Monday, December 28, 2009

Channels of healing

(Part 1)
- Fr Joshi V.C, Tabor Bhavan
Very often people seek God to get healing from their sickness. To a nun, who lost her voice totally due to an infection in throat and cough, the other sisters suggested to attend a Charismatic convention that was going on in the neighbourhood to get healing. At the retreat centres or any other places where the word is proclaimed, what people expect is healing. This may be in many different ways. God the Father fulfilled his promise of salvation by giving us Jesus as our saviour. "For God so loved the world  that He gave His only son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life." (Jn 3:16).
Before the birth of Jesus the angel informed Joseph thus, "She will have a son, and you will name him Jesus - because he will save his people from their sins. (Mat 1:21). Salvation comes to us through the remission  of sins. Here we receive healing of Spirit. Those who lead a holy life after receiving the remission of sins are examples of people who are healed in Spirit. "Come to me all who labour and are overburdened and I will give you rest." (Mat 11:28). Here God invites his children for the healing of mind. "I shall give the weary all they need and satisfy all those whose strength has gone." (Jer 31:25). "I will seek the lost and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, but the fat and the strong, I will destroy. I will feed them with justice. (Eze. 34:16). "Thus says the Lord, Keep your voice from weeping, and your eyes from tears, for there is a reward for your work, says the Lord. ' They shall come back from the land of the enemy, there is hope for your future', says the Lord." (Jer 31:16).
The sick came to Jesus and Jesus healed them. Besides this, He gave the following  mission to his disciples, "Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you, cure the sick who are there, and say to them - The kingdom of God has come near to you." (Luke 10:8-9). “And these signs will accompany those who believe : by using my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes in their hands, and if they drink any deadly thing, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (Mark:16:17-18). He awaits to  give us physical healing, "With weeping they shall come, and with consolation I will lead them back, I will let them walk by brooks of water, in a straight path in which they shall not stumble." (Jer. 31:9).
"Stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus." (Acts 4:30). Here apostles prayed for the power of healing in the name of Jesus. Jesus heals people of all sorts of physical ailments. He is a great deliverer and healer. Therefore, we can approach Him for any type of healing. "Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb 4:16). In Exodus 15:26 the Lord says, "I am the Lord who heals you." We need healing because we are wounded. "My people struck down with a crushing blow, with a very grievous wound.” (Jer. 14:17). This hurts him. "For the hurt of my poor people I am hurt, I mourn and dismay has taken hold of me." (Jer. 8:21) "For  I will restore health to you, and your wounds I will heal, says the Lord." (Jer. 30:17). Jesus gives a complete and all round healing. "The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of the seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow." (Isaiah 30: 26).
The realization that one needs healing leads one to receive healing. As long as we do not have this realization we will not receive healing. This was evident in the healing at the pool of Bethzaida. "When Jesus saw him lying there a long time, he said to him -  Do you want to be made well?" (Jn. 5:6). Therefore, let us examine the signs that suggest whether we are wounded and are in need of healing.
1.     Unable to do the  good one wishes to do.
2.     Always finding fault with others.
3.     Unwilling to accept love from others.
4.     Unable to experience penitence.
5.    Always having an uneasy feeling.
6.    While praying, the thoughts about others make one restless; And not able to forgive them.
7.     Not able to co-operate with the family members as well as the members of the society.
8.     Always weeping and complaining while before the Lord.
All these are signs that tell us that we are wounded and we are in need of healing. He is waiting to heal us.

It is very common among us to have a desire to do good, but what we do is not the good we want to do but the evil that we hate to do. There is a reference to this in Rom 7:15-24. Besides this, there is a basic tendency to repay evil for evil. That is why the Word of God says, "Do not repay anyone evil for evil, but take thought for what is noble in the sight of all. If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." (Rom 12:17-18). Through this we can get rid of the influence of evil within us. In whichever situation we get agitated easily, it is very clear that we must have been wounded sometimes in the past in similar situation. This wound will intensify the influence of evil in us. We need healing from the Lord. He is the source of goodness. Therefore, when we do good for evil, the healing of Jesus will work within us. That is the sum and substance of 5,6,7 chapters of the Gospel of Mathew.
For example:
1.     Rejoice and be glad when people revile you. (Mat 5:11).
2.     Be reconciled to your brother or sister. (Mat 5:23-24).
3.     Turn the other cheek to him who strikes on the right. (Mat. 5:39).
4.     Love your enemies. Mat 5:44).
5.     Pray for those who persecute you. (Mat 5:44).
Therefore, if we desire to do the good that we want to do, we must examine and find out the evils that abide in us and their influence. We must make a conscious effort to conquer those by doing good and run away from evil circumstances. If one has a tendency to consume liquor, keep away from such company. If one is under the bondage of being unchaste, do not look, hear or touch anything that prompts to indulge in it. Sinful circumstances act as a fertile ground for the evil to take root in us. Therefore only if keep ourselves away from the sinful circumstances, can we practise good. "Have you sinned, my child? Do so no more, but ask forgiveness for your past sins. Flee from sin as from a snake; for if you approach sin, it will bite you. Its teeth are lion's teeth, and can destroy human lives. All lawlessness is like a two-edged sword; there is no healing for the wound it inflicts." (Sirach 21:1-3). Therefore, it is necessary to avoid sinful circumstances to keep oneself away from evil. Let us receive healing, by keeping ourselves away from the circumstances that prompts us to sin and by doing good for evil. "Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good." (Rom 12:21). "Let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it." (1 Peter 3:11).

Many of us are wounded by others' utterances; we find fault with others and judge others . 'Those who pay heed to slander will not find rest ,nor will they settle down in peace. The blow of a whip raises a welt, but a blow of the tongue crushes the bones. Many have fallen by the edge of the sword, but not as many as have fallen because of the tongue. Happy is one who is protected from it, who has not been exposed to its anger, who has not borne its yoke, and has not been bound with its fetters . For its yoke is a yoke of iron, and its fetters are fetters of bronze; its death is an evil death, and Hades is preferable to it.” (Sirach 28:16-21). This tendency exists in us because we are wounded. The Lord is the only one who can pass judgement on others. Our judgement should help others grow in goodness; they should help redeem others. "So make balances and scales for your words. Make a door and a bolt for your mouth." (Sirach 28:25). "Let your word be 'yes, yes' or 'no, no'; anything more than this comes from the evil one." (Mat 5:37)."Let your 'yes' be yes and your 'no' be no,  so that you may not fall under condemnation." (James 5:12).
Those who judge others are the ones who do not acknowledge or accept one's own shortcomings. Lord rectifies all our drawbacks and heals us. Therefore it is to the Lord that we must bring our drawbacks. As long as we do not bring them to the Lord, it will come out of us as criticism towards others. "You shall love your neighbour as yourself; there is no other commandment greater than this." (Mark 12:31). If you can't love yourself it is not possible for you to love your neighbours. In one moment there are many judgements that pass through our minds. Those who have experienced the healing of Jesus will pass judgement of healing. "When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, 'Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." (John 8:7). This verse leads the listeners to transform themselves. The seeds of self awareness are sown in their hearts. They receive this awareness after coming to Jesus and listening to him. Jesus made those who came to accuse him their own judges. The presence of Jesus as well as his words gave them healing in a major area. He corrected them  by not accusing them but by leading them to self awareness. Our judgement will be helpful to others when it  leads them to truth and self awareness. Thus the judgement we make after the example of Jesus will turn out to be a blessing for others."No one can tame the tongue - a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God. From the same mouth comes blessing and curse. My dear  brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. 'Does a spring pour forth from the same opening both fresh and brackish water?" (James 3:8-11). "Those who desire life and desire to see good days, let them keep their tongue from evil and their lips from speaking deceit; let them turn away from evil and do good; let them seek peace and pursue it.” (1 Peter 3: 10,11).

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