Summary: Jesus uses our relationships to heal us - a Sermon in a series on RELATIONSHIPS.
I want to tell you the story of John Charters. I found his story in a newspaper some time back.
John was one of those jet-setting high flyers that make so many people envious. He had a beautiful home in Surrey, a glamorous wife, a large expensive car - you know the picture.
But one day John had an operation on one of his ears, and the operation went wrong.
He was left with his sense of balance badly affected - so badly affected in fact, that life became intolerable for him.
The strain of just trying to keep his feet had a dreadful effect on his life - he couldn`t keep up with his job, he became morose and bad-tempered at work and at home - finally his wife left him.
Then a specialist told him he might find himself permanently in a wheel chair in five years time.... John tried to commit suicide - he took a massive overdose of drugs and nearly died
It was by sheer chance that they found him, and took him to a hospital, where his life was saved.
But there, in Hospital, as he mixed with others who were actually worse off than he was, John found that he wanted to live! "For the first time in years I said a silent prayer of thanks" he said, and then he went on (and remember that this was in a newspaper!), "If God was intending to teach me a lesson, He was certainly succeeding"!
What was the lesson that John was learning? I have a suspicion it was quite a simple lesson, that, if you try to do without God, and leave Him out of your life, things get out of balance. John began to see that if he wanted peace and happiness in his life, something fundamental had to happen, so that he could become a balanced human being.
What could that be?
Well, there`s only one person who has lived a truly balanced life - that`s Jesus, so, for us to live a truly balanced life we shall have to become like Jesus......... and we CAN`T - not under our own steam, at least. It`s only when Christ operates upon us that we begin to rediscover our sense of balance, or have it restored.
How does Jesus do it?
He puts us with other people........ and, as we meet with them day by day and week by week, He uses the way we relate to each other to reveal the truth about us, and show us where we need to change.
He says to a naturally outgoing and generous person, "You find it easy to GIVE to people, but much harder to RECEIVE from them" - THAT IS YOUR IMBALANCE. You find it very difficult to be dependent upon other people. If that is so in your dealings with others, how much more difficult will it be for you to be dependent on ME.
I want you to be willing to receive........
to receive from me the things that I know you need........
Often you`re not willing to let that happen, so now I`m going to lead you into a phase of your life where you will have your independence shattered..........
you will HAVE to rely upon others, so that, when this phase of your life is over, you will find it just as EASY and just as GOOD to receive from others, as you do to give to them now.......... you will be healed of this imbalance.
But to another person Jesus says: "You must grow up....... you must become mature. At the moment you are like a child, seeking the attention of others. You like to be in the limelight, with other people doing things for you continually............
Now you must learn to be like Me - I forsook the limelight, turned away from self, and poured Myself out in love. So, now, I`m going to shape your life in a new way, by letting things happen to you, which make you turn away from yourself and your own needs, to others and THEIR needs. That is the way I want you to go now......................
At the end of this time you will no longer be self-indulgent, self-focussed and selfish. You will be a balanced person - a true child of God".
Yes, JESUS changes us - we can`t change ourselves. He brings balance to our lives, by means of our relationships - the way we react to others at home, at work, and with the people we meet day by day (our neighbours). This process is most revealing - it reveals the truth about us, which is what Christ intends.
The best place for potential change is in the Church. There Jesus puts us alongside each other so that we can learn from each other. That`s why there are so many different people in the Church - we need a broad spread of differences so that all the truth can be revealed.
The Church is God`s X-Ray machine, where our faults are revealed - and then healed.... if we will!