Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to change? Sometimes, even if it is a situation we do not like, it can be hard to make the desired changes. When my daughter was 5 years old, she was in trouble (she’s been in trouble since then). When my wife and I began talking to her about her behavior she said, “It’s all their fault!” We were a little puzzled and asked, “Whose fault?” She said “Theirs, Adam and Eve’s. If they hadn’t sinned, I wouldn’t be in trouble right now!” A pretty good argument, especially for a 5-year-old!
Do you wish to get well?
I am reminded of the story in the Bible of the paralyzed man at the pool waters of Bethesda, which means House of Mercy. The waters were known for their healing powers. I am referring to John 5:2-15. The scriptures talk of this man who had been paralyzed for at least 38 years. The first one to get into the waters after they were “stirred up” by an angel would be healed of any physical affliction he had (John 5:4). The paralyzed man told Jesus he was not able to get into the waters and wanted Jesus to heal him. Jesus responded by asking the man what appears to be a very strange question, “Do you wish to get well?”
Why would Jesus ask someone who had been paralyzed for 38 years if he wanted to get well? That is either one of the most insensitive questions ever asked……..or the most profound. Think about it. For 38 years very little was expected of this man and with good reason. Everyone knew him. When they saw him walking, they were going to ask questions. His entire life as he knew it was going to change. People were going to expect things from him. He would have to make choices and deal with temptations that, up until now, were not options. As difficult as his life had been, he had grown accustomed to it. There was security in this predictability. Jesus said to him, “Arise, take up your pallet, and walk.” Even then the man had a choice to make. He did. He got up and walked.
What’s the point?
In counseling others, there comes a point where counselees reach a crossroads. I think most of us can identify with this whether we are in counseling or not. Do we want to be healed? If we are unhappy in our personal life, our marriage, our parenting style, our job, do we want to be healed? Perhaps it is some painful issue from our past that we have been avoiding . . . do we want to be healed? If we have grown accustomed to the way things are, change can be very frightening. We have a fear of the unknown that can paralyze us just like the man at the pools of Bethesda.
Like Megan, we can blame Adam and Eve or others that may have contributed to our struggles, but as long as we focus on others, we don’t deal with ourselves. Perhaps it isn’t as profound as the above. It could be a job change, too much television, overwork, judging others, bad habits. Whatever it is, ask yourself . . . Is it paralyzing me? Am I afraid to change? Is my life too comfortable or secure to change? “Do you want to be healed?”
Keith Niager L.C.S.W.
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