Monday, October 29, 2012

"I want to see” "私は見たい!"

   Blindness is a difficult handicap.  I remember seeing a movie that dealt with the difficult life of Helen Keller.  She showed the world how to live above the handicap.  She was the first blind deaf person to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree.  A brave woman with a great deal of determination.

   My friend in Long Island a long time ago was born blind.  Adam went through high school at a Blind school just outside New York City.  I met him while at Adelphi Un on Long Island.  It was a good open friendship.  I had never spoken with a blind man before and he was open to be very honest with me.  He invited me over to his apartment one evening, unlocked the door and walked in.  No lights were on. He turned on the TV for the sound and was surprised I was still standing at the door---in the dark.  Adam taught me a great deal about blindness.  I asked him once to tell me what goes on in his mind when I say “sun rise”.  Does he ‘see’ anything?  Adam said he felt warmth on my face and knew the sun was shining on him.”  No colors—not knowing what to call color, he said he ‘saw’ something that ‘might be color’ but he had nothing to evaluated that with.

   The fact of both illustrations is that both Adam and Helen Keller stayed blind.  One was blind since birth and the other became blind soon after due to an illness.

   In our story today,  John 9:1-41—this one you may have looked at before —the man in question was blind.  He was known to be blind.  He sat by the road to receive donations, or alms from passers-by.  People knew him and that he was born blind.  There was a false teaching back then—which still is found today—that he or his parents MUST have sinned to create such a condition for this man.  The disciples believed that as well and asked the Master, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Jesus responds: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.”               “While I am in the world, I am the Light of the world.”
   Then, as the story continues, Jesus spat on the ground and made some mud and applied that mud to the man’s eyes and was told to go and wash in the Pool.  He went and washed and came home seeing.  People were amazed while others were discounting the whole thing as someone who ‘looked like’ the blind man.  He knew and said he had been blind but now he could see. 
   The whole story goes on to another situation that makes the greatness of the healing almost disappear.  Problems came up because Jesus had done this healing— on the Holy Day!  The leaders were upset with that part of the story and not happy for the man who is now seeing.  As far as we know, many lost the real joy of the situation.  The story ends with a conversation between the Teachers of the Law and Jesus.  Jesus calls them out and says:
John 9:39 Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind.”  40 Some Pharisees who were with him heard him say this and asked, “What? Are we blind too?”  41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin; but now that you claim you can see, your guilt remains.” ヨハネ福音書 9: 39 そこでイエスは言われたわたしはさばきためにこ世に来ましたそれは見えない者が見えるよになり見える者が盲目となるためです40 パリサイ人中でイエスとともにいた人々がことを聞いてイエスに言った私たちも盲目なですか41 イエスは彼らに言われたもしあなたがたが盲目であったならあなたがたに罪はなかったでしょしかしあなたがたは今私たちは目が見えると言っていますあなたがた罪は残るです
   Now the teaching here is more than healing a blind man.  It has to do with what God was doing.  The key part of the passage is: so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.  

     So, are you blind?  Short sighted?  Near sighted?  Do you have a blind spot?  So easy to see that in others and I would suggest that if you are in a relationship right now, you do not see your blind spots very well indeed!  In fact, I guarantee that you think your eyesight—as far as the relationship between you and your significant other—if there are faults, the problem lies with the other person and not you.  Never you.  You can see all things very well.  You, like the Pharisees of long ago, would say the same thing to me today: “What? Are we blind too?”  “Am I blind, too?  No way possible!”    I think not.  I think you---and I ---am blind.
Let’s talk about it. 
   Social contact: Many experts in Human behavior believes that the more social ties a person has, the better the health and the lower the death rate. Conversely, they indicated that the more isolated the person, the poorer the health and the higher the death rate.  Social ties are good preventative medicine for physical problems and for mental-emotional-behavior problems. 

   Are you blind to the problems facing relationships today?  The kind of a person you were before you got married will not change so much after marriage.  Friendly before a marriage to ‘get’ a partner is unfortunately true in some cases; it should not be true within the Body of Christ.  We might need to look at each other in much better light than we are doing right now.                                        
   Take a look at 1 Timothy 5: 1-2 Do not rebuke an older man harshly, but exhort him as if he were your father. Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity, テサロニケ人へ手紙 第一 5:1 兄弟たちそれらがいつなまたど時かについてはあなたがたは私たちに書いてもら必要がありません2 日が夜中盗人に来るといことはあなたがた自身がよく承知しているからです

 8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever, 8 しかし私たちは昼者な信仰と愛を胸当てとして着け救い望みをかぶととしてかぶって慎み深くしていましょ

 21 I charge you, in the sight of God and Christ Jesus and the elect angels, to keep these instructions without partiality, and to do nothing out of favoritism, 21 しかしすべてことを見分けてほんとに良いもを堅く守りなさい

 22b Keep yourself pure, 22 悪はどんな悪でも避けなさい
Single men are jailed more often, earn less, have more illnesses and die at a younger age than married men.  Married men with cancer live 20% longer than single men with the same cancer.  Women, who often have more close friendships than men, survive longer with the same cancers.  Married or not, relationships keep us alive.  It might even be better if we work at those relationships harder!
   And that should be true within the Body of Christ—even more so as we know where we had come from.  You remember that the early church came from?  1 Cor 6:8-11 8 Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers and sisters. Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. コリント人へ手紙 第一 6: 8 ところがそれどころかあなたがたは不正を行だまし取るしかもそなことを兄弟に対してしているです9 あなたがたは正しくない者は神国を相続できないことを知らないですかだまされてはいけまんせん不品行な者偶像を礼拝する者姦淫をする者男娼となる者男色をする者10 盗む者貪欲な者酒に酔そしる者略奪する者はみな国を相続することができません11 あなたがた中にある人たちは以前はそな者でしたしかし主イエスキリスト御名と私たち御霊によってあなたがたは洗われ聖なる者とされ義と認められたです
   We know were we had come from; we know where we are now—bought by the Blood of the Lamb and we know where we are headed—Glory.

   Here are some suggestions for your relationships:
Ten Commandments of Human Relations  人間関係の十戒
1. Speak to people/人に話すThere is nothing as nice as a cheerful word of greeting.
2. Smile at people. It takes seventy-two muscles to frown, only fourteen to smile.  スマイル
3. Call people by name. Music to anyone's ears is the sound of his/her own name.  相手の名前で呼ぶ
4. Be friendly and helpful.  親しみやすく
5. Be cordial. Speak and act as if everything you do is genuinely a pleasure, and if it isn't, learn to make it so.   誠心誠意に
6. Be genuinely interested in people. You can like almost everybody if you try. BE AT PEACE WITH THEM—AS MUCH AS IS POSSIBLE. 関心をもつ
7. Be generous with praise, cautious with criticism. 惜しみない称賛を送る/批判に注意する
8. Be considerate with the feelings of others. There are usually three sides to a controversy: yours, the other fellow's, and the right one. 相手の感情に注意する
9. Be alert to serve. What counts most in life is what we do for others. 接するのに注意が必要です
10. Add to this a good sense of humor, a big dose of patience, and a dash of humility, and you will be rewarded manifold through lifeユーモア、忍耐と謙遜を追加   Adapted from the Bible Tract Bulletin.   As you are doing already!
   The words we say to one another really do make the difference!
   When I was a child, I remember the saying: “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt you.”  That is only half true.  Sticks and stone WILL break bones and mess up your face AND words will cut you apart.  Beware of what you say to each other. 
On Getting Along With People
The SIX most important words:  "I admit I made a mistake."
The FIVE most important words:  "You did a good job."
The FOUR most important words:  "What do you think?"
The THREE most important words:  "After you please."
The TWO most important words:  "Thank you."
The ONE most important word:  "We"
The LEAST important word:  "I"
The Carnegie Technological Institute has stated that 90% of all people who fail in their life's vocation fail because they cannot get along with people.  Lloyd Perry, Getting the Church on Target,  Moody, 77.   We want people to succeed in life-to move forward! 
   When we are talking about married couples and who it is that wins and who it is that looses in a family fight, the answer is: no one.  Both loose.  We need to strengthen our families more now than ever before.  With marriage breakups almost the same inside the Church as it is outside the Church, we need some help.  We need to KNOW that we are blind—or at least, shortsighted. Go to the One who heals!
   Here is what we are going to do…just for this Sunday, we will talk about ONE thing, one aid that we can all benefit from.  Here it is: Let the river flow into your heart.  A personal check-list—without a list, that can help put our relationships back where God wants them to be AND where He created them to be.
 Fellowship with the Spirit.  御霊との交わりAlong with fellowship with each other, each of us needs to sharpen our spiritual flow.  We need to be replenished from within so that our outflow will reflect His Heart.  We need to replenish our spiritual life.
   Without a life giving flowing spiritual river of God’s Grace flowing in your heart, we will find we cannot give what we don’t have.  We all might feel we are at peak spiritual condition but if we are honest—and we need to be—we will see that our walk and our talk don’t agree.  We talk about a close walk with the Lord but you and I both know we are far from it.  We need to sharpen our walk with the Lord.
   When my friend Adam wanted to walk across the library at the Univ he attended, he depended upon someone to walk along side him.  He would hold onto the helpers elbow and together, they would make it to the other side. 
   Do you have someone you can use as a guide?  Are you someone’s guide?  It might seem like the blind leading the blind but if you are connected to the Spiritual Stream of a close walk with the Spirit of God, then you will make it across life.
   How long does it take to get spiritually dry?  Good question.  Does it take a year to become dry?  A month?  Two weeks? A day?  The Scriptures instruct us to guard our hearts daily! 毎日、私たちの心を守る Daily going to Him in prayer and with an honest heart, asking Him to grow you.  Asking Him to move you.  Asking Him to refresh your heart.  Do this even while you are walking with your partner.  If God has brought you together, and I believe He has—He does not make mistakes—then you need to keep on walking.  And guarding your heart—daily.
    There is a need to linger in His Presence. 彼の存在に留まる A five min devotional time while you are running off to the bus or train just will not cut it in the long run.  Even in the short run, you are cutting yourself off from being in His presence.  This discipline takes time.  He has the time, so  meet with Him!  Get to know Him better than you knew Him yesterday.  Stay in His Word.  Listen to His voice as you linger before Him.  This is not Bible study time.  This is “I’m going to save my marriage—my relationship—sort of time.”  It is relationship time!
Turn with me to Jer 29:11-13.  11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. エレミヤ29: 11 わたしはあなたがたために立てている計画をよく知っているからだ御告げそれはわざわいではなくて平安を与える計画でありあなたがたに将来と希望を与えるため12 あなたがたがわたしを呼び求めて歩きわたしに祈るならわたしはあなたがたに聞こ13 もしあなたがたが心を尽くしてわたしを捜し求めるならわたしを見つけるだろ
1 Cor 9:24-27.  24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a Crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. 1コリント9: 24 競技場で走る人たちはみな走っても賞を受けるはただひとりだといことを知っているでしょですからあなたがたも賞を受けられるよに走りなさい25 また闘技をする者はあらゆることについて自制します彼らは朽ちる冠を受けるためにそするですが私たちは朽ちない冠を受けるためにそするです26 ですから私は決勝点がどこかわからないよな走り方をしていません空を打つよな拳闘もしてはいません27 私は自分からだを打ちたたいて従わせますそれは私がほか人に宣べ伝えておきながら自分自身が失格者になることないためです
   Take some time to practice listening to Him.  Practice listening. 彼に聴くことを訓練する  Be still WITHOUT your iPhone, iTouch, your music, emails, Korean Soaps.  And listen to Him and you will see how blind you had been before.
   You will need to agree that those who put their trust in the Lord will be renewed.  That is the way it is supposed to be. Reality is that not all couples and all relationships are healthy.  So, the question is: what do we do with that? だから、私たちは何をすればよいですか? Easy answer: Give it to Jesus.  Harder answer: Give it to Jesus.  Your relationships are worth all the effort you can put into it.  Giving it all to Jesus does cost some personal attention.  Some would look at the Love Chapter in Cor: Love is ___ as the guide-line for us to follow.  I don’t think it is.  Having the mind of Christ my Savior is.
   1 Timothy 6:11, 12 NLT  "But you, Timothy, are a man of God; so run from all these evil things. Pursue righteousness and a godly life, along with faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness. Fight the good fight for the true faith.  Hold tightly to the eternal life to which God has called you, which you have confessed so well before many witnesses." テモテ第一 6: 11 しかし人よあなたはこれらことを避け正しさ敬虔信仰忍耐柔和を熱心に求めなさい12 信仰戦いを勇敢に戦い永遠ちを獲得しなさいあなたはこために召されまた多く証人たち前でりっぱな告白をしました
   One of the key elements in strengthening our relationships in the Chapel is to be engaged in a vibrant community. As we work together, worship together, pray together, and express our thankfulness together, we live out our faith in Christ, our love for one another, and the hope that we have because of the Gospel. So let's enjoy this journey together!
   Grace and Peace to you from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Dr. Lloyd Perry’s Benediction:  
May a dying Savior’s love, a risen Savior’s power, an ascended Savior’s prayer, and a soon coming Savior’s glory be the abundant portion of all those who have been reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. May the peace of God be our portion; may the God of peace be our partner both now and until we meet again.  Amen.