Traumatic Experiences

In my last blog, I shared how prevailing experiences in our past create flesh patterns or mental strongholds. We assimilate them into our minds from the environment we were raised in over time. Even when raised in the same community we respond differently, because each person is unique and we interpret events from our own perspective. More deeply embedded are mental strongholds that result from traumatic experiences, such as incest, rape, mental and emotional abuse. For instance, children can blame themselves for years because of their parent’s divorce.

It took me years to realize that we are not in bondage to past traumas. We are in bondage to the lies we believed because of the trauma. I’m no good. God doesn’t love me. It’s all my fault. Such lies can stay with us our entire lives unless we are transformed by the renewing of our minds. Becoming a new creation in Christ didn’t delete in our minds what we have believed in our past. It is tragic when the Church disavows this. I have heard many say, “We don’t have to deal with our past. It was all taken care of at the cross.” That is a half-truth usually stated by all those who are against any kind of counseling that meddles with their past.

Positionally it is completely true. We are new creations in Christ, but if we want to experience that we have to repent, which literally means a change in mind, and that doesn’t happen instantly. The fact that we can is the good news. Now that we are alive in Christ we can replace those lies with the truth, and the truth will set us free.

For some people the past is so painful that they just don’t want to face it, which is understandable, but unfortunate. Secular counseling digs around in the past for the purpose of gaining some understanding why someone is struggling. However, all the analysis in the world doesn’t set anyone free. It just explains why they are all screwed up, and tries to help them cope with the disastrous effects of traumatic experiences. What if you could visit the past with Christ as your guide in order to resolve the problem through genuine repentance and faith in God? You would be set free. That is where we are headed.

Dr. Neil

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