The Emotional Healing of Benny & Suzanne Hinn
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Earlier this month, Pastor Benny and his wife, Suzanne, officially announced that they were reconciling after being divorced for almost two years. In February 2010, Don Price, the longtime senior advisor to Benny Hinn Ministries confirmed reports in the news that Suzanne had filed a petition of divorce in Orange County Superior Court on February 1, 2010. She cited irreconcilable differences. The couple had been separated since January 26, but the papers were filed about a week later. Don issued a statement saying, “Pastor Benny Hinn and his immediate family were shocked and saddened to learn of this news without any previous notice. The couple has been married for more than 30 years. Although Pastor Hinn has faithfully endeavored to bring healing to their relationship, those efforts failed and were met with the petition for divorce that was filed without notice.”
Later, in a letter to his partners, Pastor Benny shared his heart was broken at the filing of divorce papers from his wife. Though Suzanne was under great stress, neither Pastor Benny, their children nor her parents expected this to happen – divorce was the furthest thing on everyone’s minds. Suzanne never gave a hint to anyone in the family that this was on her mind. At the writing of that letter, Pastor Benny and his children didn’t know why she did it. Pastor Benny maintained that there was no immorality in his life or Suzanne’s. They had kept their covenant with God and stayed pure before Him.
In July of 2010 the National Enquirer reported – with pictures – that Benny Hinn was dating Paula White. Benny denied any affair. He does say that he was wrong to date Paula as he was not yet divorced at that time. But he was angry at life, his failures and having an empty home. He realized it was unwise and a lapse of judgment.
Prayers, repentance, forgiveness and personal healing made the Hinns' marriage restoration possible. Suzanne says that Benny and she had contact after the divorce only for matters regarding the finalization of the divorce and family matters. It wasn’t until Christmas of 2011 that the reconciliation truly started. Suzanne had the family over for Christmas, including Benny. He says he saw “the girl he married,” and they began communicating more. Suzanne says last month Benny shared with her what God had shown him about why their marriage ended.
THE CAUSES OF THE DIVORCE
Pastor Benny says their marriage died for two reasons. First, when he was called into ministry he promised Jesus he would give his all to Him. What he did not realize was that in the process of ministering around the world, it was taking a far greater toll on his marriage than he realized. Once he believed that his ministry came before his family. Now he realizes that he was wrong. God comes first, then his family, and then his ministry.
The second reason for the end of their marriage is that in 1997 Suzanne was having some personal struggles and went away for a three-week medical evaluation. She was misdiagnosed and given various prescription medications to help her cope. Unfortunately, she became dependent on those drugs for nearly 15 years. Suzanne says instead of helping her, they destroyed her emotionally and made her behave erratically at times. Pastor Benny did not know the extent of her medications and her reliance on these medications. Also, he did not fully understand how much harm they were causing to her, physically and emotionally. Suzanne filed for divorce because she was in a deep emotional and physical crisis that affected her in such a way that caused her to make a decision she now regrets.
Suzanne says she was so distraught after she signed the papers that she went to a friend’s house for comfort, hugged her friend, and fainted. She now admits her divorcing Benny was a cry for his attention and for help.
THE HEALING PROCESS
For Pastor Benny, it was the most agonizing two and a half years of his life. He says the end of their marriage woke him up, and he believes the Lord used it to show him—as a man of God and as a man—that he cannot function properly without his wife and family. He says it is the best thing that could have happened. He came to a place where he humbled himself and realized his priorities were wrong. He asks for forgiveness from his family and the Body of Christ. For the rest of the Hinn family, it was painful and Suzanne said they interceded for the restoration of the marriage fervently.
After their marriage ended, Suzanne decided that she needed professional help to gain freedom from her chemical dependence and checked herself into the Betty Ford Center in early 2010. For three and a half months she underwent exhaustive treatment. Today, she has been totally off medications for 17 months and is set free. Suzanne said it was a hard process, but it gave her a better understanding of what she had been through in her marriage and with her medications. She learned how certain situations affect her and how to deal with them without drugs.
Today Pastor Benny says that Jesus has healed his family in a most remarkable and miraculous way. God has healed Suzanne completely as well as their relationship. He says his relationship with her now is stronger and closer than ever and she is again the woman he fell in love with many years ago. Suzanne feels like she is a new person. They are very excited about the future, and they want to spend the rest of their lives together. The Hinns are committed to do whatever it takes to heal their relationship. They have been counseling with Jack Hayford and they plan to also counsel with others – as they want to be sure that they do not fall into old patterns. Benny says Suzanne will be his partner in ministry because, “That’s the way God wants it.” Though the ministry suffered as a result of the divorce, the Hinns believe that the ministry God gave them will be greater than ever in the future. They are planning to remarry on November 2, 2012 at her father’s church where they were originally married.
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