“Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. ‘You also were with Jesus of Galilee,’ she said.“But he denied it before them all. ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about,’ he said.” –Matthew 26: 69-70
“Arise, shine; for your light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and deep darkness the people, but the Lord will arise over you, and His glory will be seen upon you. The Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.” -Isaiah 60: 1-3
“We know we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent His Son to be the Savior of the world.” –1 John 4: 14
We live an age of relativism and virtual reality. Post-modern ethics make truth a matter of interpretation, and computer-generated role games blur the line between real and simulated violence. Situational standards change according to the perspective of the observer. Like a bowl of silicone gel, truth morphs per the container. Today perception is reality.
Denial is very powerful throughout our North American 21st Century society. It keeps us looking for esoteric reasons and solutions to the hardness and rebellion in our young people, when answers are easily found in the disintegration of the American family, lack of unifying societal values, and moral degradation in the media. Denial allows an American President to absolve himself from moral culpability by splitting hairs over subjective word definitions. On a personal level, denial causes us to seek rationalizations for our own dysfunctions by shopping for the “right church” to meet our critical criteria, rather than facing our own darkness before God.
We have found denial to be a pervasive hindering influence in heart-healing counseling as well. It reinforces the habit of operating without emotional and intellectual awareness of one’s own motivations and behavior. When denial is in effect, wounded persons may persistently believe lies or insist that evil is normal. Often they seem unable to appropriate truth for their own lives, though freely admitting that same truth’s efficacy in the lives of others.
For example, many times we need to explain to individuals that it does not “honor” a parent to cover up that parent’s abuse and excuse his/her damaging behavior. We counter this tendency with the statement that one way we honor our parents is by acknowledging their tremendously important influence on the course of our lives. To do this, we all must be willing to reflect back on our childhoods as they really were, not as we wish they were.
Though denial may be part of God’s survival kit for a youngster trapped in an abusive family, it must be surmounted for heart healing to take place. The idealized reality that the injured one needed to believe in as a child is confronted, at God’s appointed time (1 Corinthians 13: 11). When ready, he looks at denial constructs obscuring painful memories and unacceptable feelings. This denial may conceal parts of the adult child that have been cut off from conscious awareness.
Breaking denial means risking honest relationship with the counselor and with God. For many, this is the first time they have allowed themselves to be exposed. By bravely facing the truth about themselves in front of another, they start practicing trust, which is the key to living in harmony with others and with Christ.
When early abuse, especially sexual, has been prolonged and severe, denial can have a demonic component, having been used by the perpetrator as a form of protective programming so he wouldn’t be caught. If that happened, the spirit of denial can hold a whole fortress of lies and false beliefs in place. To address this, the adult child must come to the point of willingness to allow evil strongholds to be demolished, before he can command the spirit of denial to come out and leave his life. This can be very frightening for the injured one, who must be approached with caution and gentleness. The reason is that denial, even with its demonic component, may have been instrumental in keeping the personality intact through traumatic and dangerous experiences. In fact, DID itself can be seen as a complex advanced denial system.