This is an excerpt taken from the book “The Process of Healing,” by Rev. Juan M. Perez, LFBT
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Romans 12:2, provides the hurting person with a guide in their quest for healing. In it we learn certain specific things which are required to bring about change within ourselves. It is like a map to becoming a new and healthier person in God. Let’s read it here, “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)
To begin with, it is important to understand that we are in control of the process described in this verse. It is we who have to “let God” transform us. We do this by “changing the way” we think. In other words, as we change the way we think, we “let” God do what He needs to do in us. Implicit in this verse is the understanding that God is giving us the right and ability to make the decision. But, the decision cannot be just a set of words. It is not enough to just pray and tell God that he has our permission to transform us. We are required to “change” the way we think.
Changing the way we think is up to us. We can choose to do so or just tell ourselves that we cannot change and therefore we won’t. Because God truly wants us to be transformed, He would not ask us to change the way we think if we really could not do so. The truth is that even though it may be a hard road and, at times, difficult, we can change our thinking. Philippians 4:13 teaches that we can do all things with the strength He gives us. This applies to difficult and uncomfortable things, as well as spiritual ones. This is a truth. Even though we may struggle during the process, we can change any or all of our thinking.
Our struggle with changing our thinking is not with whether or not it truly is difficult, but with whether or not we truly want to give up the old way of thinking. As an example, let’s examine a passage from the scriptures. In John 5:6 7, we read a story of a man who was near a place called the Pool of Bethesda. We understand that there was something special about this pool. It seems that if the pool showed sings of being disturbed (as if someone might run their hand through it), it was taken as a sign that an angel had done it and the first person to enter the pool was supposed to be healed of whatever infirmity he or she had. Because of this, there were always many people sitting or laying around the pool, staring at it, hoping to be the first to see it move, so that they could hurry and get in.
Well, there was this one man whom Jesus had seen there on many occasions. This one time, as Jesus and his disciples passed along the way, He went over to the man who was paralyzed from the neck down and spoke to him. Jesus asked him a very strange question, “Do you want to be healed?”
The reason this question was strange is that the man was obviously there, near this supposedly healing pool, because he believed that he might somehow be able to get in and be healed. Any person seeing all those people hanging around the pool every day would easily come to the conclusion that they “wanted” to be healed. Jesus knew the same thing; He knew that they were there because they wanted to be healed. So then, why did He ask the man this curious question? Well, let’s consider the consequences of a actual healing.
Up until that day, the other people helped the paralyzed man in everything he needed done. To get anywhere, he needed someone else to carry him. To get dressed, the man needed someone else to dress him. To get food and eat, he needed someone else to feed him. Even for private things like using the restroom, he needed someone else to help him. In essence, no matter what he needed, it was the responsibility of someone else to make sure he was taken care of. Think about it, someone took him to the pool on a regular basis; he didn’t walk over by himself, you know, being paralyzed and all of that.
Now, if he were to be healed, He would have to take himself everywhere he wanted to go. The man would have to get a job, right? I mean he has to be able to buy food and pay rent to live somewhere. He would have to take care of his own personal needs from now on. In essence, again, he would become solely responsible for his own life, decisions, and failures.
So, why did Jesus ask the man if he wanted to be healed? Because there are people who do not really want to be healed. Yes, that’s true; there are people who really do not want to be healed. Why? Because they would no longer be able to use their past hurts, sufferings, pains, and traumas, as excuses for their choices and behavior. For some people, there is an almost subconscious desire to be a perpetual victim, wielding the power of blame and self excuse like a battering ram against others who do not recognize them as “the true victims of life.” They will argue with this revelation, while at the same time refusing to take the steps needed for true healing.
One of the best tests, to see if you are one of these people, is to notice how you started feeling angry at what you just read. These people have a problem with maintaining a balanced expression of their more basic emotions. Their strongest emotion is fear, which is generally expressed by an overwhelming anger at anything they decide is contrary to what they believe is “right,” followed by a self loathing for getting so angry themselves. These people can only see anger as something bad; therefore they tend to suffer from the delusion that anyone who gets angry at them is automatically being abusive.
A second test is to ask yourself what steps have you actually followed in trying to get healed. For the average “victim of life,” this will mean that they have “prayed,” or had someone else pray for them, to be healed, and took no further steps. For others, it will mean that they went to a medical doctor and started taking prescribed medicine (which, by the way, is probably a wise thing to do for any physical illness, but not an emotional one like a past trauma). And still others will seek out psychics and witch doctors, hoping that somehow they will be “healed.”
The one thing in common with all these attempts at “healing,” is that the “victim” is not the one who takes on the responsibility for the healing. They are depending on someone else doing the job for them. That may work in physical medicine, such as by doctors, but emotional healing is the responsibility of the one who was hurt. The question again is, “Do you [really] want to be healed?”
Not only does the hurting or suffering person need to make a conscious decision to want healing, but they must take the steps (which I will outline later) to get the process going for themselves.
Let’s look to the Bible again to get a clearer picture of this truth.
Throughout the whole of the scriptures, we are called to make a choice. Joshua 24:15 admonishes people to choose whom they will serve (obey and follow specific instructions). In Psalms 25:12 we are told that God will show His people the road they are to choose (in other words, how He wants you to respond to the things life throws at you). Ecclesiastes 10:2 makes it plain that a wise person chooses the right road, but a fool takes the wrong one (the results are the proof of the “road” taken [choice made]).
Finally, let’s look at Romans 6:16, “Don’t you realize that you become the slave of whatever you choose to obey?” When the hurting person chooses to remain unhealed, by rejecting the correct process, they are choosing to remain as slaves to the fear, hurt, and pain of the emotional trauma they suffered in the past. They will continue to respond to the awful memories with behavior that serves only to maintain the pain and fear in their lives. Their mind will not be changed, and they cannot be transformed by God, because they, in essence, are saying no to God.
The “transformation” that is spoken of in Romans 12:2 is the same thing as healing. As long as the suffering person has not transformed, they are doomed to continue to react to the memories of their suffering in the same way as they always have. No matter how much they “pray” for healing, want healing, cry for healing, they will not heal until they are transformed from being the “victim” to becoming the healed person.