Day1 members enjoy the ability not only to download all our Day1 Radio content, but also create their own customized audio playlists. Queue up all the programs you like and listen with our easy to use interactive player while you work, browse the web or just relax.
"People who hide the nature of their illness will seldom find the needed cure." So goes a well-known proverb from the country of Ghana in West Africa.
All human beings have something to hide from others: deep seeded fears, unsolved issues, long standing pains and open wounds, weak points and short comings to name only a few. We all have parts of our lives that we won't let anyone see.
At the same time, we all tend to develop a personal image or reputation to uphold before others and many times it becomes the norm or criteria by which we measure ourselves and other people in the course of human interaction.
How does this happen? How does it come about? Well, there is, of course, personal responsibility involved here. We choose what we want to believe and do. Yet, there is another element that plays an important role in this intriguing dynamic. I call it social programming. Like a computer which is programmed to operate in a certain way, so are our lives. We are constantly bombarded with information which has the potential to shape or reshape our lives, especially the process by which we develop our beliefs, attitudes and feelings about ourselves, other people and even God. This programming process takes place over time not to mention the time involved in the unlearning or undoing of certain aspects of this process. Rebuilding or reprogramming our lives is no easy task.
Let me share with you some illustrations about the effect of social programming in people's lives.
Take Tom and Susan for examples. Few people know their agony. They have been very concerned with their daughter over the last year. They are Caucasian by background. Their daughter is now in a love relationship with an African American young man. They worry that this relationship is getting very serious and might end up in engagement soon. They are suspicious about this man. They are afraid at the reaction of other family members, friends, neighbors, even people at church if the news of engagement were to get out.
What is their illness? It is called racial prejudice. They don't even know this man. They don't even need to know this young man. They have already preconceived ideas about African American people, built in over years of systematic programming, and they are choosing to keep it that way to the detriment of their daughter.
Meet another friend of mine, Kimberly, a very popular and active member in her church. She had lots of friends who cared for her. Yet, one by one, these friends began to disappear when Kimberly announced publicly that she was a lesbian woman. She feared rejection and that is exactly what she got. She worried about being judged and she was right. And, as if this agony were not enough, about a year later Kimberly confided with her pastor and very few friends, that she had acquired the AIDS virus and doctors predicted death in the not so distant future. Months later she died peacefully at home. She knew her disease but others didn't know or didn't want to know theirs. Most of the people who knew her had been programmed to react as they did.
These and other dynamics of human interaction are not new. They have been around for a long, long time, afflicting people in every generation and in every place in the world. What is new is God's reprogramming activity to undo what exists and rebuilding instead lives that are based on God's criteria, God's perspective in looking at life and dealing with other people.
For this purpose you and I are invited to go to Jacob's well in the city of Sychar in the region of Samaria. Here is a place of healing, a place of grace, a place of mercy and forgiveness. The encounter between Jesus and the Samaritan woman can be described as the encounter of a searching soul and a liberating Lord.
The Samaritan woman was fully aware of her pain and agony and over the years had learned to deal with it on her own. She had plenty of reasons to feel guilty and even reasons to blame herself for all her shortcomings. She had been programmed well.
a) First, she was a woman with a lesser role in society, much less without a husband, according to cultural patterns.
b) Second, she was a woman with a bad reputation. She was everybody's woman and nobody's woman at the same time. Yet the fingers were pointed at her and not on those who used her.
c) Third she was a Samaritan, a foreigner, a second-class citizen, using the criteria of the time, a person to be avoided altogether.
d) And fourth, she was a person spiritually thirsty and hungry. She was searching in her own way.
How did Jesus deal with this woman's predicament?
a) First, Jesus didn't reject but accepted her. It created a climate for dialogue.
b) Second, Jesus helps her to see the nature of her illness. It was like putting a mirror in front of her so she can realize the need for God.
c) Jesus gently shows her how to praise God through worship, not in a particular location, but in spirit and truth.
d) And finally, Jesus reveals himself to her as the Messiah, the Son of God.
It is exciting to see our Lord Jesus piercing through layer after layer of social programming and personal responsibility in this woman's life. It took years for her to be the way she was, but Jesus had already begun the healing process. Hidden closets were open, open wounds were healed, scars were dealt with, grace, love and forgiveness were flowing like a river of living waters as the inner longings of a lonely soul were met by the Master.
Her experience echoes the words of St. Augustine when he said: "My soul shall not rest until it rests on thee, oh Lord." St. Paul also writes in Romans Chapter 5: "We now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
The reprogramming process began in her life. She couldn't contain herself and she went all over the place witnessing to the work of Christ. We read later on that many people believed in Jesus because of her testimony.
Kimberly's pastor shared with me that she died in peace with God. She only wished her friends and relatives could experience the liberating work of Jesus in their lives.
Tom and Susan are also in the reprogramming process. They are learning about racism and its devastating implications in people's lives. They are going through the Bible looking for all the many references defining God as a loving, accepting, all inclusive God, who in the waters of Baptism equalizes all people by calling them children of the same heavenly Father.
Can you picture the woman of Samaria talking to people today? She would say something like this: Hi, I am a foreigner to you but it doesn't matter to God, it doesn't matter to me, so it shouldn't matter to you. Listen, I have great news. Jesus is the Messiah. He revealed that to me. I was lost, really lost but I have been found. I'm under a new program now. It is based on God's grace and freedom. I don't have to do anything to earn God's favor. I now want to serve God because of what God has done for me. And as far as the proverb from Ghana, I say Amen to that too.
What about you today? Hiding anything? Are you now aware of some of your blind spots? Are you in need of re-programming?
What about using the season of Lent to work on it. Lent is called the springtime of the church. What a great time to uproot the things we don't need and allow God to plant the seeds we do need, so that new life can spring up.
Blessings as you take on this journey of Lent trusting in God's grace. Amen.
The sermon content on this website is copyright © by the respective preachers. For information on reprinting or excerpting sermon materials from this site, please contact us.
Compact discs of this program are available. Use it for personal or group study, or share with a friend or family member who might benefit from it. To order a copy now, call us at 1-888-411-DAY-1.