The Lumps have gone

The Lumps have Gone.

Carryduff Parish Magazine April 2011

The lumps have gone, but healing is a continuing process involving the whole person.  That very significant statement summarises a key element in the four-session Prayer Ministry Course held in our parish during Lent and led by Rev Dr Pat Mollan.

It would be unrealistic to attempt to capture the breadth and depth of the course in a single note for the parish magazine, but one of its crucial characteristics was an appreciation of the difference between physical cure and inner healing.   It is the inner healing – the process of letting go of each and every hurt and replacing it with an inner acceptance – that really caught my attention.

We should all be grateful if “the lumps have gone”.  In many cases they may not go. Thus a physical condition may persist indefinitely and we have to learn to live with it, even accept it, however distressing it might be.  The challenge of acceptance may seem impossibly daunting but, as Dr. Mollan suggests, our response to that challenge represents a deep seated process of spiritual growth.

We are asked to have faith, and to have it without hesitation.  Difficult?   Of course it is, but God accepts us as we are with all our pains and aches, our faults, our short comings and our tawdry complaints.  Faith will grow through the experience of testing and adversity.  It seems to me, therefore, that there is o close inter-connection between healing and faith.  Healing (i.e. not physical cure) is o process of bringing us closer to God.  It could be o slow and lengthy process s, even a lifelong journey; but it can also be a journey in which the destination is “the peace of God which transcends all understanding “. (Philippians 4 v7)

In making that journey several significant signposts present themselves, whether or not the lumps have gone or even if we never had any lumps in the first place.  Those signposts include the various hurts, real or imagined, physical or emotional, that others may have inflicted on us in our experience of life.  We must put them behind us and, more pointedly, we must forgive them.  Nothing is more damaging to our inner wellbeing and our sense of wholeness than the harbouring of resentment.

However, we can and should dispose of all this heavy baggage. There can be no doubt, as Dr Mollan assures us, that the power of confession is huge.  Not only is this good practice, it is also the teaching of Jesus.  In a most significant directive about prayer He said “For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins”. (Matthew 6 v 14,15)

The same message con be found in Paul’s letter to the Colossians, where he says “Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you “. (Colossians 3 v 13)

Maybe it seems difficult to square up to advice like that.  Yet it is incontestable.  If we accept the premise, implicit in these texts, that our redemption incorporates wholeness of body, mind and spirit, then we will grow in grace and in personal healing by taking a conscious decision to forgive everyone in our lives who has ever hurt us – and that must include the crunch issue of forgiving ourselves.

In the final session of the Prayer Ministry Course, Dr Mollan urged that we should take every opportunity to pursue this.  The clear message is that if we are able to respond to this challenge not only might the lumps disappear, but we will also be set free from any sense of resentment.  Amen to that.

Dennis Carson

with kind permission.