Gilead was a region in Biblical times known for its healing balms. People would travel miles for the soothing ointment found there offering relief for their suffering caused by various pains and wounds. During this time, God’s people were in a backslidden state chasing after other Gods and idols.
The Prophet Jeremiah was grieved to the core of the condition of God’s people facing destruction and judgment because they refused to turn away from empty things that made them soul and spiritually sick instead of turning to the Living God. In anguish, he cried out…
“Is there no Balm in Gilead? Is there no physician there? Why then is there no healing for the wound of my people?” (Jeremiah 8:22)
Are you sick? Are you hurting today? The Balm of Gilead is an illustration of the healing that is available through Jesus Christ. He is the Great Physician, the all-sufficient one who is able to heal and set free. Jesus wants to heal the wounds of your heart. Do you want to be made well? He is the ointment that can heal God’s children.
People we love and care about sometimes mistreat us, say unkind things to us or about us, verbally or physically abuse us, neglect, ignore, betray, reject, or abandon us. Our first reaction is almost always to personalize it. Please understand that people’s negative behaviors are not about us and everything to do with what is going on inside of them. We cannot react by taking ownership of their negative junk when they act out of their own unhealthy patterns that we are not responsible for. It will not only hurt us deeply but make us believe lies that affect how we see ourselves.
What we can do is take ownership and responsibility for our own junk, ask for forgiveness when applicable, and impose healthy boundaries to protect ourselves from allowing their actions to hurt us physically, spiritually, or emotionally. That just gives unhealthy people way too much power in our lives. And last time I checked, only God is allowed to have that kind of authority in our lives.
We can’t make people’s problems our problems. When we do that, they own us! Causing us to lose sight of who we are because we are so caught up in them and their drama. They will live rent free in our heads and consume us. And that only leads to bitterness, anger and resentments robbing us of our joy, peace and sanity. You are worth so much more.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”
Compulsive behaviors such as gambling, hoarding, pornography, shopping, overeating, the internet and social media obsession are emerging as behavioral addictions — people can depend on them as severely as alcohol or drugs. Some activities are so normal that it’s hard to believe people can become addicted to them.
Yet, the cycle of addiction can still take over, making everyday life a constant struggle that can lead to the same destructive behavioral patterns that wreak havoc on lives, families’ and relationships. Whatever the coping mechanism, it’s the byproduct of deeper seeded issues requiring attention, self-evaluation, and healing. There is some void or need being met through the compulsive behavior outside God’s design rooted in the flesh apart from the Spirit.
Whether substance or behavioral, addictions can appear to be bad, meaning they are not socially acceptable and can be very harmful – like immorality, gambling, excessive spending, compulsive eating; Or they can look very good and are socially acceptable but may be just as harmful- like perfectionism, work holism, caregiving, serving in ministry out of the wrong heart, staying busy, overly giving, etc. When people give and serve out of the wrong motive, they can overextend themselves and wear themselves out becoming bitter angry and resentful at those they serve and those in leadership.
On either side of the coin – the addiction or compulsive behavior comes down to this – I have to have this! I have to do this! There is an obsession – a compulsion at a root level that fills a need and their identity is very much on what they do. It is the most important thing in their lives. It defines them and rules them. It is bondage. But God can break the chains of bondage and heal all.
“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed.”