I recently shared this Bible passage in one of my coaching classes.
6 Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. 3 If anyone thinks they are somethingwhen they are not, they deceive themselves. 4 Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, 5 for each one should carry their own load. 6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.
7 Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. 8 Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. 9 Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.
This passage speaks to me of watching out for my loved ones and helping those that are in need. At the same time, I need to make sure that I’m conducting myself humbly.
A lot of times, I notice someone saying something out of line, or doing something that could later lead to problems, but I don’t step forward to say anything. I tend to feel like I don’t want to speak up because I might hurt that person’s feelings. But, this is a really backward way of thinking!
If I see a friend doing something wrong, I’m supposed to reach out and help them! Why would I ever think that keeping quiet would bring any benefits? If I saw a friend walking out into traffic, I’d for sure yell out to them, chase after them and do everything I could to save their life. When I see someone doing something that is potentially damaging, but not immediately life threatening, I should treat it with the same urgency.
This passage also says in verse 1, “But watch yourselves, or you may also be tempted.” To me, this means that as I’m trying to help someone else, I have to watch myself, or I could fall into the same problem that I’m trying to help my friend get out of. Verse 3 says, “If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” This tells me that I have to keep myself in check to make sure I don’t become arrogant in my attempts to help others. I can’t forget that I also make mistakes and also need help from others.
These are tenets of life that I can apply in so many areas – not just with family and friends, but with all that I interact with.
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That same day Jesus went out of the house and sat by the lake. 2 Such large crowds gathered around him that he got into a boat and sat in it, while all the people stood on the shore. 3 Then he told them many things in parables, saying: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. 9 Whoever has ears, let them hear.”
10 The disciples came to him and asked, “Why do you speak to the people in parables?”
11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them. 12 Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
though hearing, they do not hear or understand.
14 In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah:
“‘You will be ever hearing but never understanding;
you will be ever seeing but never perceiving.
15 For this people’s heart has become calloused;
they hardly hear with their ears,
and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
hear with their ears,
understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.’[a]
16 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. 17 For truly I tell you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
18 “Listen then to what the parable of the sower means: 19 When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in their heart. This is the seed sown along the path. 20 The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. 21 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 22 The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. 23 But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
This is a story about an invalid who had been disabled for 38 years. Jesus came upon this man when he was at a pool where disabled people would lay. Jesus asked him if he wanted to get well. Instead of answering with a resounding "yes" or "no", the invalid complained that there is no one that would help him. Jesus went ahead and healed the man.
This story is important to me because I had to wonder if the invalid really wanted to be healed or not. After 38 years, it would seem that some progress might be made, or at least attempted. Instead of answering with a resounding "YES!!!", the invalid seemed more interested in complaining about his life. This shows me that I too can be quite comfortable with my discomfort. I too can choose to sit on my butt and complain rather than actually take action to make things change.
I also wondered why the invalid didn't seem to express any gratitude. Dr. Tae Yun Kim answered this by saying that he was so comfortable with his problems, he didn't really want to be healed, because then he would have to change.
I look at my own challenges and see there are some that I actively strive to overcome, and others that I choose to complain and be complacent about. How do I differentiate between challenges to work on overcoming and those to complain about? I have no idea. Maybe it is the perceived effort involved, maybe it is how deep the challenges are, I'm still not sure. What I am sure about is that if I don't do something to change, things will be the same 5, 10, 20 years from now.
It's my life, I'm the only one that can take charge. I can get guidance and advice from others, but I'm the one that needs to step forward to make it happen.
Even after Jesus healed the invalid, the invalid didn't know who it was that healed him. Jesus found the man later and told the man that now he is well again, stop sinning or something worse might happen to him.
While I'm not 100% sure what sins Jesus was referring to, this spoke to me of having gratitude and not going back to old ways. If I overcome a challenge, then go back to my old ways, that means I'm essentially turning my back on myself. I'm going backwards, not forwards.
ACTUAL TEXT FROM BIBLE:
The Healing at the Pool
1 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”
7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”
8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked.
The day on which this took place was a Sabbath, 10 and so the Jewish leaderssaid to the man who had been healed, “It is the Sabbath; the law forbids you to carry your mat.”
11 But he replied, “The man who made me well said to me, ‘Pick up your mat and walk.’ ”
12 So they asked him, “Who is this fellow who told you to pick it up and walk?”
13 The man who was healed had no idea who it was, for Jesus had slipped away into the crowd that was there.
14 Later Jesus found him at the temple and said to him, “See, you are well again. Stop sinning or something worse may happen to you.” 15 The man went away and told the Jewish leaders that it was Jesus who had made him well.
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