Monday, June 25, 2012

A Different kind of White Cane

John 9 is known for a miracle Jesus performs when He heals a man born blind. It proves again that He truly is God incarnate. This passage is also an ideal example of spiritual direction. Here, Christ is the director, the disciples are the directees, and the blind man is not Christ’s focus here, but rather someone He simply uses to teach his disciples a lesson.
The spiritual direction portion of John 9 is in verses 1-5.
1As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
When they saw the man on the side of the road, the disciples quickly decided that they knew what the blind man’s problem was. Many people who come for spiritual direction believe that they know what the problem is. If they only help the director diagnose it, the problem should be solved.
The dah-ciples are like this. Though they think they know the problem, they don’t. They are students after all. Instead of ridiculing the blind man or his parents for their sins, Christ turns the tables and tells his students, “Stop pointing fingers! Nobody did anything wrong! This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (Verse 3)
As He often is with his students, Jesus was probably more then a little bit disappointed with their “lack of faith.” They were not doing their job. Instead of asking petty questions like these, their job was to carry out the tasks assigned to them by the one who sent their Teacher into this world. In the next verse, Jesus says, the night is coming when work ceases. While, I am here, I am the light you should live by.  In other words, “Stop dilly-dallying, do this work quickly, and start now, because I won’t be here for long!”
As a spiritual director, Jesus might say, ‘before our next session, I would encourage you to start doing the work of God as you .have seen me do it.” And they returned for their next session, rejoicing because “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” (Luke 10:17)
In John 9:39-40 Jesus said, "I have come into this world so that the blind will see and those who [think they can] see will become blind." Some Pharisees heard him say this and asked, "What? Are we blind too?" The Pharisees and the disciples had the same problem. They were both spiritually blind. Once directees learn that they are “blind too” Jesus’ shows directors how to walk with them in their desire to understand more about Him.
Here, Jesus takes the initiative and finds the man, who has just received his sight, and asks him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” (9:35) He had probably heard the crowds talk about Jesus before, but had not yet seen Him. “Who is he, sir? I want to believe in him.”
“I am him,” Jesus said.
“Yes, Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Jesus.
Like many people, this man had a “seeing is believing” type of faith, but it had taken forty years for him to truly exercise it.
A spiritual director’s response to the question of “why” needs to be something like Christ’s, focused beyond the immediate situation. Maybe God wanted to teach the man a lesson. As many teachers in Jesus day thought, maybe God was paying the man back for some unbeknownst sin. Or, as Jesus said, maybe it was what God intended. If your challenge is something God desires, not to pay you back, but to make you more like Him, how would that make you feel?

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Goodness of Gossip

Gossiping is natural. Just as a baby learns to talk by babbling, the building blocks of thoughtful and trustworthy discussions between adults are installed when we are children. At this pliable age, we have an unquenchable search for knowledge so we can tell others about our own, and others’ discoveries.
According to Dr Annie Crookes, head of Psychology at Heriot-Watt University’s Dubai Campus, there is a lot of goodness in gossip. For instance, “the act of gossiping may be similar to that of ‘grooming’ seen in primate species in that it consolidates group cohesion, facilitates networking and manages reputations.”
We all know that conversations which start with, ‘I don’t like to spread rumours but…’ or ‘you didn’t get this from me but…’ can create something that grows and could become hurtful. However, if we stopped gossiping to each other, even to ourselves because it creates anxiety, and started gossiping to and about God, the good that could result is simply awesome.
In Matthew 6:3, Jesus says: “do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,” Though He was talking about giving to the needy; this piece of advice could easily be applied to gossiping. When I tell my right hand something my left hand doesn’t know, this knowledge needs to travel through my heart first before it gets to the other hand. When I was a child, I believed that God lived in my heart. Therefore, one hand can know and the One who lives in the heart can know, but no one else. If both hands know, then action can be taken that could be damaging.
Over the years, we learn that gossip can and does hurt more often than it heals. However, I have learned that the best type of gossip is Gossiping God. Weather we talk about the negative or the positive acts that God is or has done in our lives, gossiping about Him is the best type of tattle tailing we can do. To learn more about gossiping God, feel free to contact me.
I promise, I won’t tell anybody.