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Soul Healing: The Heart of the Matter

Posted on: November 7th, 2013 by Dr. Angela Bisignano

 

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I am passionate about both the world of psychology and spirituality. Psychology encompasses a broad field and yet the fascination for me lies at its core: soul healing.  Invariably with soul healing comes restoration, freedom, hope, and empowerment. Spirituality and faith to me is about living intimately and wholeheartedly with an amazing and creative God who loves soul healing, wonder, adventure, and most importantly, His people.

When I study the life and character of Jesus I see three truths being demonstrated that are important for soul healing:

  1. Jesus met people where they were at, engaging them with compassion.
  2. He communicates a message of value and dignity in people’s lives.
  3. He appealed to people’s deepest psychological and spiritual needs.

He cared deeply about people and restoring their souls. I love his approach. He wasn’t contrived in his methodology or his healing style. He simply met people wherever they were at, exercising nonjudgmental compassion, healing them along the way.

Take for example the man with leprosy that we find in the Book of Luke in the New Testament. Jesus set out to heal his leprosy, but there is also a psychological dimension to this encounter. Jesus came near to the leper,

He put out his hand and touched Him. ~Luke 5:13

Jesus offers something to the leper that no healthy person in the 1st century would dare to do. A healing touch; something the man deeply needed and most likely hadn’t experienced in a long time. Why is this an important detail in this story? I believe it’s because Jesus saw his deep loneliness, isolation, and despair.

In his desolation Jesus meets him, giving him something that no one offers him, a beautiful message, “you’re okay” and “I value you.” Then Jesus physically heals his leprosy. One of our deepest human needs is to feel valued. We want to know that we are worthy. Jesus sets the model for us to communicate the care and love of God to a hurting and broken world.

Take the Samaritan woman at the well that we meet in the Book of John, as another example. She was an outcast, evidenced by her coming to the well in the middle of the day. Certainly Jesus was aware of her predicament. No decent Jew would ever have any dealings with a woman of her kind. She was a woman who had been with many men, and the one she currently lived with wasn’t her husband either. And yet, Jesus doesn’t seem to mind. He still connects with her, despite her sordid past.

He speaks to her in public, something unthinkable for a man in the 1st century. Surely He knew others saw her as “unclean.” And yet, He conveys something of great value. He says to her,

Give me a drink. ~John 4:7

He communicates a profound message here, “you are okay, “ and “you are of value.” I love his approach. Only then, after communicating a value message, does he enter into a conversation about her life, followed by a deeper spiritual dialogue. We never get the sense from the story that Jesus is repelled by her choices or her past. He simply aims to heal her soul, setting her free, and connecting her to God. He empowers her changing her life course. He gives her hope.

I admire the nonjudgmental compassionate style of Jesus. I glean a lot of psychological and spiritual truths from his encounters with people. I suppose it’s all of the many ways that He lets people know how much He cares that attract me to Him.