His healing ministry was an important part of his public persona and the chief reason for his fame (Mk 6:53-56, Mt 8:16).
Though Jesus touched some to cure them (Mk 7:31-35, 8:22-25)... therapeutic touching was not necessary for the miracle.
A common thought virus holds that hugs...and other kinds of non-sacramental therapeutic touching are holy...healing and life-giving.
And such non-sacramental touch is thought by many to have great value in ministry...though the value is rarely...if ever...specified.
This arbitrary notion about touching others in ministry creates serious boundary problems that result in loss of ministry... scandal...and ruined lives.
When church authorities receive complaints about these ministers...and send them for evaluation and treatment...the ministers almost always insist they were doing something ministerial.
However...they cannot justify their assertion from scripture because...
Jesus rarely touched anyone in his healing ministry. Because...
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Jesus drove home the point frequently...that it was a man or woman's own faith that performed the miracle -- that healing comes from within the believer (Mt 8:13, 15:21-28) not necessarily from any religious therapeutic touching (Mt 9:27-29).
Faith is so essential...and therapeutic touching so nonessential...that healing may even take place at a distance where touching is impossible (Mt 8:5, 15:28).
The scripture stories make it plain that without faith...nothing would happen at all.
And when therapeutic touching is used...it is only effective when it is based on faith.
Even secular medicine shows the necessity of faith in healing.
Even sanctifying rituals involving touch can become abusive when a minister does not respect the careful definitions and boundaries of the particular ministry such as... anointing the sick.
The priest in that anointing example continued to believe that his actions were ministerial even though he was sexually aroused by them...and that was what motivated him to encourage others to seek special anointings with him.
Such ministers fail to take into account that the healing ministry of Jesus took place entirely in public. So...
You can sort all the scenes in the scripture in which Jesus appears into two categories...how he behaved in public and how he behaved in private with his friends.
His actions are starkly different. Aren't they?
In private Jesus reclines...eats...and even argues with his friends (Mt 26:6ff, Mt 26:20ff).
Jesus' friends are physically free with him and anoint him with expensive oil...and Mary wipes the oil from his feet with her hair (Jn 12:3). Even Judas gives Jesus a friendly kiss to identify him for his enemies (Mk 14:44)
The first is to learn...
massage therapist understands perfectly well that
people will experience their bodies according to their unconscious and conscious emotional states.
Any massage therapist can tell you that people on the massage table often surprise themselves when they have unexpected emotional reactions to therapeutic touching of the the massage therapist...
The massage therapist is prepared...by her training ...to deal with the fact that ...the body stores unconscious emotional memories that are triggered by touch.
Even when the person being massaged reports that it feels wonderfully sensual...the massage therapist is rarely if ever sued for producing such reactions.
However...it's an entirely different story when people feel sexual or abused during a touching encounter with clergy.
So the second thing a minister needs to understand about touching others is...
This all boils down to...
While you may think your hugs and kisses are 'life-giving' therapeutic touching...they could be the death of your ministry if you don't know the emotional state of the person you are touching.
Make certain that your beliefs about touching others do not compromise your ministry.
Engage in self-supervision based on what you are understanding here.
Or you can...