Stripping Away the Image

Just the other day, I had the opportunity to sit in on a “peer intervention” at an inpatient drug and alcohol treatment program.

The purpose of the intervention was to allow the patient’s peers to confront him about his behaviors that were preventing him from progressing in the program. Unlike the stereotype intervention, this one is carried out in a caring and concerned way. After the intervention, the person facilitating the training made an interesting statement. He said, “Traditional therapy is centered on comforting the disquieted. This process is about disquieting the comfortable.” He went on to explain that the patients involved in the program have spent a lifetime building up a false image of themselves ,and that, only by having that image stripped away, would the person be able to see themselves as they really are. Until then, they really had no motivation to change the way they thought, lived, and treated others around them.

What the facilitator said stuck in my head and stayed there, dangling, until I finally relented and began to ponder it. When I encounter such concepts in the world, I often dissect them, looking for connections to my spiritual life and Christian walk.

Suddenly, it occurred to me that the very words of the facilitator summed up a lot of the efforts of Jesus. He, too, came to disquiet the comfortable. At first, this concept may seem contradictory to articles in the last issue about the homeless and their need for us to reach out and meet their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs. However, this isn’t the type of person I’m talking about. The people he conflicted were the spiritual leadership that had entrapped the people in their rules and regulations. They had become comfortable in the power, control, and status they had acquired. He disquieted the rich young ruler who thought he had it all under control (don’t we all). And, he disquieted the masses of followers when he told them what it would take if they desired to continue walking with him. I can almost hear him saying to us now, “Hey, if you want to follow me, you’re going to have to hate your mother and father … you don’t need a house to sleep in … you don’t have to worry about your clothes … you have to eat my flesh and drink my blood…”

Oh yeah, that last one is where they all walked away. All but twelve anyway. I can’t help but to think right now, would I have made it thirteen?

__________________________________

By Michael Yoder

Michael Yoder is a married father of three children. He has been involved in local youth ministry for over twenty years and currently oversees the Youth Program at Bible Center Fellowship in Salem, OR. His current position as the Assistant Superintendent of Transitional Services at the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem puts food on the table and a roof over his family’s head.

Photo “Divine Intervention” By Lucy Jodlowska

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