In the United States there is a game that children play called “You Got the Cooties.” While on one hand the game is supposed to be fun, on the other hand it quite often becomes a vicious, sly way of bullying and manipulating other children. What happens is that when a popular child feels threatened by the increased popularity of another, they pronounce that child as having the cooties. As a result, the other kids are to have nothing to do with the cootie victim until they eventually say they no longer have the cooties. I have found many a Charismatic church loves to play that game. But they have changed the name to “deliverance ministries.”
Over the last couple of years, I decided to find a new church home. For about the first six weeks to six months I never stated that I had served in the ministry or pastored previously. I was extremely interested in seeing how the church treated visitors and potential members. But once I made that reveal, whamo! The next phrase out of the pastor’s mouth was, “Well are you familiar with XYZ deliverance and healing ministries? We have someone here at the church who specializes in that area and it is something we like all new people go through.” When I would attempt to explain I was well familiar with XYZ, the response was usually, “Well so-so has been doing it for years, so it is something that we prefer you go through with so-so, because unlike other churches, they have more experience than others.” I just got tagged with having cooties.
Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with getting to observe someone for quite while to verify they are not a liar or manipulator before validating their ministry. That indeed is wisdom. But to suggest they are in adequate to serve Jesus as they are is an outright lie.
The unspoken theology is that Jesus needs to you to go through inner healing before being used by him. Yet funny thing is, I can not find anywhere in the Gospels that Jesus did any such thing before releasing anyone into ministry. Remember our basic definition of love that I keep harping on? Your Love for Jesus is not what happens inside your head but how it is expressed through loving others!
- John 8:42 NASB – 42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and have come from God, for I have not even come on My own initiative, but He sent Me.
- John 14:15, 24 NASB – 15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments. … 24 “He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.
- John 15:12 NASB – 12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you.
If ever Jesus missed an opportunity to perform inner healing it is with the woman at the well . . .
- John 4:7-29 NASB – 7 There came a woman of Samaria to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give Me a drink.” 8 For His disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. 9 Therefore the Samaritan woman said to Him, “How is it that You, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered and said to her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water.” 11 She said to Him, “Sir, You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep; where then do You get that living water? 12 “You are not greater than our father Jacob, are You, who gave us the well, and drank of it himself and his sons and his cattle?” 13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, so I will not be thirsty nor come all the way here to draw.” 16 He said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here.” 17 The woman answered and said, “I have no husband.” Jesus said to her, “You have correctly said, ‘I have no husband’; 18 for you have had five husbands, and the one whom you now have is not your husband; this you have said truly.” 19 The woman said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. 20 “Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you [people] say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” 21 Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. 22 “You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 “But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. 24 “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” 25 The woman said to Him, “I know that Messiah is coming (He who is called Christ); when that One comes, He will declare all things to us.” 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am [He.]” 27 At this point His disciples came, and they were amazed that He had been speaking with a woman, yet no one said, “What do You seek?” or, “Why do You speak with her?” 28 So the woman left her waterpot, and went into the city and said to the men, 29 “Come, see a man who told me all the things that I [have] done; this is not the Christ, is it?”
Here is a woman who was obviously living a messed-up life. Let us review what happened:
- Jesus violates all standard of conduct by talking with the woman directly.
- He asks something of her.
- Afterwards he then explains who he is.
- He then reveals he knows all about her past life.
- He teaches her Scripture the same way he teaches all his disciples.
- She then proceeds to tell everyone she knows about Jesus.
Now, let us review what did NOT happen:
- Jesus never led her in the sinner’s prayer or stated she needed to pray with him to be saved.
- Jesus never said that past events in her life was keeping her from being made whole.
- Jesus did not cast out demons and nor did he cast blame on her. He only revealed he already knew all about her past.
- Jesus did not treat her any different than his other disciples and proceeded to teach her directly.
- Jesus at no point stated she was not ready to proclaim the good news from the very beginning. He never asked her to even leave her live in lover before proclaiming the good news! (Did I just open a can of worms or what! I am not saying she shouldn’t do so, only that Jesus did not say it was necessary at this point to proclaim the good news.)
Do I believe in demonization? I do. But there is an old saying that if all you have in your toolbox is a hammer, it is funny how every problem begins to look like a nail. He did NOT take this woman through any type of inner healing from inner demons or inner thinking before she began proclaiming the good news.
Ironically, as being currently practiced by many Charismatic churches, inner healing ministries are a vicious form of emotional and spiritual abuse. They give new members a reason to doubt that they are insufficient to be used by Jesus. Inner healing too often is used as a way to get the hidden goods on past person’s sins to find reason to keep them out of their local ministry. In their mind, Jesus is incapable of making them clean when they first meet up with him and repent. They were not set free when the Son had set them free, but only when they have set them free!
Jesus did not measure our love for him by our internal, but how we showed love externally. Showing love is not restricted by our past, but only by our present. And too often inner healing ministries reflect just how unloving and fearful many churches are of being upstaged by someone who may show love more freely. As a result, they pronounce the new person as having cooties until they say one no longer has cooties. Ouch.
No matter where you find your self attending church and how inadequate the church may make you feel, there is nothing stopping you from loving much! So then love much my friends . . .