When Your Best Isn't Good Enough
By Phil Scovell
Being in a religious mood, I flipped on the satellite channels
and began thumbing the scanning button through the Christian TV
channels. After all, it was Sunday, and why not find a good sermon to
boost my feelings of Christianity. You know that old saying;
"Christianity is like driving a car with a busted gas gage. You never
know when you might run out so you need to pull in more often." I've
always believe that was true so I try to practice what I preach.
So, again, I'm surfing the Christian TV channels, jumping from
one to the next, listening for awhile, and then skipping to the next
channel in line. Oh, by the way, I had heard T D Jakes, about a week
before, preaching a super sermon on marriage. He was saying that
women think in circles and men think in straight lines. That might be
the name of a book he wrote; I don't know for sure. Anyhow, it was so
good and so down to earth, I thought I would set my alarm watch to
listen to him again the next Sunday. He was preaching on something
that I didn't feel was all that applicable to where I am at the moment
in my relationship to God, although I have heard him before and always
enjoy what I hear, but this time, as I keep trying to say, I went
Suddenly, I landed on a channel with a very interesting sermon
being preached by no one I recognized but I stopped to listen. He was
preaching right down where we all live, I always like that, and he was
using the idea of different colored flags to illustrated and emphasize
his points. I like his method so I focused on what he was teaching.
His basic theme was, regardless of circumstances life has dealt,
we, born again Christians, can overcome, and otherwise, not be
controlled by, the effects and woundedness such life events may have
brought our way.
As the sermon progressed, and each flag was identified, I became
more interested. I even commented to myself how this was one of the
very few times I felt somebody was down on my level and was teaching
something that would set people free, even Christians, who are still
living wounded lives due to tragic experiences in earlier life. It
was his conclusion that saddened me but I still gave him credit for
the teaching he offered because it was good.
For example, he said that we could consider trigger points,
things that upset us emotionally in current daily living, as flags the
pop up to warn us. He meant, and said as much as he preached, that a
current experience, say a bad day at work, where the boss climbed all
over you for something you didn't even do, or your feelings get hurt
due to a misunderstanding with a good friend, could trigger
woundedness from the past. Then, all of the sudden, those old
memories and bad painful feelings surface and you find yourself
discouraged or depressed, or worse, and tears result. Those who know
me and what I do, will understand why this teaching caught my
immediate attention. I pray with people who are suffering from such
earlier life experiences. So I really listened because I thought I
had found someone I could gleam more instruction from in order to
improve my prayer sessions with others in order for them to experience
liberty in Christ since their born again salvitic experience. Let me
explain more explicitly about what he was teaching.
For example, as I said, something happen at work. You are blamed
severely for something and that unjust accusation triggers emotional
pressures, perhaps even a unpleasant memory, and a red flag pops up.
In this case, he suggested, perhaps it was an abortion. You were
young, others put abnormal pressure on you due to your age, to get an
abortion. Perhaps even from your parents, who are Christian but
believed at the time, it is the best for their daughter personally.
Maybe you were only 14 or 15 years of age and they felt you could not
handle maturing into adult hood as well with a child as a full time
responsibility so they pushed for the abortion. This preacher wasn't
condemning a person in this situation, not even the girls parents, but
he was just trying to explain a helpless and out of control situation
that could happen to anyone, born again or not.
Then he describe yet another situation and identified it as
another flag popping up to warn us that woundedness is just under the
surface, with roots buried deep, and is going to effect us spiritually
in very painful ways.
He repeated this, each time changing the color of the flag which
popped up due to a circumstance beyond our control but results of
painful memories being triggered in current time, that is, every day
life experience upon which we have no control. These various flags,
therefore, were indicators of woundedness from other earlier events
which had not yet been healed simply because of the nature of the
events. So far; so good.
Finally he said, we, as Christians, can hold up these flags, when
they pop up to warn us of impending old wounds and pain that are about
to surface, and taken them collectively, or individually, and hold
them up to the Lord, relating the event that has cause us so much
suffering, and turn them over to the Lord once and for all. This was
when my spirits fell. I continued listening to see if he would cover
what we do when, after offering up the flags that indicates our
woundedness from the past, the pain doesn't go away. He didn't even
refer to such a thing happening, which is quite common, but rather
concluded his message. It was good but not good enough. He left out
what Jesus can really do about just such life experiences. So let me
briefly tell you what Jesus can do.
In most pastoral and psychological therapeutic counseling
approaches, basic human philosophies would be employed to assist the
suffering person from the emotional and mental pain with which they
have been living. This woundedness may be a year old, 10 years old,
or literally decades old. I have prayed with many who have lived with
their woundedness for well over 50 years and although they are well
Biblically grounded Christians of faith, they have lived with the
guilt and fear and grief and shame and confusion, nearly their entire
lives. "Why," you may ask, because I most certainly ask, "hasn't the
church addressed these people?" We have. We have told them that we
cannot help them and that they must see a professional in order to get
at the root of their pain. So off we send them to, at the least, a so
called Christian counselor and at the most, a doctor, psychologist, or
preferably, a psychiatrist. If none are available, we send them to a
doctor who doesn't even believe in Christ as His Lord and Savior and
expect them to help this "Christian." God for give us. Then
treatment, as it is called, begins.
The first session of psychological therapy is conducted so the
counselor can get an idea of why, and where, they are hurting. Of
course, if the wounded person has been traumatized to the degree that
actual memory events has been suppressed, just talking won't find that
hidden event. Oh, sure, after several therapy session, talking may
tap around the outer edges of something we can't see, normally making
the emotional suffering of the person worse, and it might even totally
mislead the counselor into diagnosing the wrong problem. That, in
fact, happened to me once.
The therapist I went to, due to just talk, led me into an area
where I was nearly convinced, after having a completely normal and
happy childhood, that all my current adult issues were due to my
mother molesting me. For three long weeks, I was emotionally and
mentally trashed out and everything got worse at the time.
Fortunately, he was wrong and Jesus was able to show both of us the
absolute truth. This was when we focused more on praying together in
agreement than psychological methodology. I had not been molested by
my mother as a child; I have been lied to by a demonic infiltrating
lying spirit. That lie was allowed to be buried in childhood memories
for literally 50 years before it was exposed for what it was, a lie, a
diabolical lie. Strangely enough, the lie was allowed to surface in
my life 25 years after it had been implanted in my mind, due to a
tragic event of total rejection, and it nearly destroyed me for
several years. By the way, that is what the Enemy does; he is there
to kill, steal, and to destroy you. Oh, sure, you will go to Heaven
as a Christian, but the Enemy is going to do everything he can to
destabilize your relationship with God, robbing you of any possible
happiness, and making you emotionally, the most miserable person on
the planet. You will receive lots of help, too, mostly from
Christians and self appointed called church leaders.
Let's return and expand upon the deep woundedness of the
leftovers of abortion of our imaginary woman.
The pastor illustrated such a woman's situation, as I mentioned,
by using a red flag to explain how we could, and should, be set
totally free upon being triggered emotionally from something current
but has its roots in the past.
Now, let say, the young lady who had the abortion is 48 years
old. She has had several children, by two or three husbands, and now
even has some grandchildren. Yet she still finds the guilt, at times,
more than she can handle. Her pastor is only theologically trained,
never took a psychology course in his life, and has only read one or
two such books by Christian psychologists since taking his first
pastoral position. He, thus, feels incapable of helping this woman to
obtain some semblance of normality in her life because it isn't a
spiritual problem or so he believes.
Hearing about a Christian psychologist, he recommends this lady,
from his church, go to him instead. After all, he, the pastor, isn't
trained. Right? Apparently we must resort to psychological therapy
when we think the Bible has nothing to say about what the Holy Spirit
can, and cannot, do today.
The woman, now feeling worse than ever in her entire life, makes
an appointment. They naturally cover all the same ground she has
covered with the pastor, and the pastor before him, and even one or
two licensed Christian therapist along the way. They all did the same
thing, that is, they talked. They offered lots of encouraging Bible
verses and Christian literature that is available by others who suffer
from the same, or similar, woundedness in order to help lift her
spirits. Although the psychologist helped, somewhat, she eventually
stops going. After all, the cost of all this talking is busting her
bank account and she'd rather be spending money on her grandchildren
than her mental and emotional, maybe even spiritual problems, too.
For that matter, it is beginning to appear that nobody really cares,
or if they do care, they can't seem to help her get anything resolved
or even point her in the right direction.
As things worsen, she finally somehow is able to find a Christian
psychiatrist. Maybe he can help. He pretty much begins where
everyone else did so it is a total repeat of all the facts, as she
recalls them, to the current time. The guilt is still there, the
shame, and the utter confusion. This doctor, however, has a leg up on
the others that came before him; he can prescribe medications that
may, or may not, help alleviate her emotional problems. So, due to
her poor ability to sleep well at night, he first gives her a sleep
medication. Due to her sadness and lack of emotional stability, he
prescribed an antidepressant because it is obvious that she has some
type of chemical imbalance. This is based upon his psychological
training by secular humanist, political left wing liberals,
UFOlogists, believers in the Bermuda Triangle, Atlantis, Adam and Eve
were space travelers, and in short, none of whom were born again
Christians with Christian principals, unless, of course, he obtained
his degree from a Christian university. In that case, unfortunately,
after all the Bible reading and references to other Christian so
called psychological professionals to which the woman is required to
read, and believe, he informs her that this is something she will have
to deal with throughout the rest of her life. Well, no fooling, Jack!
Thanks for nothing except the bill. I mean, the poor woman has so far
lived most of her entire life with this same painful guilt and fear.
She then is told the antidepressant will work but if it doesn't, there
are literally hundreds of others to try that will, or should, work for
her. Ain't that wonderful? Praise God! Be patient, she is told,
because it takes three to four weeks for the antidepressant he has
prescribed, to get into the blood stream. She will, therefore, have
to be patient and just live with her suicidal feelings until the drugs
start to work. Yes, there may very well be side effects but if there
are, we will adjust your medications accordingly so don't worry about
a thing. Easy for him to say; he isn't depressed. "Wait a minute.
How many antidepressants did you say I might have to try before
hitting the right one that works for me?" No wonder the highest
suicide rates in the United States, besides police officers, is
psychologists and psychiatrists; they don't believe what they have
learned any more than their patients they are trying to convince what
they have been taught is the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but
the truth, the Bible notwithstanding.
About this time, I am reminded of the woman who came to Jesus,
after spending all she had, in order to experience healing. So, let's
read about her life in Luke 8:43-48.
"43 And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had
spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
44 Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and
immediately her issue of blood stanched.
45 And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they
that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press
thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
46 And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that
virtue is gone out of me.
47 And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling,
and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the
people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed
48 And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath
made thee whole; go in peace."
So where are we now with our imaginary woman? The woman is still
in church, still crying by the end of every service, living alone
because being married and having children has not worked, getting
drunk far too many times in years passed hasn't helped either as she
tried treating herself, and then she had to pay to attend alcoholic
classes twice a week and was forced to stand up and admit, "My name is
Jo Ann and I am a recovering alcoholic," even though she hasn't had a
drink for 19 years. She still has the desire though, and always will,
according to the professionals teaching and leading the classes she
attends, and she is getting to the point she believes God just doesn't
really love her any more; if he ever did in the first place. Is there
a God? After all this poor woman has faced in her life, I'm beginning
to wonder myself. She has spent all, emotionally, mentally,
financially, and spiritually, but has not found the answer she so
One day, in desperation, and after smashing right through her 19
year sobriety, and getting so drunk, she passes out, she awakens with
the worse headache and hangover she ever experienced. Hours later,
after a bottle of aspirin, and a roll of antacids, she finally feels
half alive. Sitting down at her computer, she dials up a search
engine, types in some words, forgetting instantly what they were, and
a very strange website shows up that looks suspiciously new age to her
as a fundamental, Bible believing, born again Christian. She begins
to read all the personal articles and testimonies; some even sounding
a lot like her own situation she has suffered. Could it be possible?
Could she have hit the mother load? She picks up the phone and dials
the number. As she dials, she wonders how much they are going to
charge for their "services," although the website insists they don't
put a price on prayer, she finds that impossible to believe.
In her first prayer session, she learns the sessions are called
prayer sessions, because the man prays with her and isn't trying to
figure out a diagnosis. In fact, the man even says right up front, he
doesn't care about a diagnosis because Jesus already knows her problem
and all he does his pray with her. She's told him her story and from
that point, they talk and pray and talk and pray and talk and pray. A
lot of it is based upon how she feels at any given moment of the time
they spend in prayer. In other words, the prayer session moves along
on an invisible track as the man continually punctuates the session
with prayers, stopping occasionally to ask how she feels, and then he
keeps asking Jesus, and the Holy Spirit, as if he is relying upon the
Lord to do the impossible work instead of his educational training, to
show them both what He, Jesus, sees and knows. As more prayer and
feelings change, so does the focus. No, they don't get it all settle
in the first prayer session but the woman hangs up feeling lighter
than ever before and determined to return to find out the rest. Can
it be true? Does she feel different? Is that truly hope she feels
inside? Does the Holy Spirit really play that sort of a part in a
person's life? I thought the Holy Spirit just came to dwell inside a
Christian to confirm that person was save; born again. Right? Sure,
that's all. Yet she feels different and that bothers her because she
has been taught not to live by her feelings because feelings are
misleading. Funny, though, the Enemy has feelings and emotions and he
thinks and tries scaring the crap out of even strong Christians, so
why is the Holy Spirit, and even Jesus, for that matter, feelingless
and emotionless? It beats me but just maybe, she thinks, something
real is going on.
In subsequent prayer session with this unskilled, uneducated,
layman, she eventually discovers the truth about her woundedness.
Although she was 14 years old at the time and new better, she had been
groomed, and consequently seduced, by the youth pastor in the small
church she and her family attended. Her father was well known and
well liked in the church as the head of the board of elders. Her
mother directed the choir and all of the rest of the music performed
in the church. Her oldest brother had just gone off to Bible college
and her entire family was well respected and admired as some of the
most spiritual Christians in the church ministry. No one knew, of
course, that the married young man who became their youth pastor, had
done the same thing in the last three churches, that he had now done
again in this church and again, with a 14 year young girl whom he
groomed slowly over time and then began having sexual intercourse with
her. When she realized she wasn't feeling well, she went to her
mother and told her everything because the guilt was just too great.
When her father learned of it, he and his wife both were devastated.
Their daughter seduced by a youth pastor of their own church? How
could that have happened. Was their daughter sexually promiscuous?
Why did she give into to this man. How much of a part, after all, did
their daughter play in this tragedy? Besides everything else, she
wasn't old enough to become a mother, drop out of school, and try and
get a job. What would the neighbors think? Forget that. Besides, we
don't hardly know our neighbors. What would the pastor and the rest
of the church think about their daughter and about them. They were
leaders in the church. Sure, they could let her have the baby but
they'd have to send her away because if people here saw she was
pregnant, well, it would ruin their Christian testimony. So they
couldn't send her off. There was only one thing left to do; she had a
quiet, hushed, abortion. Nobody but her family would know. Except
the Enemy, of course, but he never bothers Christians because they are
born again Bible Believers. Right? Sure.
Now, for 50 years, she doubted her salvation. She doubted the
Lord could ever loved her for what she had done to her baby. She was
the only divorced person in her family out of five children. Neither
of her two sisters had succumb to such a horrible shameful plight.
Her dad often reminded her of that until the day he died and Her
mother just always looked sad and rarely could think of anything to
say to her daughter until the day she died, too. Not much different
treatment than what she received from various pastors, church members,
and so called friends. She had ruined her own life and she knew it.
Now, however, something made her feel as if all that wasn't
Over a handful of prayer sessions, this now 64 year old woman,
discovered that she had believe a lie all of her life, that is, it was
her fault. She knew better. Right? She should have resisted this
older young man's advancements and enticements. Right? She learned,
through the intercessory ministry and prayers of the Holy Spirit in
her behalf, that the young man never did love her; that was a lie, and
a lie which, at her young age, she truly believed. When the question
came up during a prayer session, "But why did I do it? I knew better
as a Christian," the man with whom she had been praying, who also
called himself just a witness of God's grace, prayed and asked the
Lord to give her an answer that she could understand. The woman
laughed out loud when she heard. "Of course," she said, "that makes
sense. Jesus said I was deceived by the Enemy from beginning to end."
That was true, of course, and the bondage she had been living under
for 50 years suddenly vanished in a single thought of transformation.
Her mind was renewed.
Still, there was the abortion itself. She was guilty, after all,
wasn't she? I mean, she hadn't been raped by the youth pastor, or had
she? She had been so confused at the time her parents pushed for her
to get an abortion, she had no idea what was right and what was wrong.
During a prayer session, therefore, she learned from the Lord that the
youth pastor had been responsible and he had deliberately confused her
so he could get what he wanted. Of course a 25 year old man didn't
love a 14 year old girl more than he did his own wife but that's what
she had been led to believe. Fear and personal shame by her own
parents had caused them to make the wrong decision. After all, they
had a spiritual reputation to protect and if that was true, they
needed to protect their daughter as well. So they did the only thing
they knew to do and pushed their daughter into having an abortion.
Besides, she was still a minor. She was given no choice.
Finally the day came when she saw what Jesus saw in this
situation. He had truly forgiven her all those many years ago as a
little girl when she had prayed and asked for forgiveness of what she
had done. He shared with her His eternal and infinite wisdom in why
her parents reacted the way in which they did and she felt sorry for
her parent then. Strangely enough, she even felt sorrow, and
forgiveness, for the young man who had deliberately misled and used
her for his own purposes. She didn't know how but the forgiveness and
release was more real than anything she had ever experienced, out side
of her salvation, that is.
I have been walking with the Lord over 50 years. I have heard
over 50,000 sermons in my life, and preached a few of those, too. I
have traveled and met thousands of Christians. Some have listened to
me preach in person, some on the radio, and some have read my
testimonies of my own healing through my website. Others have never
met me but we have literally prayed hundreds of hours over the
telephone; some even from overseas. I have read and seen Christian
counselors, so called, using all the psychological techniques they
have learned and even some that pushed hurting Christians into worse
emotional and mental shape than they were before. I have heard
Christians using new age techniques, mystical methods, hypnosis, forms
of self hypnosis, theatrical methods whereby you picture yourself on a
stage, with all the players on the stage, and you walk through the
memory with the Christian counselor and then you modify the memory and
make it turn out perfect. Bingo! You are emotionally healed as a
result. Yeh, sure. I have seen, so called, Christians teaching
substitutionary techniques whereby you trade the pain for God's grace
and visualizing such images in your thoughts. I have personally tried
all of these methods trying to gain freedom from my own emotional pain
and suffering. I'm talking about daily creative meditation
techniques, Transcendental Meditation, (TM), positive thinking,
pastoral counseling, positive affirmation, Bible confession up the
ying yang, self help programs that would choke a horse, LSD usage,
theatrical modification techniques, Christian spiritual visual
methods, dream therapy, Alpha wave control techniques, even total
Scripture saturation procedures, and I even went to Bible college and
became involved in the ministry as an adult, traveling, later
pastoring, and even, believe it or not, Christian counseling, God help
us, in order to bury my fears and guilt. Nope, they didn't work; none
of them. Some claim they feel better after such techniques but I
don't want to be better; I want to be healed. Isn't it supposed to be
done when Jesus is finished? I always thought so but I was taught
otherwise. Besides, some things Jesus and the Holy Spirit, and not
even God Himself, can do any longer in this world because all his
mighty works died out with the last apostle; whoever that was. What I
have discovered, is prayer which puts you, the hurting person, in
touch with Jesus the Christ; The Healer. Sure it sounds scary. That
is because of all the garbage you have heard over your life by people
you trusted but who didn't know even what you knew nor did they really
care. They can't, you see, because they, too, are afraid of what
might surface in their own life if they get to fiddling around with
people who are wounded and weak and next to worthless Christians. Of
course nobody ever says it that way but you know it is true and so do
they. It is time to stop screwing around and time to pray; submitting
ourselves one to another in the fear of God.
"18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be
bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be
loosed in heaven.
19 Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as
touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of
my Father which is in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am
I in the midst of them," (Matthew 18:18-20).
Safe Place Fellowship
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