Now, I understand… this may seem like a stretch to you. This may not be a correlation anyone else would make watching the same show as me… shoot, this may not be a correlation anyone else would make ever. Then again, my experiences with God don’t have to be the same as yours. Because my relationship with Him isn’t the same as yours.
Criminal Minds‘ recent episode, Magnum Opus, focused on a creepy (when is a CM episode NOT?) killer who drained victims of their blood. Later, we find out he is using the blood to paint (ick!) artwork. Artwork of the victim’s last moments alive. Seriously, who comes up with this stuff??? I digress.
Hemophilia is blood disorder, in which blood takes a long time to clot. Because of this, hemophiliacs can have a potentially harder time with even the most basic injuries. Though most hemophiliacs can live normal lives, perceptions of the disorder tend to be a lot worse. Think a paper cut could kill you. The severe form of the disease could potentially be that dangerous, though mild hemophiliacs may never have a bleeding problem.
Watching Criminal Minds, the unsub (killer) was in the end discovered to be a hemophiliac because the paint (blood) was missing white blood cells and DNA. This was someone who had a more severe case and learned how to inject white blood cells into any injury he got to help cause clotting.
So, what does a TV show’s hemophiliac serial killer have to do with the church?
Whether you have ever stepped into a church or not, you have probably experienced a wound from the church or one of its members. Some wounds may be small; like mild hemophilia, where you never experience bleeding. Other wounds are bigger; some even internal. The severe impact could be devastating. In the case of Criminal Minds, the FBI profile the killer “can’t bleed without a fear of dying.” Hemophilia can cause fear because of this risk.
Spiritual hemophilia works the same way: a fear of anything that could potentially cause harm. Just like perceptions of hemophilia may be based on the most severe form, spiritual hemophiliacs perceive barricading oneself from anything with a potential to inflict harm to be reasonable and necessary. Any new cut could be the one they cannot come back from.
When blood cannot clot, the wound cannot heal.
We know as the church, we are the body of Christ. Though the wounds inflicted may or may not be intended to cause pain, the pain is real, regardless. The challenge is protecting ourselves from the desire to become spiritual hemophiliacs.
Whether it was a person, a clique in the church, or an entire community of people who hurt us, let’s remember one thing. God loves us so much, He gave up His intimacy with His Son, to send Him (Jesus) down to be with us. To walk with us, teach us, love us, correct us, rebuke us, and ultimately, die for us. He loves us that much… & no matter who they are, no one else loves us like He does.
When I have been wounded, I have often felt the need to become a spiritual hemophiliac (though I would never have given it that diagnosis). Especially, it seems, when an accusation or attack was in complete contradiction of my character. See, it’s one thing to call me out on something true. But no one likes being lied about. I wanted to hide so I couldn’t be hurt. I wanted to put on football pads, in the form of walls that would not let anyone else in. At times in my life, I probably did retreat and fall back. I probably tried shooting some plasma into my wound to help it heal faster. Even if that plasma, in those instances, was worse for me. Bitterness. Gossip. Alcohol. Wrong relationships. Silent treatment to God. Lack of forgiveness in my heart.
See, spiritual hemophilia has a serious disadvantage because we are one body, as the body of Christ. Therefore, my injury hurts the entire body; just like my bitterness hurts the body. When we hurt each other, we bleed internally, into our own muscles and joints. We may look fine on the outside, but without medical help, we could die. The truth is, we have ALL been wounded. That’s the biggest obstacle with spiritual hemophilia; we are all wounded and we are all further inflicting pain.
Whether we limit our activities and involvement, withhold our tithe to show disdain, or limit our contact with others to minimize damage, we could be making things worse. The white blood cells help a hemophiliac’s blood to begin clotting. However, spiritually, the plasma may be bitterness or keeping records of wrongs. Staying away from the hypocrite doesn’t do anything for us, if it pushes us further from God. If our white blood cell injection or blood transfusion is anything other than Jesus, we have it wrong. So, what we think may be helpful to our healing could actually be keeping us sick.
Ultimately, we need to guard ourselves from spiritual hemophilia, individually and as the church.
Whew, I needed this. God gave me this analogy for a reason, as I’m learning to embrace my kinesthetic learning style. Things sink in for me when they become real, tangible. I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me. If you have solid examples of how we can keep from wounding each other, or help in the healing process, please think about sharing them. I’d love to hear your methods!