The path to healing can by mysterious, so we try to remain humble and flexible as we give guidance. Here are principles that guide us as we seek healing for sexually trafficked women.
We are not the ones who heal
We have a responsibility to provide a safe environment for healing to occur, and the victim must be motivated to take courageous steps forward. However, at the core, the mystery of healing occurs in the realm where the psychological, physical, spiritual, biological elements converge. In that mysterious place, it is God who heals. We might assist in making life less painful, but true healing is not of ourselves. Ultimate healing is found in our abiding in Jesus Christ for our innermost value.
We are all in need of healing
Obstacles to healing occur when we present ourselves as the strong helping the weak. We create a relational exchange where we (the apparent strong) are helping them (the obviously weak). This creates an “us” and “them” mentality and this facade cannot be maintained — the truth is that sexual brokenness runs rampant through our culture and the church. It is with great skepticism that we should meet anyone who presents themselves as if they have not played a part.
We long for true delight
Author and counselor Dan Allendar refers to delight as the “currency of the kingdom of God.” We all long for delight. Not a superficial delight, but a delight that is received in spite of our fallenness. A delight that does not dismiss our failure, but acknowledges it along with the consequences of that fallenness and in spite of that, sees an eternal kingdom purpose in us that we can barely imagine. It is the picture of delight that we see in the book of Zephaniah. In the first two chapters we see God in the context of war due to sin. The image is unnerving because of mankind's obvious powerlessness to God the warrior. Then in chapter three, as we anxiously await some confirmation, we receive much more than that. We receive delight.
Our divine role as rulers of this earth is confirmed by our divine responsibility of work
Work affirms the dignity that God intended us to have. It allows us to enter into the relationships He established between ourselves and creation. In exercising that dominion, we are affirmed in our place on this earth. When someone has experienced a loss of dignity, we believe that God can use work to reestablish the dignity which we were created. In this process healing and greater discovery of oneself can occur.
Space and rest can assist in renewing the soul
From creation and the establishment of the Sabbath to Jesus going out into the wilderness, we see that space and rest help us come into contact with our soul. Busyness can be an effective distraction, but rest and solitude play an important part in our healing and in understanding deeper issues about ourselves.
True healing encompasses relationships with ourselves, God, others, and creation
True healing is not limited to how we view ourselves, but includes relating rightly to God and the pursuit of a redemptive relationship with all of creation. Healing occurs as we gain a more accurate relationship with who we are, how we relate to others, how we relate to animals and creation, and how we relate to God. In this assessment and pursuit, animals can be helpful in assessing and healing these relationships.