Edited and Arranged by
© 1994, 2005 by Dan Stephens
The "genius" of Cliff Custer's ministry is the absolute fusion of the power available in the Holy Spirit with the best in psychology. His name was never a household word, but because of his close association with Ruth Carter Stapleton, President Jimmy Carter's sister, the influence of his inner healing teachings reached thousands of more people (during the mid to late 1970s) through Stapleton's ministry and best-selling books.
For more about Cliff's current work, ministry schedule, and writings go to http://www.cliffcuster.net/index.htm
Ruth Carter Stapleton was not only a powerful leader in contemporary Christendom, but was responsible for exposing "inner healing" to millions of non-believers in secular society.
I will remove the heart of stone from their bodies and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 11:20, Jerusalem).
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken. (Isaiah 61:1, Jerusalem).
Out of his infinite glory, may he give you the power through his Spirit for your hidden self to grow strong, so that Christ may live in your hearts. (Ephesians 3:16-17, Jerusalem).
When we speak of inner healing, we refer to the experience in which the Holy Spirit restores health to the deepest area of our lives by dealing with the root cause of our hurts and pain. RS
The ministry of inner healing attempts to bring authentic principles of psychology under the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. RS
At the heart of the ministry of inner healing is Jesus Christ. Just as Jesus does not rescind the practice of medicine but encourages and enhances it while adding the dimension of healing without medication or surgery, so he does not negate the work of the competent psychologist. But he does add a definite power, a spiritual thrust available to all, which realizes re-creation and emotional healing the ablest professional therapist cannot effect. CC
The Inner Healing Movement has rescued psychology from myopic humanism and agnosticism. It has dared to say and prove that faith is the most essential tool not the enemy of emotion healing and health. It was the providential outgrowth of the charismatic experience which tends to bring to the surface repressed, unconscious emotional garbage. It gave awakened hearts the equipment necessary to deal with the frustration Paul described when he said, "That which I would not do, I find myself doing; and that which I would do, I cannot." CC
"When I was first baptized in the Spirit, life was glorious. Then I don't know what happened, but it isn't so great any more." One hears variations on that theme wherever the move of the Spirit is past its infancy. If there is real growth in the same Spirit that first brought such undue joy, the pattern is inevitable.
What the newcomer to Christ is rarely told is that the purpose of the Light of the Holy Spirit is not only to illumine but to expose. When you "walk in the light", as he is in the light, it brings fellowship with Him; you do experience his joy but you also take a clearer look at corners of your house where mental refuse had been piled unnoticed until Jesus brought you in the light.
What could not be comprehended at the moment when one is swept into the stream of his Spirit is that this experience must not continue unaltered. One would never grow. There would be no felt need for growth. There is no need for growth in his perfect mind. But the mind of the new disciple of Christ is not perfect. We are challenged to "grow in grace." That presumes that Jesus does it all. Well he doesn't. He makes this awesome life of the Spirit possible but he would not degrade you by removing the opportunity for your soul to grow. He wants us strong, not tranquilized. CC
Is inner healing Christian? As Christian as penicillin, computers, or jet planes. They all work; whether or not we take the medicine, use the computer, or ride the airplane to Christ's glory. They are all effective because they follow divine laws. In that sense they are directly from the hand of God, and by their nature honor him.
A Christian can arrive at a mathematical conclusion by counting on fingers, mentally referring to a memorized mathematical table, using an abacus, feeding the question into a computer, or relying on spiritual intuition. The latter is the highest way, but all are valid. The best way for us as individuals depends on our own particular level. The same principle holds true in the healing of the body and mind. We must seek the highest way, which is pure faith healing. But that demands an individual and collective faith rarely found in our doubt-plagued society. So, just as Jesus used mud and water on sightless eyesnothing more than a "visualizing" process for a blind man incapable of realizing healing by faith alonewe can use medicine, psychology, faith-imagination, or any other method which is in harmony with Christ's love. Some of these methods may seem strange and threatening to old-wineskin minds. But they are a part of the new wine of the Spirit God is now pouring out on all flesh. RS
However one experiences inner healing, it is essential that our inner child be given the experience of His love and the accompanying sense of self-worth Jesus brings, before one can safely face the ugliest aspects of our emotions. CC
The first principle of inner healing: I will take full responsibility for my emotional pain. CC
As long as I continue to blame another person for my pain I am going to be pointing the finger of judgment against that person instead of seeking to know myself and eliminate the interior flaw that created my experience that I perceived as pain caused by another. CC
Responsibility is not to blame oneself. Self blame is as emotionally destructive as the blame of others. Self-responsibility makes negative feelings a classroom for learning. Blame makes them a courtroom for judging. CC
After I have accepted God's love and my responsibility I then can use my negative encounters with others as opportunities for healing. Even if I am not clear about what is causing my fear, frustration, inferiority feeling, loneliness or unabsolvable guilt, I can discover them by paying attention to what kind of person most angers or hurts me. They will accurately reflect where I am weak. CC
When I have accepted my responsibility for my emotional problems and when I have begun to believe in the unconditional love of Christ, or I am sharing my need for healing with someone who does, I am then and only then ready to experience inner healing. CC
Forgiveness is at the heart of Jesus’ message and it is at the heart of inner healing. RS
The person unable to forgive has yet to face himself, because invariably the thing which cannot be forgiven in another is an unhealed weakness in oneself. CC
The act of forgiveness is like erasing an image on the screen of your mind rather than casting a stone on the image-shadow you projected onto your perceived antagonists. CC
What I don’t forgive, I am doomed to relive. Or, to put it positively, what I forgive, I will not have to relive. CC
The principle that what
you most dislike in another peron is always something within you, can
motivate the desire to forgive. CC
The primary tool of inner healing is faith-imagination. RS
I coined the word "faith-imagination" in an effort to make the distinction between subconscious wishful thinking and soul-level creative vision. CC
With our imagination, we
remember an image, and concentrate upon that picture until it registers upon
our feelings. It is as though we are projecting camera slides on a screen in
our heart. When the element of faith is added, it is as though Jesus becomes
the projectionist. At this point the great mystery of his healing of our
emotions begins. When Jesus is added to the image-creating process, his
healing power is released not only into the image which is changed, but into
the emotions which have been damaged. This process defies logical analysis,
but it is repeatedly confirmed by experience. RS
Those who have never tried inner healing may not understand how a past event can be reconstructed and healed. To vividly imagine a past event is to relive it in the present. In much the same way that the past can be relived, the Spirit of God can re-create.
The realm of the Spirit is timeless. Every yesterday and every tomorrow is "today" to God.
Jesus is the Lord of time, and this makes him the Lord of our past. Such Scriptures as, "Beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day," express this truth.
Because Jesus can bring his timeless presence into what we call "the past," he can bring the re-creative power of God to bear upon events that have already transpired. RS
The need to forgive authentically, totally, always raises the question, "How can I know whether I have really forgiven someone or whether I am deceiving myself?"
These are the steps to take in the inner healing process:
1. Reminding myself that the problem is in me and not my antagonist, I will let the anger subside as quickly as possible.
2. I will pray for my antagonist and, with an act of the will if I can't muster the emotion, I will forgive them.
3. As soon as I get quiet and alone, I will review the situation which triggered the anger or hurt and seek an earlier root cause--an early family or significant other relationship--which emotionally parallels what upset me. (In my experience, at least 60 to 70 percent of the people who are able to get in touch with a subset of negative emotions associated with a bad relationship or interaction with others will make the emotional connection to a childhood conditioning.)
4. If I do recall the root cause, I will pray for that childhood antagonist and visualize Christ flowing into them as water flows into a thirsty sponge. This should be done whether the original offender is here or in eternity. There is no time or space in the mind of God and His healing love.
5. If the original antagonist does not absorb the image of Jesus as I seek to visualize it, it is because I still have too much anger toward them.
It then is necessary to visualize myself taking a sword from the hand of Jesus and killing my early antagonist. I MUST NEVER ATTEMPT THIS UNLESS JESUS WAS NOT ABSORBED BY THEM OR IF JESUS IS NOT PRESENT IN MY IMAGINATION.
6. Finally, after destroying my unforgiven enemy I must ask Jesus to kneel down and breathe into their slain form as He breathed on His disciples. This causes the person to rise and face me positively. If they stay dead, immobile or rise negatively it means I must repeat the slaying but continue swinging until I can swing no more. Then I will ask Jesus again, to breathe on the one who had hurt me. I may be confident that they will now rise positively; and I can experience a reconciliation with them. If you find visualization difficult you can verbalize the process making believe that you can "see" the scene. This is almost as affective as clear visualization.
This last step can be painful. But it is one of the most effective tools for inner healing I have found. It is irrelevant to say it is un-Christian to kill. The negative emotion has been constantly killing the person since they first hurt me and I didn't forgive them. This is a way out of the hate-filled emotion.
Jesus said, "you have heard it said of old that he who is guilty of murder must be brought to judgment; but I say unto you he who harbors anger toward anyone must be brought to judgment." Matthew 5:21. This visual exercise allows the child of God to face his own judgment. Jesus equates hateful anger with murder. In His presence we can judge ourselves and through the love and power of Christ be found guiltless. Not only are we at last free of guilt, through faith-imagination we have brought Light where darkness hid in our hearts. And by the word and vision of faith we have blessed our enemies. CC
I encourage everyone attempting this ministry of inner healing to begin with a meditation-type of prayer similar to the following:
O Lord Jesus Christ, may your perfect love fill the heart of this one who is seeking inner healing. May your wisdom guide us through each experience he is to have. His life, his very soul, belongs to you. I would not presume to understand the complex needs of this person, or how to supply those needs; but you have promised to supply them, and we stand upon that promise.
Now move back through the corridors of memory of this, your child. Help him recall what must be healed. Take the dark and deadly in his deep mind and reconstruct it into the bright and beautiful and Christlike.
It is in your name and through your power and by your word I pray this. Amen. CC
In most dreams, we are dealing with inner emotional problems. The images of other people, places and things are symbols of the inner problems. Nothing is more suited to non-professional guidance to inner healing than dream therapy.
Dream symbols are used by our soul in collaboration with the Spirit of God to get around our emotional defenses to heal destructive, unconscious flaws.
Whether you process your dreams privately or in dialog or group you can properly interpret a high percentage of them by following these rules:
1. Locate the most negative part of your dream.
2. Reviewing that scene bring Jesus into the situation. (If you aren't able to envision Christ, let a trustworthy, good man be his surrogate.)
3. Let light shine from the face and heart of Christ on the antagonist or negative figure.
4. If the light transforms the person or object to something positive embrace or accept it.
5. If the person, place or thing remains negative take any appropriate instrument to destroy it: a sledge hammer for a stone object, or an ax for a wooden object, or a sword for a person. (Don't let the violent nature of the encounter dissuade you from this method. It is only an inner encounter of a battle that is raging unconsciously. The positive results speak for themselves.) After the negative image is destroyed, let Jesus shine golden light on the scene until the image comes up positive. Often the person behind the antagonist or threatening object will reveal itself in the restored, transformed image. But whether it is revealed or not, when you make the negative image positive the healing is taking place on the heart level. And that is the goal of all psychological dreams. CC
Rediscovering one's soul identity is one of the ultimate objectives of inner healing. As the unconscious impurities are eliminated, we become more in touch with who we really are, and we are able to give more authentic expression to that identity.
If the soul is strengthened through selfless service, worship, meditation and prayer, the heart or unconscious mind is made more open to healing and growth, and the conscious mind is made more alert and rich. By the same token, if the heart's deep mind experiences inner healing, it allows the soul to soar more freely and the mind to function more effectively. This interacting process must continue until, at last, the heart, mind and soul move in total harmony guided by the Spirit of God. That is our goal. CC
A friend once asked me, "With all the sick minds in the world, how can we ever make any appreciable advances in mental health?" It does look hopeless, I will admit. But I wonder if Thomas Edison, having invented the first incandescent light bulb, got discouraged thinking of all the lights that had to be manufactured before the whole world could be illumined. I do not think so. I think he knew that his light was so much better than the next best thing, the kerosene lamp, that each family would want HIS light. And they would want it badly enough that the wires WOULD be strung and the lights WOULD be made, until in homes throughout the world people would extinguish the darkness of night with his light. In just such a way, the inner healing of Jesus Christ will one day bring mental health to the whole world. RS
Custer Book, Manuscripts, Booklet, Articles,
Love is an Inside Job. Privately published, 1992. Revised edition, 1994.
Discover life. An Introduction to Inner Healing. Unpublished, 1977.
Learning to Love: Handbook for Inner Healing. Unpublished, 1983.
Keys to Inner Healing. Privately published, 1978.
"The Holy Spirit." In The Four Dimensions newsletter (October 1972). Later called The New Direction.
"Community: The Last of the Three Great Movements." The New Direction Newsletter (Sept.-Oct., 1977). Later called Inner Healing Newsletter.
The Gift of Inner Healing. Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1976. Key-Word paperback, 1977.
The Experience of Inner Healing. Waco, Texas: Word Books, 1977.
Key-Word paperback, 1979.
In His Footsteps. The Healing Ministry of Jesus Christ Then and Now. New York: Harper and Row, 1979.
Clifford Frances Custer
1953 Experienced the "baptism in the Holy Spirit."
1958 Graduates from Princeton Theological Seminary. Called to the First Presbyterian Church in Tracy, California.
1960 Becomes one of the first denominational ministers involved in the charismatic renewal, which resulted in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in his church community.
1962 Begins exploring the power available in the Holy Spirit with the best in psychology.
1967 The Presbyterian Church grants Custer a ministry-at-large. He begins traveling throughout the United States introducing people to Jesus Christ through inner healing.
1971 Moves to Rogue River, Oregon, to start retreat center Christophos.
1975 Becomes Ruth Stapleton's colleague in the Inner Healing Movement. Co-authored Stapleton's book The Gift of Inner Healing, but was not acknowledged in the book.
1976 Co-authored Stapleton's book The Experience of Inner Healing, but was not acknowledged in the book.
1978 Co-authored Stapleton's book In His Footsteps, and was acknowledged as "contributing immeasurably to the development of each chapter."
1979 Ends his working association with Stapleton.
1992 Publishes his own book on inner healing Love is an Inside Job.
Ruth Carter Stapleton
1960 Experienced the “baptism in the Holy Spirit.” Commits her life to
1967 Is introduced to inner healing by Cliff Custer. Works with Custer “over a period of months” in the healing of her memories.
1968 Begins her own inner healing ministry.
1976 Her brother Jimmy becomes President. Her following increases fivefold. Her book The Gift of Inner Healing bcomes a nationwide best seller.
1978 Starts her retreat center Holovita in Denton, Texas. Is on the July cover story of Newsweek.
1983 Dies at age 54 of pancreatic cancer.
Please address correspondence to:
1971 Hamilton Lane
Grants Pass, Oregon 97527
CLC Press Home
Go to Top of This Page