Psychologist Milton Rokeach struck upon an unusual way to treat three patients who suffered from delusions of grandeur. Each believed himself to be unique among humanity – the messiah, the one called to save the world. Rokeach found it was very difficult to help each of the men accept the truth about their identity. So, he decided to put the three of them together, as a little community, to see if contact with each other would put a dent in their delusions.
This led to some interesting conversations, to say the least. One would say, “I am the messiah, the son of God. I was sent here to save the earth.” “How do you know?” Rokeach asked. “Because,” the patient would reply, “God told me.” Then one of the other patients would counter, “I never told you any such thing!”
Every once in a while, a small glimmer of reality would break in, but never for very long. The messiah complex was too deeply ingrained in each man. But what small progress Rokeach made was made by putting the men together.
The power of Christian community to change us is no secret. The Bible says we are made to be in relationship with God and each other. God’s grace is experienced within the context of Christian community, for where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, Christ is also there (Matthew 18:19). Small groups for study and support provide safe places to learn and grow. And quite frankly, we all need to have some of our unseen “delusions” dented from time to time! Only then are we able to name them for ourselves, so that we can seek the healing and transformation that comes from God. Even the seeking need not be done alone because we walk the same road together.
Paul writes in Ephesians, “Speaking the truth with love, we will grow up in every way into Christ, who is the head. The whole body depends on Christ, and all the parts of the body are joined and held together. Each part does its own work to make the whole body grow and be strong with love.” (Ephesians 4:15-16)
Before we all settle into our “fall routines,” I encourage each one of us to become a part of a small group that meets regularly, so that we may grow in Christ. Others will not be interested in what we have to offer until they see that we, ourselves, are willing to be changed by Christ’s love. Let Jesus lovingly dent a few “delusions,” so that His Body may be built up in love!
See you in worship!
Yours for the Journey,