Becoming an Emotionally Healthy Person
THE MAIN POINT
Becoming Emotionally Healthy Spiritual people means learning and practicing how to love God well, love others well and love ourselves well. Becoming emotionally mature requires learning, practicing and integrating attributes of empathy, respect, kindness, negotiating conflict fairly, and uncovering the hidden expectations we have of others… just to name a few.
The great Jewish theologian Martin Buber described the healthiest or maturest relationship possible between two human beings as an “I-Thou” relationship. In such a relationship, I recognize that I am made in the image of God, and so is every other person. This makes them a “Thou” to me. They have dignity and worth and are to be treated with respect. In most of our human relationships, however, we treat people as objects – like an “it”. In an “I-It” relationship, I treat you as a means to an end. I talk to people in order to get someone off my chest, not to be with them as a unique individual. I talk about people whom I disagree with or do not like as subhumans. I get frustrated when they don’t conform to my plans or see things the way I do.
To get the full impact of the Good Samaritan story, it is helpful to remember that both the priest and the Levite were officials involved with worship at the Jerusalem Temple. They would have known the Law and might have been expected to help the man in need–especially presuming the victim was a member of the Jewish community. A Samaritan, however, was quite the outsider. He would have been the person least expected to help!
Samaritans and Jews were related. Samaria was a region near Israel, between Galilee and Judea. The city of Samaria was the capital of the Northern kingdom of Israel (during the time of the divided kingdoms). When many Israelites were taken into exile by the Babylonians, (587-539 BC), the samaritans were among those left behind. They developed their own worship practices, differently than the Jews, primarily by building a new Temple and creating an alternate center of religion there. Their language evolved into a slightly different version of Aramaic (the Hebrew dialect Jesus spoke) and they had a slightly different version of the Scriptures. Many Samaritans intermarried with the neighboring Canaanites. Because of these changes, the Jews considered them to be “impure” religiously and “half-breeds” racially. To outsiders, Jews and Samaritans would have appeared nearly identical, yet byJesus’ time, there was strong antagonism between Jews and Samaritans.
In the story of the Good Samaritan, both the Priest and the Levite did not make the connection that emotional maturity (loving well) and loving God are inseparable. They missed the “Thou” lying on the side of the road and simply passed him by.
As you prepare the core of the message using personal stories and questions keep in mind these points:
- Who are the “Thou” people that we so often treat as “it”?
- Emotional maturity can be shown in how we love. Share a story that you witnessed emotional maturity in action.
- To nurture a heart that treats every person, ourselves included, as a “Though” and not an “It”, we need to be intentional about our lives. By ordering our lives to understand and experience the love of Jesus, we will be able to give that love away to others. You can’t give what you don’t have. The problem however is our busyness and lack of intentionality. Nurturing an emotionally healthy spirituality in today’s world requires a thoughtful, conscious, and purposeful plan.
- One example of this plan is “A Rule of Life”. A rule of life allows you to prioritize your life in a way which in its simplicity, keeps God at the centre of all you do.
As you prepare the application, challenge and/or encouragement, keep in mind these points:
- Emotionally Healthy Spirituality takes time. Encourage your listeners that this is a journey
- .Challenge your listeners to build a thoughtful, conscious, and purposeful “Rule of Life” plan.
- Pray for your listeners that they may grow up to be emotionally healthy followers of Jesus.