I want to address my Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, specifically. It has come to my attention of some situations on social media that need to be addressed and it truly affects how we view certain health issues.
The thing about social media today is that in one sense, it is a great blessing and in another sense it can be a real curse. As with anything, there are extremes in which we need to be very cautious of as true born-again Christians. You see, social media can be used in this day and age as such a useful tool in winning the lost and encouraging and edifying one another in the Lord. The thing is, you see false prophets, wolves in sheep’s clothing and false teaching abounding, and as a child of God, we HAVE to be very discerning. But on the other hand, you can become very close to your brothers and sisters in the Lord in a way that was never possible before and with that comes a transparency, where you see when one or another has problems, many times physical problems in the way of illness.
Now I am NOT going into a doctrinal thesis on whether God can or does still heal today. I for one STILL believe that He performs miracles and that He DOES heal, but I don’t believe it is in every case! There are too many instances in the Bible where there are those who were not healed for whatever reason and none of them had to do with lack of faith.
Be that as it may, what I do want to discuss is something that is extremely prevalent in our modern age. At least we are more aware of it today than in the historical past. I’m speaking of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They are situations in which the brain is not functioning the way it should and it affects the way a person behaves and even remembers things. Almost every one today has seen the effects of these similar diseases.
But what I want to talk to you about today is how do we as Christians look at the behaviors and attitudes that we see coming from someone who is affected by these illnesses! Some of you reading this are familiar with at least a couple of situations on social media that have affected a brother or sister and their attitudes in posting do not seem clear or rational. Since many do not understand the significance of the damage these diseases produce, I want to give you some spiritual encouragement and hopefully some understanding!
First, remember this; just as your stomach, liver, kidneys, heart, etc., are organs that can develop problems, so it is with your brain. Your brain, though extremely complex is STILL a natural fleshly organ. It is susceptible to harm, disease and even influence of medications and or drugs.
Secondly, science is not able too, and even Biblical teachers who have studied for years cannot tell you where the spirit or the soul of man, resides. Often times as teachers, we will speak as if it is from the heart, but when we become analytical, we may refer to the brain as the source. Let it suffice for this discussion that if your heart stops OR your brain stops, your spirit leaves the body and the natural body is considered dead! But – we DO know that the brain is the seat of our ability to not just think rationally, but to make choices in a clear and coherent way. Many may say, a person is thinking with their heart, but that in reality is just an anecdotal response, for the heart, pumps blood, it does not have the cells or capacity to think.
So I have laid this foundation for this reason; when you are no longer able to make clear and rational thoughts, or you are unable to make precise and determined choices, what is the state of your spirit?
I am not a scientist and so all I can tell you is what I have learned through research based on the experience in my life with my wife’s parents. Even though at the time they suffered their illnesses, we were living a thousand miles away, our family kept us informed of what was going on in the lives of our parents.
There were times when they were very lucid and could remember things clearly and there were times when they forgot the children who were right there with them, caring for them. Sometimes their behavior resorted back to a time in the distant past when they either weren’t Christian yet or were literal babes in the Lord. We can ALL remember when we did things either before accepting Christ and even while we were taking our first steps in the Lord! Some things it would be nice to completely forget!! And speaking of that, remember this Spiritual Principle: Psalm 103:10-12, “He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us.” God has forgotten our sins that we have repented of, it is a curse of humankind that we have trouble forgetting such an important aspect of our lives in Christ Jesus!
So here is something that I want you to consider; when the brain, for whatever reason is not functioning the way that it is meant too, and yet you have surrendered your life, heart and soul to God Almighty, through Christ Jesus by the leading and power of the Holy Spirit and you HAVE been born-again, spiritually renewed, you ARE His! Now one other point I have to make here and I am sorry to my Baptist and Calvinistic brothers and sisters, but I am not here to debate, “once saved, always saved” or “eternal security.” For the sake of this conversation that debate is NOT necessary!
You made a conscious, clear and concise choice to accept Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and you are willing to surrender your life, your will for His will in your life. Romans 6:22-23, “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
So for those who are concerned for their loved ones, I want to break down one of my favorite Scriptures that I use in this specific situation; but before you accuse me of taking this out of context, understand this; everything stated BEFORE this Scripture and those things stated AFTER this Scripture is referring to a clear and concise choice the writer is telling us we have to make. But he makes this fantastic statement: “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” – Ephesians 4:30. What the Apostle Paul is saying in summation is this; make all these choices “and do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God.” In other words, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit of God by WILLINGLY making the WRONG choices that he listed previously! You have to have a fully functioning brain to be able to make the wrong OR right choices, but here is the key: “by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.” Notice the word Paul uses, “were sealed!” That is past tense, meaning when you accepted Christ, you make all these previous choices that are listed so as NOT to grieve the Holy Spirit whom SEALED you! This implies because if you make the WRONG choices you WILL grieve the Holy Spirit and the Bible lists consequences for that action in other places! Again, remember though, you have to be ABLE to make choices to begin with of any kind and if your brain is not working properly, you have the assurance of being sealed! It is the same principle of an innocent dying before they are capable of accepting the gift of Jesus Christ for their lives. You have to be ABLE to accept the gift and understand what it is. If you have ALREADY accepted the gift and can no longer function in the natural because of disease or defect, at least your “seal” is intact!
The Scriptures abound with the importance of being able to make a concise and free choice. Our Heavenly Father because of His unconditional Love, will NEVER force someone to choose Him over the ways of the world. His love does not and cannot allow that. That was the whole point of Jesus CHOOSING to lay down His life on the cross. The Father didn’t make His Son do it, Christ HAD to do it willingly, the ultimate ACT of love for the ultimate GIFT of love!!
When we see a loved one who is suffering from some form of breakdown mentally because of disease or defect, we HAVE to fervently pray for them and continue to love them. Now, there were times when our family members caring for mom or dad had to be firm with them and mom or dad didn’t understand it, but like an innocent child, they still had to be corrected, but it was done out of love and respect for them and for others and not as an act of condemnation. So it is when we see or experience a brother or sister in Christ who is suffering in this way. We STILL have to protect the Body of Christ, but we do it with love and compassion, understanding that they most likely are not able to control their speech or actions and we do it without condemnation, understanding that they are STILL the Lord’s child and that they are STILL our brother or sister!
John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.”
Ephesians 1:13-14, “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.”
My hope is that you will continue in fervent prayer, continue to love, not blindly, but with understanding and without condition for those who have served the Lord faithfully, but are suffering in a way in which they have no control. As long as we and they have Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit dwelling within, there is ALWAYS hope and there most definitely is ALWAYS Grace!