The Allure Of Wounded Healers

WoundedAs a Charismatic, I attended my share of seminars on physical and emotional healing. I quite vividly remember a friend of mine, who had struggled with eating disorders and a divorce (among other traumas) expressing joy and relief when someone at a seminar prophesied that she was a “wounded healer.”

Even then, I wondered where the Bible supported that concept.

Sadly, now many non-Charismatic churches embrace similar ideas. And why not?

There’s something comforting in hearing someone confess their flaws and vulnerabilities, isn’t there? If she’s as imperfect and broken as we are, she makes us feel better about ourselves. Therefore, we gravitate to her blogs, books and/or conferences, knowing that she’ll make us feel good. She’ll assure us that God thinks we’re awesome, that He wants to date us and that He validates all our feelings. As He met her in her woundedness, so He will meet us in ours.

Certainly, there’s Scriptural support for openly confessing our sin, as James 5:16 affirms.   But such confession should point others to Christ and His forgiveness rather than to our empathetic abilities.

In the first place, we confess our sins, not our wounds. Okay, life treats us unkindly at times. But healthy ministry quickly moves beyond our difficult circumstances to pinpoint sinful reactions to those circumstances and/or God’s grace in bringing us through them. Our trials should always showcase His faithfulness and His justice.

Secondly (and please let this point sink deep into your minds) we aren’t the healers. We merely lead people to the Lord so that He will minister to them in whatever way most glorifies Him. Billing ourselves as healers shifts attention to ourselves, wrongly encouraging people to depend on us when they need to fix their eyes on Him.

When a Christian uses ministry to draw attention to herself, she’s failing to build on the foundation of the Lord Christ Jesus. Her fan base may believe she’s a personal friend to each one of them because she’s been so authentic about her brokenness.

But in actuality, wounded healers build their ministries on faulty foundations that will ultimately collapse. At the  judgment of  believers, Christ will judge us on whether believers have used our natural and spiritual gifts for Christ’s honor and glory.

11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. ~~1 Corinthians 3:11-15 (ESV)

(No, that’s not about Purgatory.)

I have no problem with a Christian blogger, writer and/or speaker extending empathy to hurting women. Please don’t misunderstand me on that point. God’s Word specifically commands us to weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15). But at some point, the empathy must lead to Christ. Sin must be confronted and the Gospel must be presented in its entirety. Above all, Jesus must be exalted.

Please be wary of wounded healers, and look instead to people who will faithfully direct you to the Lord. In so doing, He will receive the glory. As He should.

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