A few weeks ago, I woke up with a pain in my back such that I could hardly move. When I mustered up enough gumption to try, the pain was excruciating and brought me to tears. I woke Mark because it was abundantly obvious that something was wrong, and I needed help.
As I worked through all the possible questions and causes, I considered things like:
Is this muscular or skeletal?
Did I sleep in a position that created a kink?
Did I sit too long in one place for work?
Did I pick up something incorrectly?
Is it chronic stress?
The most likely option seemed to be stress, but I wasn’t sure why that was impacting my spine so negatively.
It did abate after a few days, but I had a subsequent flare and was talking to someone about it. As we talked, both of us relayed to the other that our aches and pains can often originate from another source than the point where we are noticing the ache or pain in the moment.
Looking for Roots
This pattern is true with our clients and the work they do with us as well. While the ministry scope of Blue Fire Legacy is multifaceted, a large majority of our time currently is spent talking with ministers all over the world as we work together to identify the roots of the issues that they find distressing.
It is common to find several emotional hurts that are joined or fused together. However, we have to deal with each incident identified, not simply the most recent, for our clients to walk into healing and freedom. Usually, we discover that the pain started long before the present day problems.
The most frequent issue is unforgiveness, however, we find that roots to be addressed are varied and often involve more than a single event. Much like the pain in my back, unforgiveness left unchecked will start to negatively impact areas outside of the epicenter, and the unaddressed emotional and spiritual attachments can create residual but unwanted pain.
Addressing the Correct Issue
Seeing a troublesome area while not identifying the root issue can also be true in church bodies. One can notice awkwardness or discord and be unable to identify a source. It is also possible to partially identify the problem by acknowledging disunity or tension but only identify the current day issue without discovering the initiation point. This is detrimental to the health of the church, and the individuals that comprise it, as the problem is likely to return.
Sometimes, what is necessary for correction is a boundary adjustment or implementation, other times conflict resolution, and still others, formal church discipline is required. In each of these circumstances, you will uncover a pattern of behavior or relational engagement. Simply addressing the current is to continually address only the symptoms of the base issue that remains disguised or covered.
If there is a pattern of rebellion to authority, manipulation, or control struggles, it is imperative to follow the chain of events back to their origin. This reminds me of the story in Joshua 7 where one man, Achan, went against God’s instructions and the entire camp was paying the price for his disobedience. Achan was eventually found out and was put to death for his disobedience, but the matter had to be sought out. Joshua didn’t only seek after God as to the swift change from victory to defeat, but for what caused the Lord to remove His protection.
Sin in the Camp
As our country is in chaos from lockdowns, riots, curfews, etc, the church has sin in the camp. We cannot get healthy until we address the roots.
Churches have not loved well. We have become inward and number focused. We have not been faithful ambassadors of the Lord’s Kingdom. Instead, we gather around common ground, whether that be music preference, level of liturgy present, or beautiful buildings, and allow preferences to divide the family of God. We may not be throwing physical bricks or landing assaulting blows, but we hurl hurtful words which can do equal, but hidden, damage as we scramble to “protect and defend” our positions.
For those looking from the outside in, it is no wonder they don’t want to become a part of what we represent. The duplicity of behaving one way in church and another for the remaining hours of the week has to be repelling. They watch us as we are more concerned about our comfort than meeting the needs of orphans, widows, the sick, and poor. They see no difference in our lifestyle. Statistics support their claims as the percentages of those struggling with pornography and adultry fall within the same range whether evaluated with a group of professing Christians or the unchurched.
We have believed and agreed to the accusation that we are exercising unholy judgement simply by calling right right and wrong wrong based on Biblical directives. In doing so, we no longer speak the truth in love, but rather avoid conflict at all costs.
We can no longer turn a blind-eye, abdicating our role as the Church. Just like the cloak, silver, and gold that were so tempting for Achan, we have brought back secular justification and rationalization (aka prohibited plunder) out of a desire for ease.
Heal Our Land
While what I noticed was an intense pain in my spine every single time I attempted to move or slightly change position, the issue was the supporting muscles which were knotted up and pulling on my spine due to unreleased, built-up stress. Treating the source rather than the symptom was what was required for relief.
Much like the Israelites, we have neglected the ways of the Lord and His instructions. We, the Church, need to repent of our sin and humble ourselves before the Lord. He is the Hope for our nation and the world. The world needs the Church to change its ways so that the land may be healed. Everything else is just dealing with a symptom instead of the root issue.
“When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command the locust to devour the land, or send pestilence among my people, if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:13-14
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