First, let me say that the following
example is only one example, and
that the worst condition is gender neutral - it affects both men and
women equally. So don't let yourself get offended by the fact
that one gender in the following story is 'right' and the other is
'wrong'. Now the story:
Years ago a Christian friend told me
about his experience with marital
counseling. He and his wife were experiencing some marital
difficulties, and his wife had suggested that they needed professional
So they heard of a Christian marital
counselor in their area, and made
an appointment to meet with him. The counselor was a graduate of
a well known Christian university, so they assumed that they would
receive sound Christian advice.
The counselor first met with each of
them separately, then they began
to meet together to work out their differences.
My friend told me that the
counselor's first question to him was
this: "What do I need to know about your wife?" He said
that he had an amazing moment of clarity, and told the counselor,
"There is only one thing you need to know about my wife. She is
always right. She is never wrong. So, when we have a
disagreement, there is no need for discussion or prayer or Bible
study. She simply inflicts as much emotional pain as she needs to
get me to cave in to agree with her views, and then 'peace' is restored
and we go on from there."
The counselor laughed and said,
"That's the 'Jezebel Syndrome'.
Then the counselor proceeded to meet with them together, and spent all
of the following counseling sessions trying to get the husband to
understand his wife.
Let me now remind you that this
condition is gender neutral - it
applies to men and women equally. We all think that we are right
in some, if not all, respects, and it is difficult, if not impossible,
to get us to see any need for us to change when there is conflict.
Is there hope for this
condition? Yes, dear reader, let me assure
you that there is hope, for I have experienced it.
For me the answer came when I was
reading the Bible one day. I
was reading in the Psalms, and came to Psalm 19:12
19:12 Who can discern his errors?
Clear thou me from hidden faults.
Psa 19:13 Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; Let
them not have dominion over me: Then shall I be upright, And I shall be
clear from great transgression.
Psa 19:14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my
heart Be acceptable in thy sight, O Jehovah, my rock, and my redeemer.
God arrested me at the beginning of
that passage! "Who can
understand his errors?"
Our natural inclination is to try to understand other people's errors,
but never our own errors. But if we are desperate enough - when
circumstances of life turn into a crisis - then maybe we are willing
and able to try to understand our own errors! I was in such a
condition, so I asked Jesus to help me to understand my own
errors. He revealed to me that I was selfish and proud, and
trying to get everyone to agree with me! I was shocked, but when
I recovered from my shocked condition I asked Jesus to remove all
selfishness and pride and control from my life, and to impart to me His
meekness and lowliness of heart, and to also impart to me the ability
to stop trying to control others so that God can do what only God can
do in their lives as I let Him do what only He can do in my life!
It was a watershed moment in my life, and I continue to enjoy the
freedom to 'let go and let God' in my life and in other's lives.
Then, in 1995, we heard of the
Toronto Revival. We got the first
book which was written about that Revival, a book called "Spread The
Fire" by Guy Chevreau. In it he chronicled Christian revivals in
America and other places, and then he chronicled what God was doing in
the lives of people through the Toronto Revival.
One such story was the life of Ron
Allen. At the time that
Revival began in Toronto on January 20, 1994, the congregation where
revival started was called the Toronto Airport Vineyard Church.
Obviously it was part of the Vineyard denomination of Christian
churches. That church's pastor was John Arnott, and his
supervising area pastor was the pastor of the Vineyard church in Fort
Wayne, Indiana, USA, named Ron Allen.
On January 20, 1994, after God had
manifested His presence in that
congregation and changed all of their lives in an instant, pastor John
Arnott and the guest speaker Randy Clark began to call everyone they
knew to invite them to their church where 'God had started a
revival'! One of the people whom John Arnott phoned was his
pastor, Ron Allen. When John called Ron and told him that 'What
we have been praying for all of our lives is happening', Ron Allen's
response was reportedly 'Yeah, right!' But then Ron Allen began
to hear news reports about the Toronto Revival, and thought that he had
better 'check it out' to make sure that all was in proper order.
So he took a plane to Toronto, and arrived to 'oversee the
meetings'. The book continued to relate that Ron Allen sat at the
back of the church where he could see everything that was being done,
and he watched as people were being prayed for, and the visible results
of those prayers. Eventually one of the prayer teams arrived
where he stood watching, and asked him if he wanted to be prayed for
too. He said that he did a quick review of his life, and although
he could not think of any particular issues in his life he asked for
prayer anyway. Three hours later he realized that the meeting was
ending, but he was stuck to the carpet in the church and could not move
at all! Eventually some of the members of the congregation helped
him to get his coat on, and took him to his hotel.
The next day some members of the
congregation came to his hotel to help
him to get back to the church, where they sat him on the platform in
the sanctuary because he was 'a dignitary'. At the start of that
evening's meeting John Arnott started the meeting by praying, "Lord,
what You did last night was so great! Please do that
again!" Immediately Ron Allen said that he started to do a great
involuntary 'monkey impression' right on the platform! He could
not stop himself! He said that he was so embarrassed because
people were pointing at him and laughing. So he tried to 'monkey'
behind the piano to hide from the crowd. But then John Arnott
said, "Hey everyone, look at Ron Allen. He looks just like a
Ron reported that he was just totally
embarrassed, and prayed, "Lord
Jesus, why are you doing this to me?" Jesus spoke to his heart
and said, "Ron, I am trying to bless you. But you are so full of
pride and control that I have to deal with that first."
Later, Ron Allen said, "I thought
that I had leadership skills, but it
turned out that they were really pride and control which Jesus had to
remove before He could begin to do what He wanted to do in me and
through me!" When he got back home to Fort Wayne he reported that
God had started to do amazing things in him and through him and the
members of the congregation he served!
I took that testimony in 'Spread The
Fire' as another example of a
person in whom self-righteousness had reigned until Jesus really
assumed the throne of Ron's life, set him free from his
self-righteousness, and began to reign in earnest!
May the same happen in all of our
lives, dear reader!!