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Friday, March 26, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Luke 8:26-56

As I’ve done pastoral care with families of all shapes and sizes over the years, I’ve learned a lot about how human beings deal with change. One of the most important things I’ve learned has to do with who change is hardest for. Most people assume that change is hardest on the individual who is making the change. That is certainly true in some cases. In other cases, however, I believe that change is often hardest on those around the one who makes the change.

Let me give you an example of what I mean. Let’s say the father of a family has a drinking problem. Over the years, the rest of the family learns to adjust their lives in order to accommodate the father’s drinking. The man’s wife, for instance, might get use to making telephone calls to explain her husband’s absence to his co-workers and loved ones. The man’s son might get used to picking up his drunken father off the floor or couch and getting him back to the bedroom. The man’s daughter might get used to making sure no one listens to the television or radio too loudly so that no one wakes up their drunken father. Every member of the family learns exactly how to act in order to keep things running.

Then one day the father hits bottom and decides to stop drinking. On the surface, you would think each family member would be thrilled with that development. In some cases, that’s absolutely true; in other cases, the change angers family members.

“Why wouldn’t the family members be thrilled?” you might ask.

Because each of the family members would be forced to abandon familiar ways of thinking and being and discover new ways of living. Some family members hate the thought of having to adapt to a new reality. In other words, they buy into an old proverb that says, “Better the devil you know than the Devil you don’t.”

That principle is at the heart of the first story in today’s reading. In that story, Jesus goes into a community and heals one of their members who was possessed by demons. Instead of being grateful that one of the members of the community has been healed, members of the community respond by getting upset and going after the one that caused the change – Jesus!

Today I would invite you to examine your life and see if there are relationships in your life where a loved one has made a radical change in his or her life that forced you to re-examine your way of being. How did you deal with that change? Did you try to avoid the new reality by redirecting your frustrations in other directions, or did you focus your energy on try to adapt to the new world this change called into being?

Til next time…

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