center. They were Christians and they helped steer me back to the Bible and traditional Christianity as an option (the church I was in said it was apostate).
Understanding spiritual abuse and mind control was also very important to understand what had happened.
But a real turning point for me was when a pastor asked me, “Do you want to be bitter or better?” I wanted to be better and that helped me forgive, let go of emotions, take responsibility and move on instead of wallowing in victimhood and my feelings. R.M.
Thank you for exposing the wiles of the enemy. I have personally seen and experienced the “inner healing” and “deliverance” brought about through “repentance” and “forgiveness” with supernatural results and found all else wanting. We benefit when we stick to Biblical parameters and become delusional when we deviate from them. MAN has no solutions to his condition apart from Christ. To think such is a delusion in itself. R.B.
Thank you for this share….. I’ve always been wondering if my past sins caused difficulties in my latter years…. But thank you ! For setting me “free” ( bit by bit) R.L.
Thank you, Nick. The liberal application of Truth extinguishes every fallacy, and the humanistic theories that blossomed especially through the Charismatic Movement of the 1970’s and ‘80’s. Serving as a Pentecostal pastor during that time I encountered much deception and doctrinal error especially within the practices of inner healing. Marginally trained (if at all) “spiritual guides” walked multitudes into and through false memories.
Inner healing proponents brought (and still do) bring great injury to otherwise innocent believers in Christ as they sought to discover and heal the wounded “inner child.” This illusive child typically had been wounded by a sexually abusive father or adult male.
The hidden child often had no memory of abuse until the inner healing guide, with his or her “soul-tie” and “generational-curse”theologies unmasked the offending member and broke off the curses that had prevented the injured soul from serving God and enjoying the life of a joyous believer in Jesus. G.A.
I have been “raised” in salvation to lean into everything you’ve mentioned. Born again into a highly charismatic church culture that practiced sozos, taught on soul ties and the like. So, you are kicking over many sacred cows…I have several of these sessions and questioned the validity as it seemed repentance produced more deliverance than inner healing. M.B.
Yes! I can testify that this is true. I remember the Father drawing me into prayer once and I had expected to hear Him tell me things that would heal my hurt in that moment…and maybe a little “I’m on your side and how dare they” word. Instead, He told me I had to forgive. I remember being a little surprised, but I knew it was Him. Immediate relief, joy and peace followed repenting and forgiving. Jesus is so good! K.C.
(Regarding… some trauma from my childhood, I was told to revisit it and ask Jesus to enter into it and heal me, help me deal with it. You know what it did? It caused me to think upon even darker issues that happened to me instead of releasing, forgiving, receiving by faith what I needed to move on. It caused me to seek to trace my occult background even more. I was continually revisiting trauma, searching for areas in my life where certain things entered. It kept me in bondage because it always caused me to see another area where the enemy might have entered or I had been cursed and so on.
It’s not freedom at all! P.L.
“Over the years, I have been involved with several inner healing methods including Theophostic and Sozo (developed by Bethel). During my Sozo experience, they took me to my past, even to birth where “through the spirit” they “saw” certain visions of my father saying troubling things at my birth. At the point of that Sozo, I had never met my natural father. This was VERY disturbing to me. There was no way for me to verify this vision because I couldn’t remember the event. These methods call for releasing and forgiveness of these events, but the trauma, maybe false trauma created is heavily damaging and not of God. The Lord helped me through it, but along with the courts of heaven stuff has a high possibility of being made up.” J. D.
Examining Roots Of The Inner Healing Movement