Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!

Help support the vision of Woodland Hills Community Church!
For those of you who would like to support the vision & ministry of Woodland Hills Community Church (the faith community I serve that continues to encourage me to minister outside the box), please click on the link just above.

Wednesday, May 13

Today’s Readings: Psalm 92; Song of Solomon 5:1-8; Matthew 8:28-34; 1 John 3:11-18; Psalm 124

A few years ago, an associate of mine asked me to speak with a friend of hers who was in a troubled relationship. I spent a little time with my associate’s friend hearing about some of the dynamics of her relationship. The more I listened to the individual describe the relationship, the more I realized how deeply unhealthy the relationship was. As we concluded our time together, we talked about the options that were open to the individual – one of which was separation. When I mentioned separation as one of several options, the individual lost it. She was incensed that a clergyperson would even entertain the notion of separation as an option. She stormed out that day thinking I had done a terrible thing. In the moments following her departure, I couldn’t help but take note of the irony. The individual had spent a couple of hours talking about how awful her partner was and how the relationship was psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually killing her – and yet all she could focus on at the end of our time together was how awful I was. That encounter was a good example of how we human beings develop what I would call a “bait and switch” tactic toward dealing with our problems. Instead of staying focused on the problem at hand, we allow ourselves to be distracted by something else and then make that something else into a scapegoat for our pain. It’s a popular way of avoiding the issue at hand. That’s exactly what Jesus encountered in today’s Gospel reading. He stumbled into a difficult situation involving a demon possessed man. Jesus solved the problem by expelling the demons and sending them into a herd of pigs. And how did the people respond? By blaming Jesus for offing the pigs! Go figure. Maybe there’s an area in your life where you’ve done (or perhaps are doing) the same thing – focused on a peripheral matter as a means of avoiding/acknowledging the real issue. If that’s the case, find some time today to regain your sense of perspective. By regaining your sense of perspective, you may not only solve the problem – you might even be able to do what the towns folk weren't able to do: give thanks once the problem disappears. Til next time…

1 comment:

Dutch said...

`Sometimes those who are meant to protect us harm us. The sentinels in the passage from the Song. Some actions we take to protect ourselves harm us. Healers ask us to stop smoking, watch our diet, have healthy relationships. We do not follow their instructions. We deny the harm, refuse to act in healthy ways because it is hard work. We defend our positions. Refuse to change our attitudes.

Who am I in the story. Am I angry because my self defenses, the unhealthy ways I protect my self are named as evil?

Jesus's actions could be read as a public show of strength when a private demonstration -- ah but then I turn the focus from me and my actions which would heal.