Friday, February 7, 2020

CoDeWo Nightmare #2: Pleasing Family

It is hard enough to keep those people around us content:  We are on high alert all the time to meet their needs and make sure we are making them happy.  We ignore their poor decisions, distorted and chaotic thinking and believe deep inside, that if they are not happy, it is our fault and our failure.

We saw one of the early incidences in Jesus' life where He heard the call to ministry, was baptized, tempted by Satan and then, with His Father's confirmation still ringing in His ears, He went forth. 

As we saw in Luke 4, in an earlier blog, things did not go well when He united Isaiah's words as now being fulfilled in His ministry.  The reaction of the synagogue attendees was explosive when He reminded them that the good news was for everyone:  Jews as well as Gentiles.  The people angrily  lead Jesus to the edge of a cliff, to be thrown off and stoned.  He left and stay on the course prescribed for Him by His Father.

(Quick thought here:  In their distorted thinking--that the Messiah would not be like this but like their imaginings--they thought they were acting on the truth.  Our thinking can be so destructive, if if we think our motivation and heart is good...)

No doubt, Jesus' family was there that day.  They probably huddled together on the sidelines, fervently praying that Jesus would be safe.  A scary day for His mother to watch, and His brothers and sisters to wonder if He was going to have His ministry end as quickly as it had begun.  Maybe they were upset by His words as well; to think that God would extend His grace and mercy to the Gentiles was an abhorrent thought, even if it was being expressed by someone you love.

Let's go to another scene, where Jesus and His family have an encounter over what He is doing.  This time, His family is not huddling on the sidelines; they are bold, because they are afraid.  Did that day in the synagogue forever haunt them?

Let's set the scene in Mark 3.  Jesus has been busy.  He is in the synagogue again and a man with a withered hand is present.  Jesus heals him, much to the murderous rage of the Pharisees, who insisted that such an action violated the Sabbath.  He then withdraws to the lake, and is followed by huge crowds, who desperately seek Him for healing.  He retreats to a mountainside, and appoints those men who will be His closest followers, walking in His steps and being trained to one day carry on without His physical presence. 

So far, so good.  Nothing here rings my CoDeMo bells.

Now, it gets ugly: "Then Jesus entered a house, and again a crowd gathered, so that he and his disciples were not even able to eat. When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, 'He is out of his mind.'” (Mark 3:20-21) 

Punch No. 1:  Jesus, stop acting crazy!  You are scaring us!  This business could get You killed!

Then comes Punch No.2:  The Pharisees show up and start accusing Jesus.  They posit that He is possessed by Satan and that's where His power comes from.  Whoa.  

His family is saying He is out of His mind and the Pharisees are saying He is possessed.  Now all my bells are ringing for the displeasure, anger and chaos is huge here, and I would be scrambling to get everyone calmed down and tell them what is really going on.  But I would have to downplay or downright denigrate my calling, my ministry's legitimacy, my Father's confirmation, and how I am doing this in obedience...but I am really sorry all of you are so ticked at me!  Sorry, sorry, sorry... 

But Jesus is always about the TRUTH, not making others happy, comfortable or content with what He does.  What He does is in obedience to the Father.  

But you might be thinking:  Hold on there, Rhonda... I am not Jesus!

No, true, but the same Power that resurrected Him is in you if you have accepted Him as Savior and Lord: "And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you." (Rom. 8:11) 

Did you catch the enormity of that?  Jesus was raised to life after a hideous death by the power of God and that same Power--His very own Holy Spirit--lives in you.  So, no while you are not Jesus, you may tap into that same Power for guidance and wisdom as you walk in Him.

So, Jesus is faced with a family who thinks He is crazy and the religious leaders who think He is under the power of evil.

But His response is the truth.  No shading, diluting or trying to recreate the moment so that no one is unhappy:  He says that His family are those people who do the will of His Father, and that if you attribute the works of God to Satan, you are in danger of committing a sin of eternal proportions.  

I am learning, as I share and read along with you, that the "cure" for co-dependency is truth and The Truth.  Jesus spoke the truth in the synagogue that day: Isaiah's words were written about Him. The good news and purpose of His ministry were contained in those words.  He was saying that day, "Don't take My word for it...take the Word for what I am doing."

He reclaimed that Sabbath from an avoidance of work back to doing compassionate acts, thereby showing how His Father saw the Sabbath.  Finally, He reminded His family that family is not a biological bungee cord that allows for little movement.  Family are those people who, like Jesus, want to follow the Father with purpose and truth. 

So, truth and Jesus Himself being the Truth, the Way and the Life, is liberating for a CoDeWo like me.  If I am listening to Him in prayer and allowing Him to guide me through His Word (so I can see the real truth, not my skewed co-dependent view of it, flushed with fear and chaos) then I am being slowly set free.

Truth has its costs, as we see in the life of Jesus. How about this:  Next time you are tempted to lie, diminish or downright excuse what you believe is God's way and will for you, think of yourself in a courtroom, and ask yourself, am I telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help me, God? 

Then pray for strength from the very One who called Himself, "The Truth."  It won't be easy, but real change never is. But you are not doing this stepping away from co-dependency on your own.  He goes with you.   

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