Holy Spirit Counseling
What made you angry is not what keeps you angry
The Bible tells us to be angry, but to sin not, and not to let the sun go down on our anger.
"Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: Neither give place to the devil."
There are two different types of anger, lie-based and truth-based. Truth-based anger occurs when a person sees or experiences injustice and becomes angry. Lie-based anger is found when that anger is held on to years later. The reason that the anger first occurred is very legitimate, but the reason anger hangs around is another story. Anger that has been held on to is doing something for that person. Sometimes it protects more vulnerable painful areas in the heart, while other times it somehow keeps the offender from getting away with it. Often we find lies behind anger which keeps it in place. These lies might look like:
- "If I forgive them, they will get away with it"
- "If I let go of this anger, I will get hurt again"
- "If I forgive them, it makes them right in what they did"
These types of lies will cause a person to hold on to their anger for years if not a lifetime. Their anger is doing something for them, and that is why they hold on to it. Anytime a person is hesitant to let go of their anger and give it to Jesus, you might ask them if there is a hesitancy or resistance to letting their anger to. Ask them what it means for them if they let go of their anger. Then offer that up to Jesus and see what He wants them to know about letting their anger go.
Another thing you need to know about anger is that it is often a protective emotion, and behind it lies a very vulnerable emotion that the anger is somehow protecting. If the person lets go of the anger, they may feel very vulnerable. It's a good idea to ask the person to look behind the anger to see if there's a vulnerable emotion that it is protecting. Again, what is anger doing for that person? What if they let go of the anger? Is there resistance to letting go of the anger? Why?
Guilt will prolong grief
When we lose a loved one, we will feel sadness (or hopefully that's the case!), and there is a very legitimate grieving process that we should go through in order to fully heal from that pain and loss. If we don't let ourselves grieve we won't heal from the loss. But did you know that guilt will often prolong the grieving process and cause it to be a much more painful and heartbreaking experience then God intended? If we are beating ourselves up concerning the person whom we've lost, it will keep us from healing or at least prolong the healing process. For example, you might be beating yourself up because you weren't there like you wanted to be there for them, or maybe you never told them how much you loved them. Perhaps you really should have done something differently? In such cases, you may need to work through some self forgiveness issues before experiencing freedom in this area.
Dealing with sin-based pain
Another kind of pain is sin-based and requires the person to turn from the sin and receive God's forgiveness. You need to receive the finished work of the Cross and the payment that Jesus made on behalf of your sin. Now if you repent of your sin but still feel guilty, then there's a lie you are believing such as "I am not forgivable." Addressing this lie is just like any other lie-based negative emotion.
A lot of times when a person struggles with guilt/shame over something(s) they have done in the past, there's often lies in place that need to be uprooted. If you suspect that they are dealing with some self-unforgiveness, you might ask some questions like, "What are the 3 worse things you've ever done in your life that you regret the most?" Then follow up by asking about those 3 things and how they feel about their forgiven status, for example, "So thinking back to that time when you ____________, do you feel peace there or do you still feel guilt or a sense of shame, like you haven't been forgiven of it?" Sometimes repeating back to them what they told you is a good way to trigger the emotion (if shame or guilt is present), and get them where they need to be to identity the lie that they believe. Remember that the emotion holds the lie if they are willing to feel it and listen carefully to what it is really telling their heart. They may still need to forgive themself, they may need to receive the payment that Christ made for that sin, etc. If they struggle to forgive themself, there's usually lies they are believing which keep them holding their sin against themself, such as, "If I forgive myself, I'll just do it again" or "I can't let go of it that easy or it means my heart isn't truly sorry for what I did."
Here's a shortcut technique I've used and found highly effective. When a person is dealing with self-unforgiveness, I love asking the question, "If it pleased Jesus for you to forgive yourself, would you do it?" Let them see the love of Jesus in your eyes as you ask this question! Then go on to explain that by beating themself up over their failures, they are actually denying and mocking the price that Jesus paid for them regarding that sin. The Bible tells us that without faith, it is impossible to please God (see Hebrews 11:6), so if we aren't receiving (believing to be true) the payment Jesus made for our sin, then we are not pleasing God. It pleases Jesus when we receive and believe to be true the work that He did for us on the Cross. Going here with people struggling with self-unforgiveness can be so riveting that it often shakes up their whole way of thinking, and often causes them to release a lot of self-hate and make that choice to forgive themself. In a sense, a person who has a hard time forgiving themself has a guardian lie, and by going here with them you're attempting to push past that guardian lie and get them to the point of healing. Other times, it's better to deal with the core lies that keep them from forgiving themself. Doing a scale of 1-10 test is important to test the healing when you're finished.
Dealing with addictions
Each and every one of us have a God-designed need to be loved. Most all addictions are rooted in our inability to receive love from God and others as God has intended. In order for Satan to get us in this position, he has to damage our heart in some way then feed us a lie such as we are unlovable or worthless. When we believe such a thing about ourselves, we unconsciously reject love because we believe that since we aren't lovable that the love we are given must not be real or is somehow too good to be true. Sometimes there's a fear of receiving love, lest they be hurt again. Now this doesn't mean that you cannot receive love at all, it just means that you're capacity to receive love into your heart has been greatly diminished. Dealing with these types of lies is crucial to breaking free from the strongholds of addictions. For more information about addictions you can read my article on Breaking Addictions.
Verifying if the healing is genuine
After a person has received truth from the Holy Spirit, the next step is to test it by asking them to revisit the painful memory and see what it feels like. If it's completely healed they should feel a sense of peace. Keep an eye out for numbness, which is denial or suppression and lack of feeling, and is not the peace of Christ. It is also possible for them to feel better, even much better, but not receive complete healing in that area. That is completely normal! The best way to test for this is to ask them on a scale of 1 to 10 how strong that old feeling (shame? fear? worthlessness? etc.) feels now. If they say 5 out of 10, then it means the lie that they received truth on was half the problem, but your half way there. There's other lie(s) that need to be uncovered. Continue the session by asking them to feel that remaining negative emotion and ask themself why they still feel that way. What you're looking for are other lies, sometimes very similar lies that also need to be uncovered. Another good way to word the question is, "Does it still feel true that you are worthless?"
Sometimes the person will try so hard to hear from the Holy Spirit, that they end up "filling in the blanks" so to speak. The voice they hear isn't the Holy Spirit, but their own answer as to what they think God would say. Even if the answer is correct, if they don't feel an increased level of peace afterward, then it probably wasn't the Holy Spirit. If they feel no improvement after they hear the truth, then it is unlikely that it was the Holy Spirit.
Keep in mind is that when you ask if there is peace present when they revisit the memory, is that a true joyous peaceful feeling like everything has been made better, or is it a numbness that they are feeling? Numbness is a lack of feeling, and is a symptom of denial or pain burying. That's not true freedom but rather suppression of the very pain that needs healing.
The cost of healing
As amazing and wonderful as this ministry sounds, and believe it, it is all that... there is cost that must be paid. The person receiving ministry must be willing to face the pain of their past wounds, because it is through feeling the emotion that allows them to see the lie that they are believing. It's also a process, and while you often get a wonderful breakthrough each time God shows up, there are often other lies that need to be dealt with. Is it worth the journey? Absolutely! This is one of the most profound and life-changing ministries I have ever tapped into, and I wouldn't trade it for the world!
Make sure your expectations are realistic. It took you a lifetime to create the mess you are in, and it won't likely all unravel in 2 sessions, but I also don't believe it will take you the rest of your life to unravel. God is eager to move you along as quickly as you will let Him! He is eager to get you free and healed, so that you don't have to spend a day more than necessary in your places of pain and struggle.
The role of the minister
Unlike the traditional way that I used to minister, I am very reliant on the Holy Spirit when doing this type of ministry, and almost every time He shows up and speaks to the person. It's amazing to watch God do what years of counseling could never do! When I used to minister, I would give lots of good advise, quote the right scriptures, and thereby change or embrace what they already logically know to be true. That may change their mind, but often does little in terms of changing what their heart believes.
The job of the minister is to get that person to feel the emotion that is there because of the lie, identify the lie that their heart really believes, then own the lie (stop denying it logically), and thereby get them in the place that they need to be in order to hear from the Holy Spirit. It's really all about understanding the emotions, the process, and asking the right questions. It's not like deliverance ministry where I'm casting out demons, and "doing things" for the person. My job in this type of ministry is to help them to figure out what it is that their heart really believes, then get God's perspective on things.
The best kinds of questions a minister can ask are those which get a person to feel the emotion, go to the memories where that emotion originated, identify what it is their heart believes, and get them out of their place of denial or suppression of pain. Questions like "And how did that make you feel?" are great at getting the person in touch with their emotions, which is a necessary step to identify the lie. Sometimes asking them to visualize the memory can help them access the emotions associated with the memory. I've even found certain songs will trigger emotions for me.
This is a multi-part teaching!