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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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest 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. 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 send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-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 


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Saying No to Abuse

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

It takes courage to say ‘No’.  It takes courage to stand up against abuse.  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.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous, we are as sick as our secrets.  Only the truth, however painful, can really set us free.  Secrecy keeps us chained to our abusers.

Part of the cycle of abuse is that abusers are very skilled at blaming the victim.  Many abuse victims internalize these false accusations and begin to blame themselves.  Sexual abuse victims often carry a false sense of guilt and shame.  Breaking false shame off victims can be very liberating.  Sometimes scripture can help release people from such self-rejection: ‘You are already clean because of my word spoken to you’ (John 15:3) and ‘Do not call unclean that which God has made clean’ (Acts 10:15).  All of us need to experience the cleansing stream of God’s Holy Spirit.  All of us need to be washed with the water of the Word, removing our stains and blemishes (Ephesians 5:27).  All of us need catharsis in our daily lives.

Abusers exercise ongoing control over their victims through fear and guilt.  The heart of all addiction is the cycle of fear and guilt.  Breaking the cycle of manipulation will release massive breakthrough in a person’s life.  As the Good Book puts it, perfect love casts out all fear.  Breaking the power of fear is critical to putting the abuse victim on a stable footing.  Abusers are always destabilizing the victim’s environment, causing them to ‘walk on eggshells’.  Abusers will often use ‘divide and conquer’ techniques that cuts the victim off from their natural support network.

God’s truth through Scripture can be most helpful here.  It is not by accident that the phrase ‘Do not fear’ is used over 365 times in the Bible, at least once for every day of the year.  As Timothy was once reminded, God has not given us a spirit of fear but of power and love and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7) .  God’s gift of ‘a sound mind’ is key to removing ‘stinking thinking’ and giving us instead peace that passes all understanding.  God hasn’t given us a spirit that makes us a slave again to fear but rather has given us the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15).  The key to breaking fear is realizing that in Jesus, we are adopted, we are chosen, we are accepted in the beloved.  Nothing can cast us away from his loving arms.

Abusers specialize in condemning their victims as bad and unworthy of acceptance.  The Good Book in contrast says that there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  Breaking the power of condemnation releases great joy into the lives of abuse victims.  No longer do they need to falsely accuse themselves and beat themselves up.  Instead they learn to accept themselves in Christ’s love.  When the manipulative power of fear and condemnation is broken, victims can become victors in remarkable unexpected ways.  Creativity becomes released. Healthy boundaries become re-established.  Abusers lose their power to control and entrap others.  Victims stop enabling the very behaviours that keep them enslaved.

It all starts when people stop rewarding abusers and start blowing the whistle on them, when people say no to manipulation, say no to fear and guilt, say no to the ways of death and destruction.  It takes courage to reach out to the support networks around you, whether to your teacher, doctor, social worker, counsellor or pastor, but it is well worth it.  It is not your fault.  You deserve better.  Say no to abuse. Say yes to life.  You are worth it.  You are loved.

Two resources that I would recommend in your recovery from abuse are Dr. James Dobson’s book ‘Love Must Be Tough’ and Dr. Townsend & McCloud’s best-selling ‘Boundaries’ book.  My prayer for each person reading this article is that we and our families will be given the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, the courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference, in Jesus’ name.

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

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

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

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest 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. 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 send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-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