Jesus asked the man at the pool of Bethesda ‘do you want to be healed?’ Sounds like a cruel question, so what was Jesus doing here?
Jesus knew the paralysed man received such attention from others, it was stopping him from moving forwards.
‘Parts Therapy’ or ‘Internal Family Systems’ is a theory that some counsellors use to help their clients move forward from emotional blocks keeping them stuck.
The theory believes that we have numerous parts with us. Recognising them, their roles and agendas brings awareness to any internal part that is choosing to stay sick.
You may have a part of you which wants healing and wellness but there may also be a part of you that enjoys the comfort and sympathy from those around you.
These 2 parts are in conflict which can keep you stuck.
Or there may be a part of you that needs understanding and recognition. When you receive it, you feel a sense comfort which soothes the emotional pain you’re in.
I definitely relate to this.
When I first became unwell, I was dying inside and in such torment. The way I dealt with this was to talk about it continually. I derterminedly spoke about it as much as I could, wanting others to understand.
This served me for a time. There is nothing wrong with this in the short term. God does use others to give his comfort to those in need, but when it becomes a way of life, it’s problematic.
Recognition for suffering, or negative attention is not a good thing. It feeds the part of you that unconsciously ‘enjoys’ the benefit of attention and compassion from those around you.
It’s a secondary gain which hinders healing. On the surface, we think it’s a good thing as we feel comforted. But relying on the church to rescue, hinders the work of the Spirit within.
JESUS AT BETHESDA
Jesus knew the man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5 saw himself through the lens of sickness.
I imagine if he lived today, he’d be posting images of himself on social media, wanting people to comfort him. He craved negative attention. I imagine he grew accustomed to talking about how bad his situation was. This was his identity.
Do you see yourself as a sick person who wants the world to know how bad it is? This part of you will keep you bound. Or do you identify as a healthy and well person despite symptoms?
The more you talk about the illness, the cancer, the pain in your body, the more you keep it alive. See LIFE AND DEATH IS IN THE POWER OF THE TONGUE
The more people see you as ‘sick’, the more it reinforces that sickness is your identity. You become known as the ‘sick’ person, keeping you in a place of weakness and lack.
It also satisfies the part of you that needs comfort.
Are you posting regular updates of your hidden illness on social media? Are you forever talking about it?
It really is one of my pet peevs. In counselling we refer to this as a drama triangle.
The illness is the persecutor, the individual takes on the role of the victim and those in the person’s world are invited to be the rescuer. All of this takes place on an unconscious level.
As time went on, I began to recognise that talking about the illness was hindering my journey. It was all people knew about me! They didn’t see me in any other capacity. They didn’t pray for anything else other than this.
There was no awareness of my gifts, my calling, my personality traits, my strengths, my achievements. Sickness was my identity.
I began to feel stifled.
THE LENS OF HEALING AND WHOLENESS
When I joined my present church, I deliberately decided to not mention my health to anyone, unless they really needed to know.
It was a new experience to be surrounded by a body of believers who had no idea about my health struggles. I felt free.
There was such an empowerment in this. I was able to step up and live a ‘healed’ life, despite my body and symptoms.
If someone had asked ‘do you want to get well?’, I could honestly say from all parts of me ‘yes yes yes!’ I learned how to receive comfort from the Holy Spirit and applied self-compassion interventions to myself.
Imagine the difference it will make to your life, if you allowed God to meet your needs instead of relying on others to give you comfort or understanding.
Jesus realised the man at the pool of Bethesda relied on others rescuing him, hence the ‘harsh’ question. I think Jesus was speaking to the part of him that gained benefit from his lifestyle.
Wouldn’t it be great, if people were to see you for the amazing person I’m sure you are, and not someone who is sick. Our words are containers of life and death.
Do you see yourself healthy and whole despite the symptoms in your body? People will see you the way you see you. Do you want to get well?
Sometimes we need to make a choice between what hurts and what hurts more. It may hurt that your suffering and no-one knows the hell you’re in.
But at least you’re not receiving attention from those around you that feeds the illness. Your healing is more important than people’s opinions.
I hope this helps someone today.
If this has blessed you, why not take a few moments and read other posts about Jesus healing the man at the pool of Bethesda: