Christian “Healing” and Mental Health (2)
By: Beth McHugh 2007
In our last article on this topic, we looked at some of the harm that can come from so-called “Christian” healing. Obviously, this form of healing has little to do with Christianity at all, but it is called that and as such, is effectively sending out the wrong message to many people. Today we look at further examples of “help gone wrong.”
Jane was sick with both a debilitating physical illness and major depression. As is often the case, her family was not a great support to her, simply believing that she could and should just “pull her socks up.” Jane thought she had struck gold when she answered a leaflet for a healing session at a church not too far from her home.
She was met with much love and caring, something she found out later was known as “love bombing.” She was offered prayers and also much needed practical help, as one of her physical conditions meant that she found it difficult to do more than 20 minutes of housecleaning at a time.
It was all rosy for a period of time, until Jane did the unforgivable. She failed to get well despite the congregation’s praying. She was then castigated, the pray-ers telling her she was possessed by a demon she would not renounce. When she argued that this was not so, she was given yet another demon to her name, the demon of willfulness.
Yet another client had yet another unfortunate encounter with a similar group of “Christians.” They too came to the family home to pray over it, and while they were there, terrorized the owner’s 8-year-old by saying that this child was under the influence of Satan and ordered the sick mother to burn all of her child’s Enid Blyton books. The fact that they were library books and not owned by the family made no impact at all on these enthusiastic visitors. They simply told the mother to burn the books so that other people’s children would not come under the influence of such “heretic” publications.
I could go on with many more tales such as these, but I think my point
is made. In our next article, we will look at how to discern those very
caring and dedicated church workers who perform tireless deeds for others
in need from those who are harmful, hurtful and destructive. So destructive
as to risk taking away a vulnerable person’s faith, both in themselves
and any greater power in which they once believed.