Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Help by Asking for Help

Sin and pain have a way of turning us into hermits.  When something is wrong in our lives our first tendency is to hide it away.  This happens because we; 1) Hope it goes away  2) We feel embarrassed/ashamed  3) Think we are all alone.  All three responses generally occur together.  It can be so embarrassing and painful that we just want to hide away until it works itself out.  And we believe a terrible lie that this is a journey that we have to take by ourselves. 

This approach guarantees one result.....It never gets better.

And this approach is a terrible lie.

Not one of us is capable of pulling ourselves up out of our funk in a meaningful and lasting way.  We are in desperate need of people to hear us and help us.  As long as we hide our problem from those who love us, and, ourselves, it will only serve to slowly rot us away from the inside.  Like gangrene of the soul, sin and pain that are not dealt with eat away at us and cause ever increasing anguish and sin.

But, on the other hand, when we reject those three responses we have the opportunity to heal.  And we become a source of healing for others.

Matthew 9:18-22
18 While he was saying this, a synagogue leader came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” 19 Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.
20 Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. 21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment.

This father was hurting and suffering, as a leader in the Synagogue, he is probably pretty aware that Jesus wasn't the most popular person amongst the leadership.  But he didn't care what asking for help might cost him, he needed it, so he went to the one place he could get it. 

Here is where, for me the story gets interesting.  We think that this is a little narrative to show how this mans faith in Jesus would lead to his daughter getting healed(which it does).  And right in the midst of this guys story, a suffering woman sees Jesus and goes to him for help also. 

Her journey to seek healing was a bit "easier" than the synagogue leader.  She was already at rock bottom and obviously not a synagogue leader.  She didn't have to make a big scene to get Jesus' attention.  She just had to be there while Jesus was on his way to heal the mans daughter.  This mans plea for help, his transparency, his risk to expose himself, initiated the events that led this woman to her own healing.

When I was in college I was a typical 20 year old male.  I was dumb, loud, full of myself, and a real ladies man......ok, the last part wasn't true.  And, like a lot of other 20 year old guys I was struggling with issues related to sexual sin.  I sat down with the guy who led my bible study and discipled me and had a long conversation about what was going on.  He challenged me to share where I was at with the rest of my peers at our next bible study.  A group of 12-14 other 20 year old guys who looked up to me as another leader and a great example of being a super Christian.  This did not sound so comfortable to me.  How would they view me, I had presented myself as having it all together.  But now they would know I wasn't perfect. 

So, that next study, I asked if I could share something.  I proceeded to share everything I was struggling with and ask for forgiveness for not being honest about it and presenting myself as someone I wasn't.....a "got it all together" Christian.  What happened next shocked me.  Over the next 2 hours EVERY single guy in that room shared a similar story.  They had all been, like me, trying to just deal with it themselves and pretending everything was ok. 

From that time on it became one of the closest knit and honest groups I have ever been a part of.  God did great things in the lives of those guys.  A few are missionaries, a few work in other ministry roles, and all of them are walking with the Lord over a decade later.

I was so worried about me that I was missing out on a couple of awesome opportunities:

1)  I now had the support and transparency I needed to walk by faith and not in sin.  There was no more hiding and rotting away.  The actual help and encouragement I needed was now available because people actually knew what I needed!

2)  My willingness to initiate and be honest with my struggles gave each of those other guys "permission" to be honest about their own.  We had all been sitting in that room with the SAME PROBLEMS believing we must surely be the only person with a problem.  Which only made us feel worse about ourselves, which led to more "hiding".   

What are you struggling with in your life right now?  Sexual sin?  Relationship issues?  Financial distress?  Health problems?   

Stop believing you have to try to fix it yourself.  It is a lie. 

Stop believing that this is just the way it is and you might as well resign yourself to the problem.  This is an even worse lie.

The same power that raised Christ from the dead is the very power that can raise your burdened soul up from the grave it is trying to throw you in. 

We are not defined by our struggles and our problems.  We do not have to be controlled by the unhealthy drives that sometimes consume us. 

But we don't break those chains by keeping our head in the sand, or, just barreling forward on our own.

People in your life desperately need you.  Not to fix them, but for you to be honest with them about what is going on in your life.  You will be blown away by what doors are opened when we get transparent about what is going on in our lives.

Do you want to get better?  Do you want to see others in your life get better?  Then go ask for help, lay it all out there and run to the Cross.

If this is the kind of "help" you are being offered, this is one you can ignore......


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