This morning I was reading in John 5 about the man that was paralyzed lying next to the pool in Jerusalem that was called in Hebrew Bethesda. In the appointed season an angel of the Lord went down and stirred up the water; whoever was the first person to get down into the water would be healed. The man that John 5 refers to had been suffering with this lingering disorder for thirty eight years. Jesus approached this man and realizing how long he had suffered asked him, “Do you want to become well?” By this queswtion, Jesus meant, “are you really in earnest about getting well”. The man’s response is quite interesting. He says, “Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am tyring to come into it somebody else steps down ahead of me.” Jeus immediately tells him to pick up his mat and walk. Immediately his life was changed! What catches my attention the most about this story is the question that Jesus asked the man-Do you want to become well. At first glance that seems like a crazy question. Of course the fellow would have wanted to be well-right? I remember a sermon that our pastor at our church preached a long time ago on a Sunday night regarding this particular passage. He dealt with the paralytic’s attitude about getting well. There are some who have suffered for so long that they have lost hope of ever being well. For some, due to the dysfunction (False Beliefs-as we call them) in their minds they depend on the resources of others to care for them and live in a constant state of a self pity party. Now, don’t get me wrong…some literally have to depend on others to care for them. What I am talking about are thsoe who due to their dysfunction have misplaced dependencies and then developed unrealistic expectations of others. Meaning they are looking to others to meet their emotional and spiritual needs of Contentment (happiness, satisfaction, fulfillment in life), Security (love & acceptance), and Significance (worth, value, importance, identity).
It can seem crazy to think about, but some people literally don’t want to be well. They are drawing out life from others by the attention they receive from being sick. Obviously this is a sad place to be and many of us will encounter some of these folks either threw out the holiday season or just around our churches. Some of us may have someone like this in our family that we deal with. For most of us it may not be the most comforttable situation in the world to have to deal with. Some have asked me for suggestions about what to do, how to respond to them and what to say. My answer is usually always the same…don’t enable them and don’t necessarily try to reason with them. They cannot understand reason. You must allow Christ to love them through you…I don’t know any other way to put it than that. It is impossible for us to love others in our own strength. As Christ demonstrates Himself through you as you depend upon Him, He will guide you in loving them and communicating with them. You must leave their mental and emotional dysfunction with Him through prayer. If He directs you to speak the gtruth in love to them then do so…but make sure it is Christ speaking through you and if so it will be done in love. They have to want to be well in order to make that journey. It is most often a long, tough process for all of us in dealing with our emotional hangups a.k.a. FLESH. As I tell our clients…you and I can’t apply a microwave solution to a crock pot problem. You have to want that healing in order to make that journey.
It is our prayer that you have a blessed Merry Christmas and wonderful times with friends and family!