Jesus left a crowd of people where He was appreciated and valued so He could help a raving lunatic. In Mark 5:1-20, we read about a man who was completely undone and thoroughly tormented by loads of demons. He was demon possessed and was living a very tortured, painful and isolated life. When he was described in these verses, I was deeply moved by his tragic existence. He would roam the tombs & mountains with no human contact, gashing himself, screaming and unclothed with no hope of reprieve or help – until Jesus came.
When we come across people in our lives who are broken, hurting, dysfunctional, crazy, hostile, erratic and even barbaric, let’s be willing to see past these descriptions and difficulties to see a human in need of love and redemption. Let’s remember that the enemy of humanity is seeking to torture, deceive and destroy humans in any way possible. On the other side, Jesus wants to work through us to bring love, healing and redemption! Let’s make sure we stay on Jesus’ side 🙂
“. . . . , those who previously saw him as a beggar.” John 9:8b
I read this verse today & it really stood out to me about the power of vision & how we see people. In John 9, Jesus heals a man who was born blind. Before his healing, this man sat outside the temple & begged, so everyone recognized him as, ” that beggar guy.” When he was no longer blind, the people struggled to see him as anyone but, “that beggar dude.”
This has started me to think about various people I see: Bob the homeless guy at Starbucks, Tina the blind chick, Marion the needy one, Jerry the deaf dude, . . . .
If we see people only in the quagmire of their pain, dysfunction & disability, then maybe we’re limiting God’s power to work through us.
Maybe it’s a better strategy to ask God to reveal that persons true identity & divine design so that we call out their potential & not merely their inabilities & weaknesses. I’m more than a little grateful that God calls things that are not as though they are!
Do you ever think about your thoughts? Or the motivations for things that you do? It seems to me that the thought processes, feelings, motivations and our internal mindsets have massive affects on our choices, conversations, attitudes and actions. So if our thinking or emotions have been poisoned by the enemy (who comes to steal, kill & destroy), then it makes sense that the behaviors, conversations etc can be dysfunctional & corrupt.
Here’s a good example: have you met people who have a chip on their shoulder, or think that nobody likes them or maybe they’ve been victimized & carry that mindset throughout their daily living? There’s probably good reasons behind why they behave the way that they do. But let’s remember this truth: we have a free will to make different choices.
So here are a few things for consideration:
Take a pause & reflect: why am I doing / saying this?
Is my behavior / conversation / attitude coming from a place of brokenness or distortion?
Welcome the Holy Spirit into the places where you sense such brokenness & distortion / deception
Let the Holy Spirit help you make different choices – Romans 8:26 🙂
This is a picture of our jerry-rigged dishwasher this morning. I have to prop the door closed so it will keep running & I still have to check it occasionally to make sure it’s still working.
Sometimes life is like my dishwasher. I like it when everything works smoothly, but we know that this isn’t always the case. Joseph working in pharaoh’ house seemed to be in a good place, but I’m sure that when his brothers showed up, things felt broken again. Just when we think things are moving along smoothly, something can break or even seemingly regress. This can be discouraging so let me hopefully give some help here:
1 – keep going: setbacks happen, but keep going, even if it’s a slower pace
2 – fix it: sometimes a solution is permanent but don’t be surprised if you have to circle back & work on the problem again
3 – celebrate: even with what seems small, celebrate! Any progress is helpful!
Feel free to pass this on to your friends who are struggling w broken stuff 🙂
This morning I read in Luke about a blind guy who was yelling for Jesus. After the blind guy was persistent, Jesus stopped & asked him what he wanted. Of course Jesus knew that the guy was blind, but He waited for the man to express what he wanted.
This has started me thinking about what I want & this truth: if I get what I want from Jesus, I will need to change my behavior. This is often a bigger deal than what we realize. Being healed means that we must act differently. We can’t be healed & continue to behave in the same dysfunctional & broken routines.
Being healed means that we live more wholly & make choices that are healthy & life giving – and this takes courage. Not only do I want to be well, but I also want the courage to live well.
This morning I read about how Jesus went into the temple in Jerusalem & totally flipped everything upside down. He upended the money changers tables & chairs, he compromised the pigeon sales for sacrifices, He made a whip & angrily confronted the religious leaders & all the while, little kids ran around the temple yelling out, “Hosanna to the son of David!” On top of all this chaos, that enraged the temple leaders, Jesus had the audacity to heal the blind & lame in the temple. As I read these verses in Matt 21 this morning, I began to picture the pandemonium that Jesus made & how He “broke” everything that the religious leaders had organized to “facilitate worship & connecting with God”. Jesus’ actions condemned their efforts & He broke what was already dysfunctional.
Sometimes in our lives, we’ve come to accept as normal that which is broken & dysfunctional. Let’s be open to Jesus breaking what is already broken to help us live in greater health & deeper intimacy with Him. Broken needs fixing 🙂
When I was growing up, I remember that my dad really enjoyed fixing up antique furniture. He would get something for cheap from a garage sale that looked like it should’ve been taken to the dump. He would bring it home, whip out the ultra-toxic, highly noxious & uber deadly furniture stripper, don his invincible, thick, industrial grade rubber gloves and begin to turn the trash into a treasure. After getting all of the garbage stripped off the wood, he’d sand down the furniture and get out some furniture glue to put together any broken pieces very gently with furniture clamps and then oil the treasure so that it was entirely transformed. In some ways, my dad was a magician. But in other ways, he was very incapable. He couldn’t do cars, electrical lamps and plumbing to name a few.
Thankfully, our heavenly Father is in the all-around fix-it business. He takes all of our brokenness, strips away the corrosive veneer we accumulate to cover the ugly, he sands down and smooths out the rough spots and more. One of the things I love about our heavenly Father is that He is the ultimate Master Craftsman. There’s nothing broken that He can’t fix, there’s nothing ugly that He can’t redeem and there’s no one so dysfunctional that He cannot transform. Nothing is impossible with our Creator! 🙂
What’s it like to be a crazy woman, living in a time when women were considered almost subhuman & without any protection, security nor steady income? Meet Mary Magdalene – a women from whom Jesus cast out 7 demons (über crazy). We don’t know lots about Mary except that she was part of a group of women who followed & supported Jesus for much of His ministry on earth.
But here’s the cool part for Mary – Jesus chose Mary to be the first person to whom He revealed Himself when He rose from the dead. Jesus chose a formerly crazy woman, who seemed not to have anything noteworthy about her except that she had 7 demons cast out of her. He chose to appear to Mary first & announce His resurrection from the dead. Jesus could’ve chosen Peter or Nicodemus, John or even His mom, but He didn’t. To me, this says that Jesus values people who have been broken & not only the those people who seem to be more important or significant 🙂
Sometimes I can get frustrated when things don’t work particularly when I’m trying to get alot of things done & I’m being slowed down – very frustrating. There are lots of things & situations that can break down in our lives & not work: computers, cell phones, relationships, cars, work situations, communication, physical difficulities, etc. Sometimes, I can get frustrated with God & I can feel like God isn’t working like the Trinity is supposed to work – babies having terminal illnesses, toddlers watching their prostitute moms earn a living ( saving Moses ) , despots behaving with no seeming retribution or boundaries, employers cheating their workers from fair wages . . . . . and the list can keep going on & on.
But in my better moments, I know that God is very engaged in our daily living around the world and wants to use each of us to bring genuine love to the people with whom we interact, and possibly bringing this love into our communities most effectively when we feel the weakest & most frail. So perhaps when things seem to be the most broken, maybe this is some of God’s best opportunity to bring divine solutions, presence, provision & help 🙂