The Loneliest Number

Having a background in Psychology and Counseling, I (Sonya) have gone through quite a bit of training in emotional well-being. In my recent studies of the Bible, I have realized how many different emotions Jesus displayed. Read through the gospels, and you will find that Jesus displayed affection, agitation, anguish, anger, compassion, distress, exhaustion, gladness, grief, indignation, joy, love, and sadness. You can probably find others, but this is just for starters. And the exciting thing about this is that these emotions are simply another revelation that we are like Jesus. The rock group, Three Dog Night, recorded a song titled “One.” The famous line that we all know: “One is the loneliest number you will ever do.”  Many counselors will tell you that people often say that they are seeking counseling because no one understands their emotional state of being. Imagine how Jesus must have felt. He came to Earth as the greatest gift ever, and He was disrespected by even those that were called to lift up His name in praise. He was surrounded by men that swung from every emotional branch of understanding to the next; yet, He patiently stuck with them. He had become one of us, experiencing our emotions, feeling everything we have ever felt or will feel, all to prove His love for us. And ironically, it is even through these emotions that we see His holiness manifested.

Fortunately, we have the words of the Psalmist in Psalm 139.  He was a man who was certain that God knew him, understood where he had come from and where he was going, and trusted that he was well- protected by God. In spite of his humble origins, the Psalmist knew that he was not alone no matter his circumstances because he was always on the mind of God. The writer of this psalm was a man of courage and boldness, and yet, he was filled with desperation over his situation, wanting his trial to end now – desiring for God to work through the fear and anxious thoughts he was feeling. The writer had finally come to terms with the truth that the enemy – his enemy — was God’s enemy, the one standing against the living God who was also alive in the hearts of men.

Three Dog Night’s song goes on to state that “two can be as bad as one.” Relationships are messy and complicated at times. Often, as believers, when we want something or the times are tough, we run to a passage of scripture like Mark 11: 22-26 and try to order the mountain into the sea. Then we open our eyes and our mountain is still there. Why?  Because we fail to look with understanding at the rest of the passage. Jesus tells us that we have two responsibilities. First we must believe without doubt. As tough as that sometimes is,  the second responsibility may be more difficult than the first. Verse 25 may not be the verse we are prone to pull out the highlighter for, and it is surely not one we commit to memory and hope for a chance to share with a struggling brother or sister. Our responsibility to forgive may be harder to accomplish than having true faith.

Before mountains crumble, we have to understand our responsibility in this relationship with Christ and others. When you believe the lyrics that two can be as lonely as one, it’s because somebody is not doing their part in keeping the relationship alive and healthy.  So why are so many mountains still standing? Because we don’t understand the importance of forgiveness. The lack of forgiveness is a major obstacle in relationships remaining healthy. We see it in divorce court; we see it in family court; and we see it in criminal court. Sadly, we see it in Christian circles too. When we opt to stay in a relationship of one, believing our rights and ways have to be guarded and protected at all costs, when we refuse to obey the Savior pointing out what we need to do in our relationships, the mountains will stand and relationships will crumble. We will remain lonely and isolated; we will sing songs with sad and hopeless lyrics. Either we are the lonely one left or we are part of the just-as-bad-two doing nothing to move the mountains. And we certainly will never understand the Psalmist’s trust of the Father.

Are mountains standing strong and firm in your path? Let me offer a couple of suggestions. First, determine in your heart to believe without doubt that this mountain will move, and then second, humble yourself to carry out what God has commanded of you: forgive. Relationships are too valuable because they are necessary in this life for us to become full and whole. One might be the loneliest number, but Oneness with the Father brings the completeness of all we are called to be.

Sonya

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