How to Handle a Spiritual Nut

What do you do when someone tells you they had a spiritual experience that changed their life?

In “Till We Have Faces” CS Lewis, an Oxford Don around WWII, examines this very issue. He set the book in Greek mythology (not for the sensitive soul) to examine what to do when a most beloved sister claims to have had an enriching and life changing spiritual experience.

Parthenon detail replica

Image by SeeMidTN.com (aka Brent) via Flickr

Lewis portrayed what NOT to do, namely to attempt to convince your loved one their spiritual experience was “just in their mind” for in the end you may destroy them and find they did have a spiritual experience.

Gamaliel, one of the most respected Jewish teachers almost 2000 years ago who mentored the Apostle Paul, was also faced with this question.

The Jewish Council, on which he had a prominent seat, was faced with a group of men who joyously proclaimed the death and resurrection of Jesus with the resulting message of Father God’s love and salvation through Jesus. The Council wanted to kill these men for proclaiming a spiritual experience different from their own.

Gamaliel advised the Council to leave the men alone, for if their experience was of natural origin it would fade to nothing, but if their experience was of supernatural origin they would be fighting against God.

Advice from an Oxford don and a Jewish elder: do not harass them about it. They did experience something. Time will tell whether it was natural or supernatural. And you should seek to benefit from what God is doing rather than fight against it.

Regardless of how outrageous it may sound, be patient, love them, offer truth and wisdom, let them process their experience, and see what you can learn.

Francis of Assisi

Image by gwilmore via Flickr

What truth and wisdom can you offer? Here is the touchstone to examine all supernatural experiences: where is Jesus in their experience? Are they drawn closer to or driven further away from Father God, Jesus the Author and Perfecter of our Faith, and Holy Spirit our Councilor? Are they drawn into deeper dependence on God or are they becoming more self-centered? Is it resulting in humility or pride?

If God and supernatural experiences are not part of your life, invite God into your life and find out how amazing He is!

Recommended reading: “Practicing the Presence” by Brother Lawrence and a biography of St Francis of Assisi. These are on the “Too Good to Miss” list.

What Everyone Should Learn from Marriage

My last comment was, we practice marriage now; what does it mean for eternity? What are we supposed to be learning from marriage?

We practice marriage. We have this annoying flaw called sin. “All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” “If we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.”

Practice makes permanent. If we practice sin, our marriages will be wounded and stunted. We need to minimize sin and practice what is good to have a healthy and strong marriage so it will function as designed to achieve the goals of marriage.

Vector image of two human figures with hands i...

Image via Wikipedia

Goals? What are we practicing for? What should we learn from marriage? Marriage is the primary training ground for all types of relationships, especially our relationship with God. Marriage is the context that offers the relationships of husband-wife, father-son, father-daughter, mother-son, mother-daughter, and brother-sister.

These types of relationship describe aspects of our relationship with God, give us practice grounds for developing a full, healthy, multi-angle relationship with God. And if we cannot have healthy relationships with ourselves, our spouse, and those around us, we will not have healthy relationship with God.

What do we practice? Love, truth, wisdom, and life. Why? Because Jesus is love, is truth, is wisdom, is life and we are made in His image, flawed with sin. Jesus will be these things in His marriage with the Bride (whatever He means by the concept and analogy). He is refining the sin out of us, from glory to glory, to be like Himself, to have His character. So we will be love, truth, wisdom, and life back to Him to the extent we allow Him to work these attributes in us, practiced with our spouse.

And what does it mean for eternity? As we minimize sin and maximize His character, becoming our true identity and developing the good, healthy relationship with our spouse that God intends, we get a glimpse of one of the core concepts of what eternity will be like: marriage with Jesus. Again, whatever He physically means by the concept and analogy, but the spiritual and soul level character and emotion is illustrated. Talk about Heaven on Earth! The Kingdom of God has come! And it is best developed and revealed in our marriages!

Are you giving love, truth, wisdom and life to your spouse? And to God?