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There are Three Basic Ingredients to Soul Food
Love, Honesty and Compassion

LOVE

Love, in our culture today can be easily misunderstood. Having sex is so often described as "Making love", and that is a whole other issue we would be happy to discuss with you by e-mail. Suffice to say the kind of love that helps a person with an eating disorder heal, has nothing to do with having sex. In fact, having sex without the love and commitment of marriage between a man and woman will intensify the struggle of an eating disorder, because you have added one more painful confusing component: Sex outside of God's plan.

A clear illustration of the love that helps heal eating disorders is found in Corrie ten Boom's book, The Hiding Place. Corrie was a young girl confined to a concentration camp in Germany in World War II because she was a jew. She and her family members were cruelly mistreated, some of them died from starvation,others were murdered. Corrie had the incredible experience of meeting one of the prison guards who had mistreated her and her sister Betsie in the concentration camp. She was in Germany after the war and was speaking on the theme of forgiveness. After the message, the guard got in line to speak with Corrie, and she recognized him. When he reached her, the guard told her that he had become a Christian and that he had hoped for the opportunity of asking forgiveness from some of those he had abused. "Will you please forgive me, Fraulein." he asked. Corrie said that she did not think she could do it, but that in prayer she was reminded of Romans 5:5 -"the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." (NKJV). Confessing her inability to love the man, but being willing to be a channel of God's love, if God could work such a miracle in her heart, she reached out her hand to grasp his. To her surprise, as their hands made contact she felt a powerful surge of God's love flow through her to him. At that moment, healing came to them both. Love of this quality, of this depth, that can only come from God, through you, can help to heal those struggling with eating disorders.

HONESTY

We also need to be completely honest people and, as the Bible directs us, to speak the truth in love. Now, hearing the truth about an eating disorder can be painful. An eating disorder is a sin against God and your own body. It can be fatal. Worse yet, is the fact that truth not tempered with love can be very cruel, and harmful. Still, love that is not honest can hardly be called love. In his book,"Caring Enough to Confront", David Augsburger says, "Love me enough to tell me the truth!" Truth told in love will penetrate the heart and soul, whereas truth spoken with condemnation will often be met with defensiveness and denial. As our example Christ came not to condemn or judge the world (Matt. 7:11) but that the world might find salvation and be made safe and sound through Him (John 3:17).

People with eating disorders are tormented by many false beliefs
(no one loves me - I'm a bad person - Iím ugly - Iím fat, etc,)
Proverbs 23:7 explains it fairly well:"As he thinks in his heart, so is he".

Healing becomes a matter of:
(1) changing the heart of a person with an eating disorder through his or her soul.
(2) understanding that this is not something we can do without God's help.

Only God can transform people (Romans 12:2). To receive God's help and power to transform a person with an eating disorder we need (Food for the Soul)to be reading, hearing, studying, meditating on and digesting God's Word, fellowshiping with other Christians, worshiping, listening to Christian music, etc. This is the only way we will every be THOROUGHLY EQUIPPED TO SPEAK THE TRUTH IN LOVE.

COMPASSION

Along with love and honesty we need to be able to feel compassion for the person struggling against an eating disorder. Compassion grows from empathy, or the ability to identify with what the person is going through or the intensity of their struggles. Compassion and empathy produce a bond that undermines the aloneness people struggling against an eating disorder feel. These people begin to feel their burden lightened because they are sharing it with someone who understands. Perhaps this is why so many patients are healed through the help of those who are struggling or have struggled against the same problem. However, we do not need to struggle against an eating disorder to build a bond of compassion and empathy. We only have to allow the person struggling against an eating disorder to express his or her feelings in an atmosphere of unconditional love and understanding. When we truly know how another thinks and feels, and when the other validates the accuracy of our perception, empathy and compassion exist. We can reduce the burden and allow healing to take place.

CONCLUSION

All three, love, honesty and compassion are essential to the help and healing of people struggling against eating disorders. These ingredients work together to bring about the powerful impact of healing. One cannot do the job alone. Just as a cake needs certain ingredients, the attributes of love, honesty and compassion are essential to the healing of people struggling against an eating disorder. If we do not have all three, we are apt to do more harm than good.

On the other hand, Christ stated that love is the greatest of all virtues (Matt. 22:39,40).Without love truth becomes unnecessary and compassion impossible, for unless a person believes you truly care, that person will not tell you his or her deepest innermost feelings
and pain - or believe any truth you have to share.

How can we acquire these attributes? The first thing we have to do is recognize that we are somewhat deficient in them and become dedicated to becoming more loving, honest and compassionate. Christ directs us in Matt 6:33 to "Seek first His kingdom and His rghteousness, then all of these things will be given to us....


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