Negative emotions damage both Church life and familial bonds
By Deborah Gyapong
Photo Caption: Veteran leader in the Catholic charismatic renewal on the French side, Henri Lemay led a workshop Feb. 10-11 for those hoping to minister to others seeking freedom from toxic emotions.
Toxic emotions can destroy a parish as well as a family, says Henri Lemay, a veteran of the Catholic charismatic renewal in French-speaking Canada.
Those emotions can also cause physical illness or make illnesses worse, he said.
Lemay led a workshop Feb. 10-11 to train people in how to help others become free of bitterness, self-hatred, jealousy, resentment and other toxic emotions.
Sponsored by the Holy Spirit Healing Clinic, an outreach of Ottawa’s charismatic Catholic community Lift Jesus Higher, the workshop attracted people from parishes across the diocese.
There are three components that keep people stuck in a toxic emotion, he explained. “One is the emotion itself; the second is sin; and the third is the possibility an evil spirit is involved.”
“If you deal with the sin and the evil spirit, all that’s left is the emotion,” Lemay said. “The emotion, without the sin and the evil spirit component, is like a deflated balloon.”
“When you get rid of the sin and the evil spirit, you can receive the fruit of the Holy Spirit in you,” he said.
Lemay zeroed in on the toxic emotion of bitterness.
“Many people have not forgiven others,” he said. “They harbor resentment against them. They would like to take revenge.”
A spirit of bitterness often has other spirits connected to it that act like armor, protecting it, he said.
“The spirit of bitterness enters us through unforgiveness,” he said. “He encourages us to never forgive, neither ourselves nor others.”
“If I listen to this spirit and do not forgive, I grant him a place in me,” Lemay said. “I become his place, his house, for him and the spirit of unforgiveness. Once inside, the Principality of bitterness settles in by bringing in each of his demons one at a time. First, he ensures unforgiveness is firmly in place.”
Other related spirits are resentment, vengeance, anger and rage, hatred, violence and murder, he said.
Similarly, self-hatred is a principality with many other evil spirits associated with it, including self-pity, attention-seeking, fear, idolatry and perfectionism, he said. Lemay called the related spirits the “armor” of the principality that protect and conceal it.
“This spirit of self-hatred uses his armor to keep me from discovering who I am,” Lemay said. “He uses these weapons: self-pity, self-rejection, self-hatred, competition, pride or vanity, and false piety.”
Lemay gave practical suggestions on how to prayerfully guide people seeking ministry to identify their toxic emotions; lead them to repentance and to renounce the sin and the spirit in question. Ministry involves welcoming in the Holy Spirit to bless and to heal.
“All of this can be totally removed from a person’s life,” he said. “Once the self-hatred is gone, you don’t have to feel that way about yourself anymore. You’re completely free to love yourself as God loves you.”
Everything the Father gave the Son, He also gives us through His Son Jesus, he explained.
“The Son’s inheritance is ours for the asking,” Lemay said. “To receive it, you have to repent of sin. If you ask Him to free you of sin, He will.”