Healing the Soul (1)

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3).

The soul is described as the seat of the conscience that governs the mind, will and emotions. Our souls will exist after we die and is connected to our spirits. Emotional wounds such as heartbreak and heartaches cause damage to our souls. Most people consider a relationship breakdown between a couple as producing heartbreak. Abandonment, rejection and neglect in early childhood are major forms of heartbreak that many people overlook. A child anticipates that their parents will love, nurture and care for them. Perhaps we are born with the innate desire to be nurtured and cared for. Abraham Maslow described this as the hierarchy of needs which include; physical needs such as shelter and clothing, safety and security including having a home, love and belonging, esteem which is attached to being respected or esteemed by others and self actualisation which includes the ability to pursue and fulfil a purpose.

When God created Adam, he saw that it was not good for him to be alone, so he created women for his companion. The woman fulfilled Adam’s need for love and belonging. Within this marriage unit, they produced children who may have experienced safety and security, love and belonging and have their physical needs met. As they grew into adulthood, they would develop esteem and become self actualised. Abel was a shepherd and gave his first fruits to God, who esteemed his offering. Cain also brought an offering which God had no regard for. As his need to be esteemed was not met, Cain was angry and this led to his brother’s death. So great was his need to feel self actualised and to be esteemed, that it turned him into a murderer.

Both children and adults have needs which must be met in order for them to be content. A child whose needs have not been met, produces an adult who can struggle to contain their emotions. For people who struggle with anger, rage or other difficult emotions, it is useful to examine what is their unmet need. While it is difficult to go back in time and redo our childhood, God is able to heal and restore. “For my father and my mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me in” (Psalm 27:10). David’s writings in Psalms explores some deeply emotionally charged discourses, which shows how he explored some difficult emotions. I notice how David used intimacy with God, worship and praise to overcome adversity and to restore his broken emotions.

I want to explore some of these Psalms over the next few days and explore how David expressed emotions. He was deeply acquainted with emotional pain and sorrow, yet he was able to be real with God about his emotions. There are other prophets that came bare before God in their emotional distress and anguish. Their writings always ended in a place of peace, comfort and assurance. I believe that worship is an antidote for anxiety and depression and it can also heal and restore broken and damaged emotions. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise” (Psalm 51:17).


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