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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit

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As Sick as our Secrets

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There’s an oft-heard saying in the recovery community: “We’re as sick as our secrets.”  Over the years, I have met many people in abusive situations who have paid a great price to eventually extricate themselves from the vicious cycle of manipulation and recrimination. Sexual and physical abuse, in particular, scars the victim deeply.  Often the victims falsely blame themselves. Recovery from abuse involves breaking the conspiracy of silence and deception perpetrated by abusers. Only the truth, however painful, can really set us free. Secrecy keeps us chained to our abusers.

At the heart of the ‘twelve steps’, in Step Four and Five, is the willingness to break the power of secrecy by admitting to God, yourself, and another person the exact nature of how you have wronged other people.  I have done many ‘Fifth Steps’ for others over the past twenty-eight years.  It is always such a privilege.  I feel like I grow so much through this opportunity.  I notice, however, that ‘Fifth Steps’ are very difficult in our secretive, victim-based culture.  Many people want to come to me and admit the exact nature of how they have been wronged, but not how they have wronged other people.  Until we can open up and get such things off our chest, we are still stuck with guilt, recrimination, and self-doubt.  We really are as sick as our secrets.

The Good Book tells us to cast our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us.  I have found that sharing deeply my heart with another caring, listening person can be profoundly liberating.  That is why we are encouraged by James, Jesus’ brother, to ‘confess our sins to each other and pray for each other that we may be healed.’  I have a number of friends who have had the courage to go see Bonnie Chatwin, a North Shore Pastoral & Clinical Counselor.  It was not at all easy for them to do this, but I was amazed by the breakthroughs that they have achieved.  How much do we want to be well?  Often the price of being well is giving up our obsessive need for independence and secrecy, and beginning to trust another person with our life story.

We as Canadians live in a culture that has become more secretive and private.  The vast majority of Canadians still believe in God, prayer, and Jesus’ resurrection, but such faith concerns have largely gone into the closet.  There is a widespread perception that faith is so personal and private that it cannot be mentioned publicly.

The  fast-rising and falling Da Vinci Code fad fit totally into that way of thinking.  It implicitly taught that true spirituality is about dark hidden secrets that only the elite may know about: secrets allegedly hidden in Da Vinci’s paintings, secrets covered by an alleged secret society named the Priory of Sion, secrets about Mary Magdalene and Mother Eve in the Garden of Eden.  Over one hundred million North Americans have either read the Da Vinci Code book or seen the movie.  There is something in us that is drawn to secret knowledge and secret passageways.  But is secrecy really the way to health and life?  Is secrecy really the key to genuine spirituality?

The most famous person in the world once said: “I have spoken openly to the world…I said nothing in secret.” (John 18:20)  Jesus also said that “whatever is hidden is meant to be disclosed, and whatever is concealed or secret is meant to be brought out into the open.” (Matthew 4:22)  Rabbi Saul/Paul, who was Jesus’ most famous disciple, commented: “we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God.  On the contrary, we set forth the truth plainly…” (2 Corinthians 4:2)

Contrary to the claims of the Da Vinci Code, Christianity has no secret codes, no secret initiation rites, no secret vows.  Jesus said nothing in secret.  Jesus brought everything out in the open.  We really are as sick as our secrets.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

“I’m afraid there’s been an accident…”

12bdf6ff-3021-4e73-bccd-bc919398d1a0-7068-0000031133e7b4d9Sandy Brown and her family have just moved to Spokane, Washington where her husband, Scott, is pastoring a new church. With a fresh start, Sandy is determined to devote more time to her four children. But, within weeks of settling in their new life, the Brown family is plunged into turmoil.

Sandy receives shocking news that her children aren’t safe, which brings back haunting memories of the trauma she experienced as a girl. Then, the unthinkable happens…

A brutal attack puts Sandy on the brink of losing everything she’s loved. Her faith in God and the family she cherishes are pushed to the ultimate limit.

Is healing possible when so many loved ones are hurt? Are miracles really possible through the power of prayer? Can life return to the way it was before?

Blue Sky reveals how a mother’s most basic instinct isn’t for survival… but for family.

If you’re a fan of Karen Kingsbury, then you’ll love Blue Sky. Get your copy today on paperback or  kindle.

-Click to check out our marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just etransfer at ed_hird@telus.net, giving your address. Cheques are also acceptable.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca

To purchase any of our six books in paperback or ebook on Amazon, just click on this link.