Manage episode 366115964 series 3083900
Recognizing that I need help is the beginning of everything. It is the beginning of change. It is the beginning of healing. It is the beginning of becoming righteous.
It is a very simple statement and simple attitude that we can have. And yet the result is powerful.
The woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages for twelve years experienced healing. She had nothing to show for and she did nothing to deserve healing. The only thing she had was this attitude.
I need help.
The result was phenomenal. She was not just physically healed. She became free from social isolation. During Jesus' time, woman's bleeding was considered dirty. So once a month, women had to go through the humiliation of feeling dirty. It was not a good thing to do to a human being. But this woman with haemorrhages had to live with it not just once a month but every day of her life. Sometimes our culture can be cruel and quite oppressive. If our culture is cruel and oppressive, then we should be bold enough to change that. Now she became free from the social stigma.
She experienced a life-changing miracle. It was simple. Her attitude of I need help is all she needed.
The same thing happened to the second story. The daughter of a leader of the synagogue. She was dead. But the father did not give up. He came to Jesus. He came with this simple attitude.
I need help.
His simple plea of I need help saved his daughter. He experienced the wonderful miracle of having back his daughter.
The woman who had been suffering from haemorrhages and the leader of the synagogue had this simple attitude.
I need help.
This Simple Request
Your prayer should be simple. Lord, I need help. You don't need to say anything more. You don't need to say a long prayer, using fancy words.
When you live your life with this simple attitude, your life will become very simple and amazingly, you will experience the wonderful mystery of God.
You don't need to impress anyone. You don't need to prove yourself to others. You don't need to show how great you are.
You simply come to God and say I need you. You simply come to others and say I need you.
Do you know how European church started? Very simple. It started with this vision. St. Paul's original plan was to go to Asia. But he saw this vision at night. This was the vision.
During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, Come over to Macedonia and help us.'(Acts 16:9)
Macedonia was Europe. Come and help us. With this simple request, the whole Europe became the Christian country.
Lord, help me. That is the attitude of asking for mercy. I have nothing to give you. I have no sacrifice to present to you. I come simply because I need your help.
But God likes that. Matthew tells us this.
I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13)
That was how Matthew felt when he was first called. Matthew was a tax collector. Everybody hated tax collectors. They took advantage of people financially. They were like thieves. To make money, to be rich, they threw away their dignity and personal integrity. They lived their whole life with this sense of being dirty and impure. Like the woman who had suffered from haemorrhages. The woman for the wrong reason. But Matthew, maybe, for the understandable reason.
When Jesus called Matthew, he was quite surprised. He was so honoured. Jesus' calling was a pure honour.
Matthew didn't deserve to be a disciple of Jesus. He did too many bad things to people. And he knew that too. And yet, this great teacher called him to follow him.
He experienced the mercy of God. What Jesus said at that moment was so powerful to him.
For I have come to call not the righteous but sinners. (Matthew9:13)
Matthew remembered this moment so vividly. It was Matthew who wrote this gospel. That phrase cut to the heart of Matthew. Matthew changed forever. He was only a tax collector but he wrote this master piece, called the Gospel According To Matthew. It became the Bible for us. The power of mercy. He learned the power of mercy.
Jesus said this.
Go and learn what this means, I desire mercy, not sacrifice. (Matthew 9:13)
Pharisees did not have the clue of what their own prophet, Hosea said. What I just quoted was quotation from Hosea. They didn't live with the attitude of I need help. They had the attitude of I am righteous.
We are righteous not because we are clean and sinless but because of God's mercy, we can stand before God as a righteous person.
True righteousness begins with I need help. From that true righteousness, the wonderful and powerful miracles can happen.
There is a clear difference between the righteousness that I built with my own power and the righteousness that is given to me as a gift.
Jesus explains this contrast with his parable.
He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and regarded others with contempt: Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax-collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax-collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income.
But the tax-collector, standing far off, would not even look up to heaven, but was beating his breast and saying, God, be merciful to me, a sinner! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.'(Luke 18:9-14)
God wants true righteousness. True righteousness comes from the recognition that I am a sinner and I need help. When you experience God's forgiveness, you become truly righteous.
I talked about entitlement attitude and indebted attitude last week. False righteousness makes up entitlement attitude but the true righteousness creates indebted attitude.
Healing and Reconciliation
True righteousness does not make you judgmental but compassionate. From this compassion, healing can happen. You receive mercy and you become merciful to others.
That was what Jesus said.
Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
Eg) I attended this forum last Thursday.
Stories of two women
Robi Damelin and Laila AlShekh
Laila – Palestinian woman
Robi – Israel Woman
Laila lost her son. Israel solider threw tear gas at her village and it affected the lungs of Laila's son. He was only 6 months old. She wanted to go to hospital but she was stopped at check point. By the time, she went to the hospital, it was too late. The baby died.
Robi's son was an Israel soldier and he was a very kind soldier. But he was shot to death by a Palestinian sniper.
They both struggled with their horrible reality. But instead of taking the way of revenge, they took the way of mercy and forgiveness. That is true righteousness. From this righteousness, came the healing.
They both work for healing of over 600 families who have lost immediate family members to the ongoing conflict and work together for reconciliation and a just resolution to the conflict.
False righteousness brings division and violence but true righteousness brings healing and reconciliation.
God desires mercy, not sacrifice.