• Quote of the Day

    “Surely the reason Christ said, ‘Father, forgive them,’ was because even in that terrible hour He knew that this was the message He had come through all eternity to deliver.”
    —Elder Jeffrey R. Holland

Hope and Healing in Recovering from Abuse

In something of a follow-up to Elder Richard G. Scott’s last general conference address, the Ensign has published an article called “Hope and Healing in Recovering from Abuse.”

Written by Sister Sarah E. Miller, a psychotherapist in the United Kingdom, this article centers around the hope and healing to be found in the Savior’s Atonement. However, it also casts an unflinching eye on the hurt and suffering that result from abuse, and it offers some practical suggestions for overcoming them. Sister Miller has advice for both the abused and those who care about them. For instance, she says:

“To help the abused person forgive, leaders, friends, and family members can acknowledge the gravity of the offense, allowing the innocent person to work through his or her anger and pain. Much abuse involves the denial of feelings and truth, so people who have been abused need to be heard and have their feelings validated if they are to truly recover and regain self-worth. When the person who has been abused is pressured to forgive, he or she may feel an added measure of guilt, taking the blame not only for the abuse itself but also for being unable to forgive. Allowing the person time to forgive can be a lengthy process, but it is critical to healing.”

The article presents a realistic but hopeful outlook on the situation faced by victims of abuse. For them, it offers ways of understanding how they can see God’s love and be healed through Christ’s Atonement. For those who know a victim of abuse, it offers ways of understanding their difficulties and giving them the support they need in order to eventually be healed.

Advertisements

The Spiritual Component of Healing

It’s rare that the Church magazines publish an article by an emeritus General Authority, and it’s even rarer that they would publish a second or third article by the same emeritus General Authority. For this reason, it’s remarkable to see in this month’s Ensign the article “The Spiritual Component of Healing” by Elder Alexander B. Morrison. (His last article, “Myths about Mental Illness,” was published in October 2005.)

Reading Elder Morrison’s words on topics such as this is always a treat. In this article, he challenges some of our conceptions of what healing entails and what the role of suffering is in our lives. Here are some of his assertions:

  • Priesthood holders who give healing blessings are subject to the will of God.
  • The gift of healing is manifested in different ways. It could be permanent relief from suffering, or it could be “added strength, understanding, patience, and compassion.”
  • Medicine and faith do not conflict. Faith to be healed often includes faith to seek professional help, and “faith” is not a substitute for prescribed medication.
  • Faith is a prerequisite of the spiritual component of healing and brings peace, which persists “even if the medical, psychological, or social dimensions of illness—be they physical or mental in origin—remain as a ‘thorn in the flesh.’”
  • “There is no intrinsic value in suffering in and of itself. … To suffering we must add compassion, empathy, patience, humility, and a willingness to submit our will to that of God.”

The entire article is well worth reading. It made me reflect on my own experiences with healing. I remember giving blessings on my mission in which I was prompted to tell people to heed medical advice, as well as ones in which I was prompted to tell people that they would have strength to endure their afflictions, including some they had not yet  begun to suffer.

In any event, I find Elder Morrison’s words to ring true. What do you think?