Recently on the Church Planting Forum that I moderate, one of the 100+ participating missionaries asked what we thought about the whole "Sanidad Interior" (inner healing) movement sweeping Latin America and rest of the world. My response to the forum was:
"Sanidad Interior" peaked as a movement/fad a few years ago here in Ecuador. While still alive and well in many evangelical circles (including Baptist churches), it is not receiving the same attention and emphasis it once was.
While we are not into the whole sanidad interior movement, I do have respect for those who seek to minister to the inner healing needed in the badly damaged lives of those coming to faith in Christ. I see sanidad interior as the church's attempt to respond to the inner wounds found within the Body of Christ.
While the common Third Wave/Renovación methods often employed to achieve this inner healing seem to go a bit beyond what I see in Scripture, I do acknowledge that "inner healing" is an important part of making disciples. Jesus, himself, was into healing and I have no problem with understanding the need for healing wounds of the soul.
One of the things we discovered early on in working with lay leaders in church planting is that they often come into the faith with an enormous weight of past baggage. While "saved", they still have emotional, psychological, family, and spiritual issues in their life that are deeply implanted and need the healing touch of the Holy Spirit.
To ignore or try to hide from them is clearly more harmful than to deal with them in the Light of Christ. These things have a way of coming back to haunt once the honeymoon period of first love in Christ begins to fade. These lay servant-leaders have all the desire to win others to Christ, disciple, and plant new churches, but are overwhelmed by their own inner wounds that continue to bleed.
Here we are as missionaries pushing disciple-making and church planting, and yet have no clue to all the inner turmoil going on in their souls. It isn't enough to tell them, "read your Bible and pray". They need loving, understanding, non-judgmental brothers/sisters in Christ to help them deal with the repressed pain in their lives.
Helping our brothers and sisters through some of their issues is something too few of us are willing to invest our time and selves into. It is very messy and time consuming, and frankly, way over most of our heads. And yet if we don't dirty ourselves by being there for them, these new believers and leaders usually quickly fade back into the masses huddled in some church pew where they can hide their issues and not have to deal with them.
Other than the occasional one-on-one counseling, the way we seek to address this whole issue in people's lives is to encourage the "one another's" in Scripture. We teach that at least 1/3 of every meeting be spent ministering one to another. These are open times of sharing, of being transparent, of taking our masks off, and being "real."
Of course for this to work, those teaching/leading, must set the example. We M's must be transparent, real, take off our own masks, and allow the local believers to minister to us in our own needs and struggles. This is threatening and intimidating for many of us, but if we don't do it, how are they ever going to learn how it is done and the powerful ministry this can be in the life of a new church?
So, sanidad interior is something very real that needs to be on our "making disciples" plate. The "how to" is something I would welcome hearing from others. Let's not throw out sanidad interior unless we have something better to offer in its place.