SOUL TIES ~ IN MINISTRY
If another ~ who is as your own soul entices you secretly, saying, ‘Let us go and serve other gods’, which neither you nor your fathers have known, you shall not yield to him or listen to him, nor shall your eye pity him, nor shall you spare him, nor shall you conceal him. Deut. 13:6
I love Jesus and because I love Him, I want to reach out to those who need Him. When I do, I pray they will see Jesus’ Spirit in me and long for more of Him. These are good desires and goals. But the spiritual mechanics of making it all work in the context of ministry and people’s sinfulness, including my own, make it very complicated.
Do you have someone in your life that is drowning you? You just can’t give enough. You poured yourself out yesterday but today you’ll have to do it all over again. Your love and affirmation just doesn’t ‘stick’. Their needs are too profound. You know it. But you feel that if you pull away to save yourself from burning out, you will damage their view of God. Such is the nature of navigating soul ties in ministry.
It is far easier for a hurting person to seek the ‘Jesus in me’ than to seek Jesus for himself. I am Jesus with skin on. So while my motive may be to love them on behalf of Jesus so that they will turn to Him, they will latch on to me and live off my faith instead. Second hand faith is idolatry.
The goal of helping anyone hurting is to listen, empathize and comfort, take them to Jesus, and then know when to back away so He can speak to them. I must be teaching others how to interact with God through His Word and prayer; meditating, studying, applying scripture, so that they have the skills to necessary to live off the resources of Christ. Discipling doesn’t mean carrying. It means delivering them to the arms of Christ so He can carry.
If you have someone in your life that communicates exclusivity, be careful. “Only you really understand me.” “Only you make me feel better when I’m in crisis.” These are the foundations of soul ties and they must be broken.
You might be full of objections reading this. You’d say that you don’t want them to live in pain. You don’t want them to feel rejected. You enjoy seeing them happy. (But their happiness is a temporary mirage.) Your self-esteem is puffed up by their praise.
Soul ties are always complicated. As a helper and as one with a gift of mercy, I must live on Bread and Living Water for myself. As I eat and drink deeply of Jesus, I will not be dependent on my ministry to others to give me significance. And, I will be that much more in tune with others who seek to make me their counterfeit Jesus. Breaking soul ties, equipping them with spiritual skills and then backing away, is the most loving thing to do for their spiritual growth.
Make me whole so I can see other’s spiritual needs clearly. If I must wound to heal, give me the strength to handle others as You would. Don’t let me dry their tears too quickly if my comfort is an obstacle to them finding You. Amen