The Worst Condition

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 counseling.

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

Psa 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 monkey!"

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!!