Tuesday on the Run
November 17, 2015
Abraham Maslow, one of the giant thinkers of the twentieth century, brought a radical shift of perspective to psychology and began an entirely new approach to therapy as he realized the importance for persons to find purpose outside themselves. Since Freud, practitioners in the field of psychology and psychiatry were oriented toward the pathological. They studied sick people, dysfunctional persons. Maslow took the opposite approach, studying people who were vitally alive and fully functioning, radiantly happy whole persons. In the process, he developed a theory called self-actualization, and described a composite person whom he designated self-actualized. In his search for the secret of self-actualization he wrote, “Without exception, I found that every person who was sincerely happy, radiantly alive, was living for a purpose or a cause beyond himself.”
Maslow’s discovery has been a great blessing, for the cause of mental and emotional wholeness. It is no wonder he named Jesus as a fully actualized person. Without doubt, the most fully actualized person who has ever lived.
The apostle Paul encourages us as followers of Christ, to live the same way. We need to live with a purpose. We need to quite living for ourselves and focus our attention on others. Paul puts it this way in Philippians 2: 3-4 “Let nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”
If you want to be happy .. If you want your life to have meaning, focus your attention on ministering to others.
Have a great week!
I am amazed sometimes of how hurtful human beings can be to one another. Cruelty goes beyond what is even possible to imagine. Many in our world have suffered unspeakable pain, maybe even at the hands of people they should have been able to trust.
Sometimes those hurts are intentional. At other times they seem to be random. Consider the case of:
Victoria Ruvolo on a November evening in 2004, who was driving to her home on Long Island after attending her niece’s piano recital. She was looking forward to a nice quiet evening at home. She doesn’t remember seeing the silver Nissan approach from the east. She doesn’t remember seeing an 18 year old kid hanging out the window holding of all things a frozen turkey. He threw it at her windshield.
The 20 pound bird smashed through the windshield, bent the steering wheel and smashed Victoria’s face like a dinner plate on the concrete floor. The violent prank left her struggling for life. The doctors permanently wired her jaw in place. One eye had to be re-attached with a synthetic film and titanium plates were inserted into her cranium. Victoria will never look in a mirror again without a reminder of her hurt.
But she determined not to let her hurt scar her soul. She committed her hurt to God and trusted that He could somehow bring good out of her tragedy. Nine months after the disastrous November night Victoria stood face to titanium bolted face to her offender in court. Ryan Cushing was no longer the cocky, turkey tossing kid in the Nissan. He was trembling, tearful and apologetic.
For the people of New York City he had come to symbolize a generation of kids out of control. People packed the courtroom that day to see him get what was coming to him. For weeks the prosecution and the newspapers had been pushing for a maximum sentence. That’s why the judge’s sentence enraged them – only 6 months behind bars, five years of probation, some counseling and public service. The courtroom erupted. Everyone objected.
Everyone that is except for Victoria Ruvolo – the reduced sentence had been her idea. The boy walked over and she embraced him. In full view of the judge and the crowd she held him tight and stroked his hair. As he sobbed she spoke softly “I forgive you, I want your life to be the best it can be.”
Later she told reporters: God gave me a second chance at life, I simply passed it on. She went on to add, if I hadn’t let go of the anger, I’d be consumed with this need for revenge. Forgiving him helps me move on. Her accident even led to a new mission in life. Victoria began to work as a volunteer with the probation office. She’s become known in that area as simply the Turkey Lady. With amazing humor she says,” it could be worse, if he’d thrown a ham I’d be known as Miss Piggy. Victoria Ruvolo understands the power of forgiveness.
I wonder this morning, do we? As Paul so eloquently puts it in Ephesians 4:32 - Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Accept his forgiveness, then pass it on.
Have a great week!
Someone has said that the ultimate freedom is the ability to control your attitude. A case in point is the story of Victor Frankl, a highly respected psychiatrist in Vienna who lost everything when the Nazis rose to power.
They took his home, career, and freedom. His parents, brother, and wife – his entire family except for his sister – were killed in the gas ovens. Frankl spent years in Auschwitz where he was beaten, starved, brutalized, and dehumanized; where he saw his companions die daily. The manuscript he had devoted his life to, pinned all his scholarly hopes on, was found and destroyed.
The suffering and torture inflicted on Frankl are difficult to absorb. Made to compete with other prisoners for scraps of food. Made to work in the snow with no shoes. Forced to watch the random execution of friends at the whim of a guard. Never knowing from one day to the next if he would be forced to shovel out the ashes that had the day before been his friends’ bodies or if he would be part of the ashes.
Gradually, emaciated, naked, humiliated, sick, without reasonable hope of liberation or reunion with loved ones, Frankl began to realize that there was one freedom left to him. He saw how some prisoners, even though they were starving, would offer their bread to others. He saw how some prisoners, though weakened, tried to comfort those even weaker. He came to realize “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
There, in that camp, Frankl began to make decisions. He chose to cherish the thought of those he loved. He chose to give what help as a doctor he was able to offer to others.
He looked for ways to exercise this freedom. He grew very conscious about making choices: choosing what he would think about, what memories he would dwell on, what words he would speak, how he would say them, what help he would offer, how he would respond to humiliation, how he would walk, how he would hold his head high.
And Frankl’s freedom began to expand. One writer puts it like this: “his guards had more liberty they could leave the camp, walk where they chose, spend what they wanted. But Frankl had more freedom.”
[Story taken from John Ortberg’s book, “When the Game is Over It All Goes Back in the Box,” pp 80-81]
You and I may not be able to control the circumstances we face today, but we can control our attitude. Let’s choose to respond with grace. Let’s choose to love.
Have a great week!
Tuesday Morning on the Run
Inspirational thoughts from Pastor Barry Lawson