The healing at the pool of bethesda teaches us how to position our hearts for a miracle healing.
This poor man had suffered for 38 years which caused him to spiral down into self-pity. His eyes were on the severity of his situation. He was closed to any forward thinking. In all honesty, I think I’d be exactly the same.
Can you identify with this?
When I was unwell, I thought it was so unfair that my friends could experience marriage, holidays or careers whilst I could barely function.
All I could see was all the things that had been taken away from me. The loss and grief consumed me so much, I ended up crossing over the line into pity.
‘My life is terrible whilst their’s isn’t…no-one understands…where is God…my life is over…’
I lived here for such a long time. My eyes were on my reality.
Prior to the miracle healing at the pool of Bethesda, Jesus addressed the lame man’s victim mentality. He knew the man’s pity was hindering him from his miracle.
The paralysed man was comfortable feeling sorry for himself.
When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?””Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.
In other words, ‘I’m a victim and no-one is helping me. It’s not my fault…the world is against me….I’ll be like this forever…I’ve given up…’
Being a victim is easily done when you’ve been ill for a long time. I can understand why he was thinking and feeling these things. He’d developed a coping strategy of pity which was helping him manage adverse circumstances.
That’s understandable, right? I do feel for the poor guy.
Both nervous system expert Irene Lyon and the founder of the mindbody institute, Dr Kim D’eramo, say that one of the main reasons people aren’t experiencing healing is because of a victim mindset.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t move in someone who is in a place of victimhood. I guess this is because it’s not who you are. I’ve yet to meet someone who has received a healing miracle when they’re stuck within a ‘poor me’ mentality.
I used to have a khaki green jacket. I loved it as it was so expensive and on trend. Then I saw myself in a photo wearing the jacket. My face was a sick shade of pasty green. It just didn’t do anything for my complexion! I looked ill. From that day onwards, I never wore the jacket again.
Self pity is a bit like that. We wear it, without realising the impact it has on ourselves and others. It’s not attractive to be around. It’s repelling.
The healing at the pool of Bethesda isn’t just about God’s miracle healing power, God is teaching us how to position ourselves to receive such a miracle.
He’s showing us the need to be free from the power of pity.
ARE YOU PLAYING A VICTIM?
The mindset of self pity tells us that life is happening to us. We are helpless. This can become programming that communicates to our bodies.
We tell ourselves it’s not ok for this to be happening. This creates an inner conflict contributing to dis-ease.
“bad things keep happening to me…..I’ve tried everything and nothing works…..I’m just going to isolate myself from the rest of the world…..when will something good happen to me?…I always pull the short straw”
I find it interesting that Jesus chose a paralysed man to heal. He was immobile, unable to move.
If you’re familiar with how our nervous system operates, you’ll know that there is a branch of the vagus nerve (part of the parasympathetic nervous system) called the dorsal vagus nerve.
This nerve causes us to lose enthusiasm, feel shut down and depressed. Spiralling down to this place is normal, but the key is to know how to move out of this state.
When we live in this place, there is no healing here.
We all know people who want attention for their problems. It gives them comfort when we rescue them from the pit of despair, only to find themselves back down the pit of pity once again once the attention has died down.
They expect to be carried.
Unfortunately the church can often begin to rescue people who are in this place, which keeps them in that place of victimhood. We can feed the victim mindset thinking we’re being loving and compassionate.
I’M OK AND YOU’RE OK
If you’ve ever had counselling you may be familiar with the theory or transactional analysis which believes that there are 4 life positions we operate from.
The healthy position is ‘I’m ok and you’re ok’. One of the unhealthy life positions is ‘You’re OK but I’m not OK’
I think prior to his healing, the man at the pool of Bethesda had this unhealthy life position. He viewed everyone else as ok, just not him. Self pity makes us blind to the world around us.
He was waiting for someone to come and rescue him. A true victim.
I imagine there were other people there who also couldn’t make it to the pool. Others with all sorts of diseases and sicknesses. He wasn’t the only one. Maybe he’d lost his friends due to his pity! I guess we’ll never know.
His situation was not OK, but he was OK. When I look at my own life, I realise now it took a long time to realise this. My situation was not OK, but I am OK. I am not the illness.
You’re situation may not be OK, but you are OK.
5 WAYS TO SHIFT FROM SELF-PITY
Empowerment comes when we stop relying on others and begin to recognise that God has given us what we need ourselves. God has given us authority to rise up and begin again.
How do we allow God to restore us from this place?
1. CHANGE YOUR POSTURE
Do gentle movement or stretching. This supports your nervous system into shifting from a place of shut-down and collapse to a place of social connection and rationality.
2. LOVE YOURSELF
Give yourself the love and compassion your loss or situation deserves, the way you would give someone else empathy. Could you write a letter to yourself?
(This is an intervention used in counselling. Write to your inner child who’s hurting. This may sound crazy, but it really does help. I write to little me all the time.)
But remember to check in with yourself to ensure you haven’t moved to a place of self indulgent pity because staying in a place of victimhood will keep you bound. I know this is really hard because everything in you thinks you’re entitled. You are OK.
3. CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE
There is no hopeless situation when you believe God for healing. Can you see your situation from God’s perspective? He is greater than any chronic illness. This guy received a healing after 38 years. Focus on God’s healing promises.
This will edify and lift you, a fresh new excitement and expectation will spring forth in your heart and you’ll start believing again. Use your imagination to dream once again.
4. KEEP A GRATITUDE DIARY
The lame man had eyes to see, ears to hear and the ability to talk. There is always something to be thankful for.
This is more than just feeling good. You’re retraining your brain to focus on the things that are right. It’s hard because problems steal our attention. You don’t need to necessarily fix the old roads, just build new ones.
YOU CAN DO THIS VICTORIOUSLY with the help of the Holy Spirit.
5. KNOW WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
When you’re in victim mode, you’re disconnected from you’re identity in Christ. You’re unlikely to manipulate others into loving you when you know how much God loves you. You begin to operate from a place of self-worth.
The Bible says that you and I are ‘more than conquerors’ that we are victors and never victims. Circumstances may be against us but we are still children of the most High God.
We are ‘the head and not the tail…..above only, and not be beneath…’
Can you imagine the difference it would make, if chronically ill people grasped the truth that they are empowered by the Holy Spirit to keep on moving forward
Can you imagine the impact on your own health when you shake off the self-pity? When you see your situation, as bleak as it looks in the natural, through the eyes of faith and position yourself to receive your miracle, just like the healing of the man at the pool of Bethesda.
To remember the truth when we’re feeling full of pity and to start dreaming once again. To see yourself according to who you are in Christ. You are not your illness.
I hope this helps you a little today.
Have a great day
If this encourages, do check out other posts in this series: