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  • Writer's pictureMaria Whittaker

Why Self-Healers Will Never Heal : Part II

(and other lies instagram coaches believe)

There’s a short and a long way to put this. The short way is this.

Self-healers will never heal because they have misdiagnosed the illness.

They have misidentified the problem. They have wrongly assessed the root cause. You cannot begin to go about fixing a problem if you don’t have an accurate idea of what the problem is.

What are self-healers saying that the problem is? If you read my last post or follow any of their work, you probably already have a good idea. To summarize, self-healers will tell you that you are innately perfect, worthy, and powerful--so powerful, in fact, that you are actually sovereign over anything that could affect you. Don’t feel that way? That’s because both your inner problems (lack of self-worth, guilt, etc) and outer (hurt and trauma from other people/circumstances) come from you relinquishing your power to your feelings and to others. The solution? Step back into your power. Reacknowledge and reclaim the sovereignty and innate wholeness you were given (by whom?) at birth.

That’s not an accurate diagnosis of reality. But of course, this is a case of he said/she said, right? When trying to construct an understanding of self and human existence, who can say who is right?

Worldviews : Explaining of “The Box”

You’ve heard the self-healer’s take on reality. In the Introduction to The Self-Love Series, I gave you some tools to analyze worldviews and see if they align with Scripture. One of them was asking the question “who is speaking and on what authority?”. It firstly needs to be pointed out that the self-healers are speaking on their own authority. Some of them are trained psychologists (like Dr. Nicole LePera). So their words at least partially represent the summation of human wisdom. Others are self-taught upstarts who are making a job out of propagating a new, trendy philosophy. And still others are easily deceived young women who have been coached by these life-coaches and now think they too can make a living out of coaching others.

All of these people are speaking on their own authority. They have no special revelation, no vision from outside this universe, no experience beyond death from which they are coming back to tell us “the truth.” They are simply people who live in this world, have looked around them, processed the data, and using their human reason and the limited perspective of being humans bound by time, space, and matter, have come up with what seems to be the most reasonable explanation.

This may seem like an unnecessary thing to point out, but I think we can easily look at people that propagate a belief system as a little bit higher than everyone else. We tend to elevate them, even subconsciously, to the level of a prophet, someone with special understanding or revelation. That is a false assumption to make, and especially as Christians, we need to reaffirm to ourselves the truth that all revelation comes from God and the entirety of what we will get from God is already with us, in His Word.

It’s Cool Because It’s New

Another thing that’s worth thinking about is that this is just another philosophy. It’s simply the newest, trendiest theory. People have been coming up with these since the beginning of time because since the beginning of time, we have been running up against the same problem. We live in a “box” called “our reality” and not one single person can step outside of The Box and look at “our reality” from an outsider perspective. We are all prisoners in the same reality and coincidentally, we seem to all face the same recurring problems, century after century, age after age. Problems like hate, guilt, destruction, broken relationships, and negative feelings. So, hounded by the question of why this life and our very selves have such terrible, undeniably broken aspects to them, we do what we can. We can’t get on the outside of The Box, but we can take a very close look at the nature of the inside and try to guess what might be on the outside. We can try to theorize about who we are and why we got here and where we are going, the basic questions of philosophy. And as time passes and civilizations rise and fall, these theories have abounded.

The interesting thing is that, historically, whenever human experience gets particularly hard, the current accepted theory of “our reality” doesn’t really seem to come through. So it gets dumped and we start thinking and figuring again. We come up with something new, some new understanding or worldview that will help us cope with the new problems we are facing. And call me crazy, but I think our society is facing some severe, unprecedented problems today. Divisions tear our country apart, from Trump’s election to the Coronavirus pandemic, to the most recent incident of police brutality towards George Floyd and the ensuing rioting and finger-pointing. People are hurting and people are searching for answers. The time is ripe for new philosophies to take root and bring fruit as people re-formulate how they think about themselves, others, the world, and God.

New Does Not Equal Right

There’s something about new things, right? We go to the store and see a new, more unusual pair of jeans and we fall a little bit in love and we buy them. We go home and wear them and the newness wears off and we realize we never even particularly liked this pair, we just got blindsided by the newness and the unexpectedness of them. Newness attracts. Newness also disorients. You can walk into a resort suite at a hotel and be just awed by the beautiful furnishings. Only a few days into your trip do you start noticing that the couch cushions are slightly faded and that there is a fine layer of dust on the light fixtures in the bathroom.

The newest philosophy that makes the most sense will always be the trendiest -- just because it’s new. It’s not time-tested, and so there’s not a lot of bad to say about it. It also has a spark of something called hope: that maybe this is the way, the answer to a better future. Maybe this time we’ll get it right. I’m asking you to shake that foggy enchantment that newness brings and really take a hard look at what this new belief claims.

By the way, the purpose of The Sunflower Spirit Blog is to encourage and edify Christians, specifically. So I’m not going to give an in-depth explanation of why Christianity isn’t just another philosophy. If you aren’t a Christian and want to know, please contact me and I’ll be more than happy to have that discussion with you. But to my fellow believers who may be wrestling with what they believe I want to point out a couple things.

Even as a Christian, you may be wondering: Isn’t Christianity just another “philosophy,” another explanation of The Box? Yes and no. Yes, Christianity is yet another explanation of “our reality.” All Christians are limited by the same things that all humans are limited by. But no, Christianity is not “just another explanation” because it has a key difference from all other explanations. Here’s the interesting part; this key difference strikes at the very heart of the philosophy of self-healing.

You see, all other worldviews allow for basic human goodness or at least human ability to improve. Christianity is the only worldview that says that humans in and of themselves are totally depraved -- hear, totally and completely bad, evil, and unable to take steps to rise from their deplorable condition. That may not sound like the Christianity you are familiar with. That makes me question if we Christians are really spreading the good news in its Biblical entirety. In Romans, Paul leaves us absolutely no room to question whether or not Christianity claims this basic truth:

...For we have already charged that all...are under sin, as it is written:

“None is righteous, no, not one;

no one understands;

no one seeks for God.

All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;

no one does good,

not even one.”

“Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive.”

“The venom of asps is under their lips.”

“Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”

“Their feet are swift to shed blood;

in their paths are ruin and misery,

and the way of peace they have not known.”

“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

R O M A N S 3 : 6b - 18

And Behold, It Was Very Good

According to Scripture, there is no one good, not even one person. We are all of us, in every part of us, to the deepest level, evil. But it wasn’t always like this. God created us in His image, and in Genesis 1:31a, after the creation of man, the Bible says, “And God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” Not good, but very good. The creation of human beings falls under this umbrella of things that were very good.

However, it was not to last. As most of us know, humans chose to rebel against God and in that moment, we succumbed to a very tragic consequence. While retaining God’s image, the exact thing that God said would happen, did. We died. Not physically, though physical death became a part of the consequence. We died spiritually, meaning that we lost our “goodness” and our innocence. We lost it because we lost our connection to God, who bestowed that goodness on us. We were no longer “very good”--in fact, we became so evil that we are incapable of doing true good at all.

“Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned--”

R O M A N S 5 : 12

Why You Might Be Attracted To The Self-Healing Message

I’m repeating the gospel message here and while there is always a place for that, many of us know it. What I especially want to emphasize is the unpleasantness of this message. God’s explanation of The Box is not easy to understand or accept because it is, frankly, humiliating. It’s the opposite of the message of the self-healers. Honestly, I’d much rather be told that I am innately good and that I need to advocate for myself and reclaim my own sovereignty, shutting the door in the face of anyone who might stand in my way. It’s nice to be told I need to take responsibility for giving up my own power, but that all my hurt is ultimately derived from the oppression of others and the past trauma that has been imposed on me. I like being told that nothing I feel is bad or unacceptable, and that I can feel justified in feeling all kinds of negative feelings.

God’s message makes me feel like a horrible person. I don’t want to think of myself as evil. I don’t want to think of myself as incapable of good. It’s deeply ingrained in human nature to want improvement and if I’m incapable of self-improvement, what hope is there? What power do I have? What control? The Biblical answer is this: absolutely none. By myself, I have absolutely no hope, no power, no control. I have no future. I am destined to self-destruct, essentially, because nothing good can come from someone 100% evil.

If we accept the Biblical explanation of the problem of self (read: sin) then we have a much bigger problem than the self-healers are posing. It’s also abundantly clear why

“self-healing” just won’t work because it implies you are working with a deeply good and powerful being rather than a powerless, broken, worthless individual whose every act, however pretty it may look on the surface, comes from basically evil and selfish intention.

Coddling Ourselves Away From Truth

In this day and age, there’s a very interesting phenomenon taking place. We seem to have bought into a philosophy that “What doesn’t kill you makes you weaker.” We avoid pain and suffering at all costs because we don’t believe that they bring us any benefit. This has resulted in a society of people who are overly sensitive and broken/traumatized/offended by the slightest thing. You can read more about this in the book “The Coddling of the American Mind” by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt. This pattern is concerning on many levels but first and foremost, it is a problem because, firstly, it makes telling people that they are sinners going to hell nearly impossible and secondly, because it seems to have made people value achieving emotional comfort and stability far more than identifying and correctly reacting to truth. The short of it is that people don’t want to know the truth if it’s uncomfortable. One simple example of this is the rabidly aggressive responses we seem to see online when someone of an opposite political stance voices their opinion. We have to fight with ourselves to fairly hear someone out who has a different viewpoint and we tend to surround ourselves with people that promote what we want to hear.

The question to ask ourselves is, are we willing to hear the truth no matter how unpleasant or scary it may be? Christians are often ridiculed that we hold to religion as a “comfort” because we are too weak to face the reality of a cold, uncaring universe in which we need to create our own happiness. But isn’t it far more terrifying to face the reality that our very selves are black holes of rottenness totally beyond repair?

Why God’s Way Is Better

If you accept the ENTIRE Biblical explanation, your payoff is looking far, far better than the self-healers best outcome. Here’s why. The second part of the Christian message is that while humans may be totally depraved, the God who made us also loves us. Luckily, He does not subscribe to the self-healing philosophy that you should shut out those who reject you and minimize your power. Despite the fact that we turned our backs on Him, mocked Him, denied His power, actively hurt Him until the point of actually attempting to kill Him, God chose to continue loving us. Instead of leaving us in our desperate condition, He paid the price for our sins and redeemed us. Again, I’m just sharing the basic gospel message. What is really important for this discussion is that by redeeming us, He did something very interesting, totally unexpected, and absolutely key. He placed us in Him and we died with Him. The reason for this is that our old self was so absolutely worthless and irredeemable, God literally had to get rid of it.

Not Healed, Remade

We can’t be healed. According to Scripture, when we sinned, we died. Maybe you can heal someone that’s spiritually sick but you can’t heal someone that’s spiritually dead. It’s hard to put into words, so I’ll let the Bible do the talking for me, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with Him in a resurrection like His. We know that our old self was crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.”

R O M A N S 6 : 5 - 8

God’s solution is not healing. Our human nature is spiritually dead, but still active as long as we have physical life in us. It produces “sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these” (Galatians 5: 19b-20). God looks at it and sees a complete and total loss. If you think of sin as cancer, there’s no part of the spiritual body that the cancer has not touched with devastating effect. So in His infinite wisdom, God does the only thing possible. He puts the old, sin-rotted nature to death.

We are told that “...those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with it’s passions and desires” (Gal. 5:24). I particularly like how the KJV version puts it, “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” God literally destroys the cancerous body because there’s nothing worth saving.

Obviously, in His goodness and in accordance with His mind-blowing plan, God doesn’t leave us decimated. “For if we have been united with Him in a death like His, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like His” Rom. 6:5). Sure, we take part in His death, but we also take part in His resurrection. What that means is that having wiped the slate clean, God literally recreates a new person and raises them to life. But this time, instead of having Adam’s human nature -- his literal “life-force” flowing through us, we have been rebirthed with Jesus Christ’s human nature, -- Jesus’ sinless “life-force” in us.

This is why Scripture uses terms such as “adoption” and “rebirth.” We are part of a new family, God’s family, and yes, we have been adopted into it (Ephesians 1:5 “He predestined us for adoption to Himself as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of His will”) but it’s not regular adoption where you go pick out a kid and make them a part of your family. We were put in Christ and rebirthed with His nature, His life. That’s why a Christian and a non-Christian can look totally the same on the outside, can even act the same, and yet on the inside, there is a radical invisible difference between them. And it is this:

Unsaved people have only the old nature in them and in the old nature, they are a slave to sin. This means that try as they might, they cannot stop sinning, and nothing they do is not sin. No matter how pretty it may look on the outside or how selfless, it always comes back to glorifying themselves which the Bible says is 1) sin and 2) eventually destructive. Even if they do good acts, there is no true goodness motivating them. Don’t get me wrong. This is an uncomfortable truth to acknowledge. No one unsaved will want to admit this about themselves. We Christians will find it heartless to affirm. It’s extraordinarily countercultural. But it’s truth. And if you do not accept this as truth, you are flying directly in the face of something Scripture makes abundantly clear and you have not truly understood the gospel message.

Saved people, on the other hand, though they may sin and continue to have the old nature until death, have something more. They have the “chains” of the old nature removed from their hands. They are no longer slaves to it. The Bible says,

“For the death He [Christ] died, He died to sin, once for all, but the life He lives He lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

R O M A N S 6 : 1 0 - 1 4

At the risk of sounding like a Sunday School teacher, can I compare this to a superpower? When you are saved, you gain a superpower regular people don’t have. You CAN conquer sin. You may choose not to. But you CAN. You at all times and in any situation have the ability if you choose to allow Christ to live in you instead of living in your sinful flesh.

God’s Way

I hope you see how this is God’s resolution to the same problem that the self-healers are addressing. You’ve got hurt, broken relationships, failure, negative feelings of inadequacy and guilt? God calls those the ravages of sin. The self-healers call it “past programming and trauma.” The self-healers say blame others. God says blame yourself. The self-healers say “heal yourself.” I just say, you go ahead and try. If you follow these spiritual teachers you will see that they struggle with the same negative things that you do and that instead of being the super-people their philosophy claims it will make them, they’re always “reclaiming” and “healing” but never arriving to the point of perfection or peace. What will 100% happen if you try to self-heal, is that you will fail. At this point, God will either mercifully help you see the truth of His Word that we are beyond healing or (if you are not a real Christian), He will allow you to self-deceive. You hold to the ideas of “self-healing,” telling yourself it’s going to work, someday. Or you may eventually, as I guarantee the self-healer’s followers will do, move on to the next philosophy, always “learning and understanding” and never able to arrive at truth. Much like the Bible says...

And He said, “Go, and say to this people, ‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

I S A I A H 6 : 9 - 1 0

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