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Monday, November 14, 2011

Ask for help

"What do you want me to do for you?"

That Jesus asks a blind man what he wants is amazing to me.  It seems so obvious that the man wants to see, but Jesus asks anyway.  When the man says that he wants to see, Jesus heals him but at the same time reminds him that something even more important has happened.  Because the blind man believed in Jesus' power to help him,  he is saved. 

The story, which first seems to be about a blind man recovering his sight, becomes a story about all of us.  When we place our trust in and hand over our lives to the Lord, we are saved.  The humility that allows us to let go of our fear and our pride and ask for help, makes it possible for the Lord to change our lives. Asking for help is difficult and can sometimes make us feel weak, but it is a necessary step in the spiritual life. 

A few years ago a young man asked me to help him with his anger. Because he often reacted to others or to perceived slights with an explosion of words, he knew he was isolating himself from his friends, coworkers and family.  It did not matter that almost before the words were out of his mouth he was sorry, by then it was often too late.  The people against whom he was reacting were upset and hurt, and there was little he could do to right the wrong.  His anger had become  his signature and many people avoided him when having a difficult discussion.

The young man knew he needed to change his reactive behavior. I suggested to him that he wear a rubber band around his wrist and touch it when he thought he was getting near his own anger. Then, if could use the rubber band to help him wait five seconds before saying anything, he would be able to interrupt his destructive behavior before it exploded in a torrent of words that hurt and frightened others. The young man wore the rubber band everywhere and slowly his practice began to pay dividends.  He would snap the rubber band against his wrist so that it stung a little when he felt agitated, and each time he did it he was reminded to go slowly, to wait five seconds before he said anything.  After a few months, he reactive anger was tamed.  While he still felt the anger,  he rarely expressed it in ways that hurt or frightened others.  Soon after that, his friends began to sense the change in his behavior and began to trust him again. When we ask for help, like the blind man or my young friend, everything can change and the path that seemed so dark can be full of light.

Today, ask the Lord for the help you need to change a destructive pattern in your life.

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