This is the second part of a series; read part one here: Resetting Your Faith
To “reset” is to restore something to its original design. To set something back to its original purpose, its original intent.
We don’t have to be stuck
While we might acknowledge this to be true in theory, our actions speak otherwise! One way of getting unstuck is to reset. If you enjoy watching the IT Crowd, you will know that before you even think of asking for help, you need to try “switching it off and on again!” This simple action solves most problems!
We need to take the time to reset our inner world, such that we find satisfaction, fulfillment, and a life that is worth living. We’re working toward a reset of the soul or spirit, if you will. So much of our spirit’s health begins in the mind, with our thoughts. With the synapses that are firing in and through our brains, moment by moment, all day long.
If we reset to our default, our original nature, then we can’t help but become more joyful, more self-aware, more aware of others, more confident, more self-controlled, and more content. This is why we need to hit the reset button every so often.
Drawing battle lines
Hitting reset every so often is important because we are all immersed in some battle of the mind. This is, after all, where every struggle begins—with a dark thought. A thought of fear. A thought of inadequacy. A thought of greed. A thought of hopelessness. A thought of hatefulness. A thought of I’m better than you. A thought of rage.
This is the enemy that besieges us day by day, line after line of armed foes marching through our minds, just dying to pick a fight. We have all experienced it! There is a story in the Bible where Jesus takes on the battle for someone’s mind. This is one of those stories that rarely gets read because it seems to fantastical and out of place in today’s conversations. But I held my prejudices to see what I might find in this story.
The story of a madman
“When he saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him—then bellowed in protest, ‘What business do you have, Jesus, Son of the High God, messing with me? I swear to God, don’t give me a hard time!’ (Jesus had just commanded the tormenting evil spirit, ‘Out! Get out of the man!’)They arrived on the other side of the sea in the country of the Gerasenes. As Jesus got out of the boat, a madman from the cemetery came up to him. He lived there among the tombs and graves. No one could restrain him—he couldn’t be chained, couldn’t be tied down. He had been tied up many times with chains and ropes, but he broke the chains, snapped the ropes. No one was strong enough to tame him. Night and day, he roamed through the graves and the hills, screaming out and slashing himself with sharp stones.
“He replied, ‘My name is Mob. I’m a rioting mob.’ Then he desperately begged Jesus not to banish them from the country.
“A large herd of pigs was browsing and rooting on a nearby hill. The demons begged him, ‘Send us to the pigs so we can live in them.’ Jesus gave the order. But it was even worse for the pigs than for the man. Crazed, they stampeded over a cliff into the sea and drowned.
“Those tending the pigs, scared to death, bolted and told their story in town and country. Everyone wanted to see what had happened. They came up to Jesus and saw the madman sitting there wearing decent clothes and making sense, no longer a walking madhouse of a man.
“Those who had seen it told the others what had happened to the demon-possessed man and the pigs. At first they were in awe—and then they were upset, upset over the drowned pigs. They demanded that Jesus leave and not come back.
“As Jesus was getting into the boat, the demon-delivered man begged to go along, but he wouldn’t let him. Jesus said, ‘Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.’ The man went back and began to preach in the Ten Towns area about what Jesus had done for him. He was the talk of the town.” (verses 1–20)
The Message translation of the Bible puts it simply; after Jesus’ intervention, the man was “no longer a walking madhouse of a man.”
I imagine that everyone can relate, if only a little. Have you ever felt:
A walking madhouse of a man.
A walking madhouse of a woman.
A walking madhouse of a teen.
A friend…and the list goes on. I know at times I have been that walking madhouse!
This is a mind that needs resetting!
While the story of the Madman in Mark 5 may seem a little bizarre or straight out of a Walking Dead movie, it does connect to life today. This is the reason we refer to scripture as Wisdom literature.
Where is our front-line?
We all know of stories of people on the edge, and even have our own stories tucked away from prying eyes.
- Today, there is a young woman in Manchester who believes she is worthless, hopeless, and fat. She is nineteen years old. When she was eight years old, unknown to her parents, the father of a neighbor took advantage of her naiveté, her innocence, her proximity. The encounter didn’t last long, but the effects did. Not knowing where to turn for help, she turned inward, stuffing her secret deep, hoping nobody would ever know. She had been used and then tossed aside, a message that struck—and then misshaped—her soul. “I’m worthless,” her inner voice began repeating. “I’m a throw-away.” “I’m hopeless.” And eventually, after turning to junk-food binges for solace for years on end, “I’m fat.” This week, I spoke to a young man in New Hampshire with a similar experience except he turned to drugs.
- Today, a twenty-nine year-old man, from up north, believes that the idea of God is nothing more than a cruel joke. Of course, he doesn’t exist. And even if he did, why would he love someone like him? For so many years, he was told that he was the reason his mother suffered from severe depression, that if he hadn’t been born, things would have been easier on mom. Sometimes the mom would convey these things on the way to church, which was part of the family’s every-weekend routine. How could his mother scorn him one minute and then sing praises to God the next? God was a joke. Life was a joke. The hard liquor? The cocaine? . . . Tt was all just a way to silence the too-loud voices: “You’re a burden. You’re the problem. You’re the reason things have worked out so badly.”
- Today, a fifty-five-year-old in search of a job. He is determined to reinvent himself after leaving a pastoring role he’d held for two decades. His marriage feels rocky, his three children are grown and don’t need him like they used to, and his “friendships” were all based on the power he held at the church. What now? He thinks about that question a lot. What now, for someone who, according to his inner voice, is “past his prime, not needed or wanted by loved ones, and a little aimless these days.”
We all think and act a little “mad” at times but God wants to liberate us from that.
The Rest of the Story
Let’s go back to the madman of our feature story; the guy from Mark, Chapter 5.
You remember what the walking madhouse of a man did, upon realizing that Jesus was nearby.
Verse 6: “When he [the madman] saw Jesus a long way off, he ran and bowed in worship before him.”
Despite the maddening realities he faced—in his mind, and therefore in his body and spirit too—he rushed toward, not away from the Messiah. He knew where his help came from. In order to get rid of his identity as the madman, he had to find his true identity. He sensed this was something he had lost touch with – don’t forget he referred to himself as the Mob. Somehow, he instinctively knew that the Messiah understood his identity better than he did. That’s why he wanted to cling to the Messiah.
Too often we get caught up in the voices in our head, “We are not this….” Or “We are not that…” Instead we need to understand who we are. We need to understand our “original nature.”
Searching for our true identity
Human identify and value was central to Rev. Moon’s quest for truth, as he grappled with the cause of human suffering and humankind’s alienation from God. On a certain level, we are all mad! Rev. Moon’s teachings, expressed in Unification Thought, describe it this way:
“Faced with such problems as racism, religious conflicts, injustice, corruption, the spread of various kinds of crime due to the collapse of traditional values, and the subsequent struggles and wars, the world is in the midst of a whirlpool of confusion. These problems all can be classified into “problems of existence” and “problems of relationship.” How can these problems be solved?”
We too, have to grapple with the question: “What is a human being’s worth and what is the life we were intended for?”
Unification Thought says that all people are beings with Divine Image. We are created to resemble God. That might seem lofty but in its simplest form it means we have the potential to become like God, or as Jesus described it “To be perfect as your heavenly father is perfect.” We have a mind and body. We have a physical mind that watches over our physical needs but also a spiritual mind that seeks much greater things. Rev. Moon explained it this way:
“The function of the spirit mind is to guide us in pursuit of a life of truth, goodness, beauty, and love, namely, a life of value. Love is the origin of life and at the same time the foundation for truth, goodness, and beauty. A life of value includes the aspect of pursuing one’s own joy by seeking values for oneself; nevertheless, the more essential aspect of a life of value is the effort to please others through realizing values. Therefore, a life of value is a life of love, of living for the sake of others, namely, a life of love in which one lives for the sake of the family, community, nation, humankind, and ultimately for God. In contrast, the function of the physical mind is to guide us in pursuit of a life of food, clothing, shelter, and sex, namely, a material life. Material life is a life centered on the individual.”
It’s about right relationship within
Both the physical and the spiritual mind are good and needed. It’s about the right relationship between these two minds. When our spiritual mind is the driving force, we place priority on living a life of truth, beauty and goodness. This is who we are at our core. We are worthy, good and true.
Unification Thought teaches: “Thus, the human being can be characterized, fundamentally, as Homo amans, or a loving person. A life of value refers to a true life, a moral and ethical life, and an artistic life.”
Every human being has absolute value. Jesus saw this in the madman and wanted to liberate him so that he could experience his divinity and true identity.
“God endowed each human being with such a particular, individual image so that He might obtain, from him or her, a unique, stimulating joy. Therefore, a human being is a being of supreme value who gives supreme joy to God through his or her unique individuality.” – UT
Think about how much incredible value each person has. Every person looks different, thinks differently and creates in a unique way. We cannot afford to lose even one person’s contribution.
Unification Thought has some interesting insights when it comes to people’s potential:
“The third manifestation is creative activity. Not only artistic creation, but any activity in which one’s creativity is expressed is included in the concept of creation. This creative expression will differ from person to person. In this sense, if one lives one day to its fullest, expressing his or her creativity in everything they do, the footprints of that day become a work of art. Furthermore, the footprints of one’s entire life course become a life work of art. Hence, God feels pleased when looking at the face, behavior, and creative activity of each human being with original human nature. That God becomes pleased by looking at each human being, means that he or she gives unique beauty to God through his or her appearance, behavior, and creative activity. That is the beauty of a person’s individuality.”
To reset means to dial back-in to our original nature and value
Through resting we remember who we are and discipline ourselves so that our spiritual mind has the right relationship with our physical mind. To reset means to re-discover our individuality and remember how much that means to God. We can’t afford to just conform to this world because we have something unique and valuable to contribute. God is waiting for our unique work of art to imprint this world.
The power of Unification Thought is that it clearly describes our true value and identity so we can’t succumb to the demons that take up residence in our minds.
“Your worst enemy cannot harm you as much as your own unguarded thoughts.”
We truly are co-creators with God, so we can’t afford to allow ourselves to get sidetracked or defeated. Science tells us exactly the same thing. There are now decades of research that evidence how our thoughts cause neurochemical changes that sculpt our brains in tangible and permanent ways. As a thought travels through your brain, neurons fire together and create pathways that when repeated over and over again, actually change your neural structure.
For example, when gratitude becomes a habit, you live with an attitude that can change the world around you. God wasn’t kidding when he said that we are co-creators of our world.
Take your thought-life captive!
Don’t let thoughts roam through your mind unattended! Seize them. Hold them captive. Demand that they get reorganized according to your original nature. You need to have a clear understanding of your original nature, as simply trying not to think negative thoughts doesn’t work.
If someone tells you not to think about a pink elephant wearing glasses, it’s almost impossible not to have an image of a pink elephant in your mind! Rather than telling someone not to think about something, it’s more important to guide them to focus on the person they want to be.
The madman from the story in Mark knew a very important thing. His demons had been expelled by the Messiah, something he hadn’t been able to do. But now, he was going to need the Messiah because the Messiah had something he couldn’t do without. He required help to find his true identity. When Jesus asked him his name, the madman said my name is Mob. He had lost all connection with his individual identity as a son of God who has dignity, the capacity to love and the ability to create his own reality.
We are all looking for joy!
We all need to get in touch with who we are at our core. You may remember Ron Pappalardo visiting our community and holding a seminar. He held various sessions with individuals. One person spent some time consulting with Ron. She wanted to know how to overcome anxiety. Ron had a vision of this person as a child, being pulled in a wagon. She had sheer joy written all over her face. Ron asked if her grandfather had ever pulled her in a wagon like this. He wanted this woman to know how much she was loved and how free she was. God wants her to recapture that joy and innocence. God’s desire is for all of us to reconnect to our original nature.
You need to know:
You are loved!
You are forgiven!
You are valuable!
You are powerful!
The reason God wants to reset our thinking is that once we start internalizing these message: “I am loved! I am forgiven! I am valuable!” we can radically change the world. Our creative footprint will be everywhere! When we see that we are priceless creations of God, we start treating everyone else like they matter too. Do you see why our thought life matters? We treat others the way that we feel about ourselves. If we are richly blessed, unconditionally loved, and divinely purposed, do you think that posture will affect how we see everyone else? We start to live the song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5AkNqLuVgY
A radical reset
You can start with a few simple positive thoughts:
- I am a person of original nature.
- I am loved.
- God is interested in my life and all that I do.
- I have hope because I am in the image of God.
Romans 12:2 confirms the root of genuine spiritual transformation and the ability to radically reset life is governed by one thing: the renewing of our minds. When we think different thoughts, we will be different people, guaranteed. Science agrees!
I want this reset, don’t you? I want to think different thoughts, starting today.