Monday, March 30, 2015

GOD: The Healer (Moral Injury continued...)

God: The Healer

“Come now, and let us reason together,” says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Isaiah 1:18.

Notice what the LORD is saying in this verse. Almighty God is inviting us to reason with Him. He is inviting us to confess our sins to Him and have Him forgive us for them. However, more importantly, God is saying that He will forgive you your wrongdoings! Like removing our backpacks after a long foot-blistering hike we are to unburden ourselves of our load of sins. As we hand over our sins to God He takes away our guilt and our shame. This in turn results in us no longer having to struggle with a guilty conscience! Thus we move from Moral Injury to Moral Repair.

A Reasonable Faith
It stands to reason that if God wants us to reason with Him then first we must believe, (i.e., have faith) that He exists. The writer to the Hebrews says, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6. Think about it, the reward for diligently seeking God (among other things) is peace of mind, i.e., the removal of a guilty conscience.

Some people have actually said to me, “I wish I had your faith.” Well, according to the Bible every human being believes in God. We simply suppress that knowledge through our own wickedness. To say that we know God is simply another way of saying that everyone begins with the presupposition that God exists. Each of us inherently knows that God exists because God has built it into our being. We are made in His own image and likeness. From here it is simply a matter of what people do with that congenital presupposition that results on whether they will end up with a clear conscience or not.

Almighty God your Maker is inviting you to reason with Him. However, it stands to reason that you would not be reasoning together with God if He is absent from the conversation or dialogue, absent from your thoughts. Strange as it may seem, this is the way that some people treat God, as if He is simply a mathematical abstraction or philosophical equation and not the personal Triune God who created us in His own image and likeness. It is because God is a Person, (actually God is three Persons, i.e., the Father, the Son or Word, and the Holy Spirit, Matthew 28:19), that we are able to have a personal conversation with Him.

Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6.  We speak to the Father in the power of the Spirit through the Son and God speaks to us by His Spirit with His Word. In other words, we pray to Him and He replies to us through His Word, the Bible.

But again, notice that we are not speaking into the void. We are not calling out in an empty building, “Is there anyone there?” God is! And He is everywhere at once. We are to reason with God, the God who is there! Think about it, if you do not believe that God exists then why would your conscience be troubling you? Why do I ask this? Well, your conscience is part, a big part, of one of the ways that God is using to make His existence known to you. This has to do with you being made in His image. As a mirror would not reflect your image unless you existed, so you and I would not be the image and likeness of God if He did not exist! However, God through His Word, the Bible, says that we are His likeness. “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness.” James 3:9. Like a “Hall of Mirrors” our own sin distorts us individually as the image of God. Therefore, none of us (apart from Jesus) gives His true reflection.

A Reflecting Faith  
 Wrestling with one’s own conscience (a prominent symptom of Moral Injury) is a first step on the road towards reasoning with God! Feelings of guilt come about when one has failed or is failing to measure up to one’s own idea of moral good. The conscience is the measuring stick whereby we determine how far we are short of the mark. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:23.

Let us once again reflect on what Richard Sibbes said: “The conscience is the soul reflecting upon itself.” Note the difference between the soul reflecting upon itself and wrestling with one’s own conscience. Whereas the former is you reasoning with yourself, the latter is you arguing with yourself! Isn’t it better simply to examine your own reflection that to attack it like some angry bird attacking its reflection in a window pane?

Here’s the rub: Healing begins for the individual when he or she recognizes that Moral Injury, like its sibling PTSD, is a spiritual problem. Now it becomes easier to see one of the reasons why Western psychiatry and psychology are having so much trouble healing people suffering from the symptoms of PTSD and Moral Injury. These systems are based on an Atheistic premise which denies the existence of soul and/or spirit as commonly taught in the Bible and Christianity. The Bible says, “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14. The bottom line is that spiritual things (including spiritual problems such as PTSD and Moral Injury) are spiritually discerned.

Now, this is not to say that modern psychiatrist and psychologists can offer no help to their patients. However, like any other science that detaches itself from God and His Biblical revelation, they are missing the key component of what they are dealing with, which is God and that which is His image, i.e., human beings.

One discerning doctor I was talking to about PTSD said, “You know? PTSD is so hard to fix because we’re dealing with something invisible!” Think about it, we only know that a person suffering from PTSD or Moral Injury by way of revelation. If that sounds too Biblical then let me state it in another way. We only know that PTSD and Moral Injury exist because someone has told us about them. We cannot see, hear, taste, smell or touch PTSD and Moral Injury. They remain invisible until someone reveals them to us.

If this is beginning to sound a bit like gobbledegook to you then I would suggest that it is because Western Science has had some success in trying to extricate itself from the science of Theology. This is what I mean by Atheistic science. It follows a Materialist philosophy and it ignores and even denies that which is spiritual. Therefore, the road to recovery for those suffering PTSD and Moral Injury (and Western Science itself!) is a return to the inclusion of Theology in scientific discussion instead of its present ostracism.

“God is Spirit.” John 4:24. And a human being is a soul-spirit with a body. (2 Thessalonians 5:23). God is invisible (Colossians 1:15) and so is the spirit and the soul of a human being. God is the Father and the Son/Word and the Holy Spirit (Matthew 28:19). “The Word became flesh” John 1:14, which is to say that Jesus is God and also is a soul-spirit with a body, i.e., a human being like us. How do we know that Jesus is God? The same way we know that someone has PTSD or Moral Injury. Revelation!

Because PTSD and Moral Injury are spiritual we are only offering band-aid solutions until we acknowledge the “Father of spirits” (Hebrews 12:9) and ask Him to intervene and heal us. Spiritual healing is the healing of our spirit by God’s Spirit. Once healed, as the writer to the Hebrews says, “Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honourably in every way” Hebrews 13:18.

The first step toward being healed of your PTSD and/or Moral Injury is to acknowledge that as a human being you are God’s moral agent by His creation, and as such you have broken His Moral law and need to seek and to receive His forgiveness.

The second step is to acknowledge that God has made you like Him, i.e., triune in Nature. You are body and soul and spirit, i.e., a soul-spirit with a body, and as such and with God’s enabling are able to dialogue (i.e., reason with Him).

The third step is to acknowledge that you, like the rest of humanity, as a human being are fallen in nature. There already is something morally wrong with you from conception and birth. This is discovered with the first pang of conscience!

The fourth step is to acknowledge that your accusing conscience is revelation of that which is spiritual, i.e., God and the human soul and spirit. It lets us know that something is wrong with you and that you need God the Spirit’s help and healing.

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