It is a big responsibility to be well. There is a story in the New Testament where Jesus heals a man possessed by a legion of demons, who, when facing expulsion by Jesus, ask to be sent into a herd of 2,000 pigs. Jesus grants their request and the whole herd rushes headlong into the sea and drowns. Gone are the demons; clothed and in his right mind is the man. You might think the town would be happy to be rid of this menacing madman, but that’s not the case.
“A crowd soon gathered around Jesus, but they were frightened when they saw the man who had been demon possessed, for he was sitting there fully clothed and perfectly sane. Those who had seen what happened to the man and to the pigs told everyone about it, and the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone.” (Mark 5:15-17)
Although at first it sounds odd that they would want Jesus to go away after healing someone, I don’t have to think very far past my own dysfunctions to understand this. The demon-possessed guy belongs in the graveyard, screaming, breaking his chains, and terrorizing the neighborhood, and the pigs belong on the hillside gently grazing. This is definitely a codependent town, comfortable with its accepted blend of sickness and tranquility.
Until Jesus comes and messes everything up. Jesus is threatening to everything we hold dear, especially the things that are bad for us.
There is a board game called “DysFUNction” that illustrates this perfectly. It’s a game centered on telling the most dysfunctional stories on your family and friends. The funniest and most dysfunctional stories gain the most points, and points are rewarded by receiving more baggage. The person with the most baggage wins. Now what does that tell you about being dysfunctional if someone can create a game around it? The comment on the outside of the box says it all: “The only condition to play is the human condition.” This is obviously everybody’s problem.
Jesus can make us well, you know, but it’s going to mean change. You and I have to decide if we want that. Do you want to get rid of the raving lunatic in the graveyard of your life, or would you prefer to keep things as they are and send Jesus away? You can’t have it both ways.
We had to make a family decision last week that will force some major changes in our lives. I would be lying if I didn’t say there are times I want the old way back, even though it was unhealthy and unsafe. Yet it was what we knew and adjusted to, and soon came to depend on. Living with Jesus can be upsetting. It just might make us well, and then what are we going to do? We will just have to depend on Him instead of the sick way of life we were tolerating. Ask yourself what you want.
Embrace Jesus; embrace change.