Codependent town

th-73Change always means adjusting to what’s uncomfortable. All change, even for the good, is upsetting.

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.

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7 Responses to Codependent town

  1. Colleen says:

    That’s a huge problem of people today. Most people have problems with change from employment, home, social, etc… If one opens their ears they can pick up on the disgruntled folks complaining about “the change”,lol! People do not like to be uncomfortable, this is why you never seen them walking with a pebble in their shoe, change gives many this same effect 😉

  2. Janet Licklider says:

    I will be praying for your family and the decisions you have had to make. God bless you for the support you give so many in so many ways.

  3. I’m reminded of the story in Mark about the father who brought his demon-possessed son to Jesus for healing. The boy had been in his tormented condition since “childhood” which leads me to think that he was now either an older teen-ager or young adult. That gives you an idea of how many years his dad, mom, siblings, and neighbors patiently endured the boys self-destructive outbursts. Whether this family’s long-suffering could be termed “co-dependency” I’m not sure, but I have no doubt the boys parents, through all those years, tried their best to get their son healed through prayers and practitioners of healing – whether they were faith-based rabbi’s, or doctors of medicine, or possibly others of lesser character (i.e.: charlatans and snake-oil salesman).
    No doubt It was a situation they became accustomed to and knew would ultimately need to be changed but – despite past ill-fated attempts – they pressed on together as a “dysfunctional” family as best they could, even possibly comfortably.
    So, when they heard about another troupe of miracle workers coming to town – led by that famous young rabbi, Jesus of Nazareth – dad, in his desperation, was willing to give that ‘faith-thing’ one last try, even though he probably didn’t really believe anything would change (remembering all the previous disappointments).
    Dad may have thought that if his son weren’t healed… then, “oh well, nothing gained – nothing lost; we’re used to living this way anyhow. No more, though, will I believe that this God of my fathers cares about me or my family. But, what if this Jesus…?”
    What if this were the time designated by God for this boys healing and this family’s recovery of their faith? What if…..?
    With that teeny-tiny iota of belief this dad possesses, he takes a gamble and his son to visit these men who have reportedly fed the hungry, cast out demons, healed the infirm, raised the dead, and restored the hope of many Judeans in the one true living, loving, intimate God.
    Dad and son arrive to see a large crowd and patiently move forward toward the disciples. They make their way up to the front of the line – having now seen firsthand the tremendous results of the laying on of hands and words of blessing – and finally, it’s their turn.

    Eyes closed, prayers prayed, hands touching the boy…
    What the…?
    Please, I beg of you, try again!
    Eyes shut tighter, prayers more deliberately spoken. arms embracing the boy…
    Everyone looks perplexed.
    Again!!! PLEASE!!!
    Eyes fixed on Heaven, sincere supplications being invoked, arms and hands stretched upward, men down on their knees, serious silence among the onlookers.
    Heads shake. Mumbling soon turns into verbal assaults and accusations.
    Sides are beginning to form. Rocks are being gathered.
    Tears are welling up in dads eyes: tears of sorrow, anger, and the ever-familiar discouragement. “God, why do you hate me so? What have we ever done to deserve this?? Are you really real? Do you really care? He’s just a boy! Why, God, why….??”
    Then, God Himself shows up.

    “What’s all the argument about?” Jesus asks.
    Dad answers, “Teacher, I brought my son for you to heal—he can’t talk because he is possessed by a demon. And whenever the demon is in control of him it dashes him to the ground and makes him foam at the mouth and grind his teeth and become rigid. So I begged your disciples to cast out the demon, but they couldn’t do it.”
    Jesus says, “Bring the boy to Me.”
    But when the boy sees Jesus, the demon convulses the child horribly, and he falls to the ground writhing and foaming at the mouth.
    Jesus asks the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
    “Since he was very small,” he answers, “and the demon often makes him fall into the fire or into water to kill him. Oh, have mercy on us and do something if you can.”
    “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
    Immediately the boy’s father exclaims tearfully and desperately, “I DO BELIEVE; HELP ME OVERCOME MY UNBELIEF!!!”
    When Jesus sees the crowd growing, He rebukes the demon and the demon screams terribly and convulses the boy one last time before leaving him; the boy now lays there limp and motionless, to all appearances dead. A murmur runs through the crowd—“He’s dead.”
    Jesus, though, takes the boy by the hand and helps him up… the boy is all right!

    Talk about a paradigm shift in co-dependent living!
    After having grown accustomed to living in a certain way for so many years – after having been numb for so long to the continuous pain, the fear of forces beyond their control, the clucking of tongues from “friends” behind their backs, and apparent dismal hopelessness of their situation – dad still took action, perhaps a last-gasp effort, to bring absolute healing to his son and his family.
    It must have been difficult to follow through after all those years of discouragement but follow through he did.
    As a result of this parents decisiveness, the lives of this dad, son, and their family are now changed for-the-better forever – they’ve become truly “co-dependent” on and trusting in God!

    If I’m reading my Webster’s correctly, we’re all codependent in one way or another with God and each other. While the word “codependent” has, as of late, taken on a negative meaning, we have the power to reverse that sense and allow it to define us in a positive way. The choice ultimately comes down to what we decide and on whom (or Whom – capital “W”) we will depend:
    Are we going to remain comfortable among the tombstones, or with the grazing swine, or the crowds of naysayers, contentedly resigned to the seeming meaninglessness (or rut) of our day-to-day existence?
    Or shall we decide to leave the dead-ends and destructive influences behind by breaking out of those not-so-comfortable comfort zones, by taking purposeful action, asking Jesus to guide us through our fears, helping us overcome our unbelief, and allowing Him to firmly take us by the hand with the ultimate pronouncement, “This boy, this girl is all right!”

    Do not fear. Be encouraged. Take that chance. Exercise that tiny iota of faith. Choose to believe. Choose to live. Embrace Jesus; Embrace change.

    Shalom to you and yours!

  4. Tim says:

    I have in the past depended on people I deemed my personal board members.
    I trusted their views of my life circumstances from the outside looking in.
    No one knew that they were on my board, I just listened to them.
    As a builder it is easy to do things like I always have. Sometimes an outsider (like a salesman, a new worker) can see what I’m doing and say, “have you seen this”? Once in a while someone has a idea I like! Lol
    My point is,
    As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
    We all live with “demons” we can’t see, our “blind spots”
    Having someone ask, what are you doing? isn’t a bad thing.

  5. William A. Roe says:

    Adjusting to changes,even good ones often requires a “paradigm shift”.I am a widower who has been blest with an only daughter.Recently she married and will be moving to the opposite coast.
    I don’t know exactly what your situation is John but I will pray for you and your family.
    Bill R

  6. strange and wonderful ways, He uses… funny – this is one of the last (big picture recent) Catches i remember reading…(lots of “boots” my own, separate cover) … I still have your voice saved on my VM – everytime i go through needing to delete old ones, i come across it. and i smile- i have John Fischer in my corner– how could Chandler (both of us having the Lord and you) possibly lose?

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