Nov 20, 2010

Motives For Healing - Compassion or Compulsion?

I have a confession to make:

I've had to check my own motives for healing the sick and I've had to do it often.

When I began healing, it was at the prompting of God. He kept after me until I finally got it right. I'm glad He was more persistent than I was. As time marched on, I stepped out to heal people more often, because it was finally working. People actually got healed - well, sometimes.

There came a day when I began to feel a bit guilty because no one had been healed, and I was making my way to bed. I began to wonder if I was becoming lazy. Two days went by and I failed to lay hands on a single person. I began to wonder if God was disappointed with me. After a week of kicking back on my "no healing vacation" I wondered if I still had it. My guilty conscience got the best of me and I went back to praying over people in the stores again. And they were still being healed.

I decided to kick it into high gear for a while and started looking for people to heal literally everywhere I went. My wife began to get a little irritated. She could no longer have a normal conversation with me at a restaurant because I was always looking for someone to heal. It became a kind of obsession. I was turning into a healing machine. ...with no "off" switch.

I had a talk with Jessie Campbell one night about my situation. She told me she'd been through a lot worse than I had. We talked a long time about healing and the motives we have for doing it. I came away from that discussion with a clearer perspective on things.

If you're new to healing, you'd do well to heed what you're about to hear. If you're an old hand, maybe you have something to add.

I've developed friendships with nearly every kind of person who operates in healing. Big names and nobodies; DHT's, Sozo's and all the other flavors to. I listen and read a lot about what's happening in healing. It fascinates me.

And some of what I see concerns me.

Some of us are doers by nature. We love to keep busy by doing things to help others out. (I'm one of those types) Healing lends itself well to this type of personality. But healing, like any form of ministry is supposed to be done out of compassion, not compulsion. The gospels often note that Jesus healed the multitudes because he saw them and had compassion on them, not because he had to heal 50 people a day to earn favor with His Father.

Jesus was a man who lived a balanced life. He was passionate, but He operated in great diversity. He was just as adept at healing and casting out demons as he was at teaching children. He preached in the synagogue one day and the next he couldn't be found, having retired to the solitude of the mountains. He was just as comfortable in a fishing boat as with the nobles or the prostitutes. He share the mysteries of the kingdom with thousands if they'd listen, but was just as thrilled to share only with Peter James and John. He was and is a man for all occasions who meets the needs of all. Healing is neither the exclusive, nor the primary need of most people. The needs of the world are many - healing is only one of them.

I love healing. It gives me a thrill to see the power of God fix what the enemy has broken. The church has been locked up in her tower long enough. I'm glad to see us hitting the streets and doing the things Jesus did. We ought to be healing the sick. But doing healing every day, all day long will eventually put you in a straight -jacket. There is more to life and ministry than just healing. You don't need to look very far to find people whose lives have been ruined by the cruel taskmaster of compulsive healing.

I've been guilty of healing people from a guilty conscience. Maybe you have too. If you have, there's hope. Please understand me. Healing is a good thing. Jesus commanded us to do it and everyone I've ever seen healed was grateful I took the time to minister to them. But like every good thing, if wrongly prioritized, it becomes perverted and may become an idol. It may even be bad for your mental health.

There is an explosion of healing taking place in the body of Christ today. Training is readily available to anyone. Many people will offer to train and lead you on the path to a successful healing ministry. You may be invited to join groups for study and ministry time. You will make many new friends in the healing community. You'll hear amazing testimonies about the healing power of God. But you'll also see great division over how it's to be done. And you will eventually find those who will place enormous pressure on you heal people every waking hour instead of being a worthless, disobedient servant. Their Jesus has a yoke that's hard and burden that's heavy.

Any one can heal the sick because they want to see the power of God. Brush aside the rhetoric and all you have is sorcery. Any one can heal because they desire to obey the commands of Jesus; this one is no more than a legalist trying to be justified by works.

Don't be swayed by clever arguments or impressive testimonies from those you meet. Don't be taken by those who would place a yoke of bondage on you. Go out and heal the sick, raise the dead, cast out demons and preach the kingdom. But do it for only one reason. Your motive for healing should be an overwhelming love and compassion for those in need. There is no other legitimate motive.