I wonder why Jesus asked him that silly question.
Here’s the story. One day, Jesus saw a paralyzed man lying near the pool of Bethesda. The guy has been paralyzed for 38 years. Jesus asked him, “Would you like to get well?” (Read the full story in John 5:1-9)
I find that…uh, rather strange.
Why ask that question?
The paralyzed man could have answered, “Helloooo… Is the sun hot? Is the Pope Catholic? Is Bo Sanchez handsome? Of course I want to get well. Goodness, are you blind, Jesus? Isn’t it pretty obvious? When you were a kid, I was already lying here. Before you were born, I was already lying here. I’ve been stuck here for 38 years. My gosh, why wouldn’t I want to get well?”
But Jesus asked that question because he knew human nature.
Let me shock you: Suffering people are ambivalent. Torn. Confused. Conflicted. Two-minded.
Many sick people aren’t sure if they want to get well. Many poor people aren’t sure that they want to get rich. Many problematic people aren’t sure that they want all their problems to be solved. Many abused wives aren’t sure if they want to get rid of their abusive husbands.
It’s crazy, but true.
How do you know if someone is ambivalent? If he gives excuses for not doing what he’s supposed to be doing.
That’s what the paralyzed guy did. He said, “I can’t, sir, for I have no one to put me into the pool when the water bubbles up. Someone else always gets there ahead of me.” (The people there believed that the pool was miraculous.)
Believe me, I’ve heard the line, “I can’t…” a million times already. I hear it from suffering people who seemingly want to get out of their suffering—but don’t. After saying “I can’t…” they’ll give their excuses.
Let me give you one example…
“I Can’t Because…”
I’ve talked to a number of jobless people. Here are the actual statements I heard from them…
o “I can’t find a job because there are so many others looking for a job.”
o “I can’t find a job because I don’t know anyone…”
o “I can’t find a job because I don’t know how to make a bio-data.”
o “I can’t find a job because I have no one to accompany me.”
o “I can’t find a job because it’s so hot these days and I’m allergic to the heat.”
o “I can’t find a job because I lost my cellphone.”
o “I can’t find a job because I don’t have anything nice to wear.”
I repeat—Excuses are simply signs that they’re ambivalent. Bottomline, they don’t want a job. At least, they don’t want a job bad enough.
Here’s what I learned in life: If you want something bad enough, nothing much can stop you. Not a million other job applicants. Not the heat. Not the lack of a companion. Not the lack of a cellphone. Not the lack of nice clothes.
Why are people ambivalent?
Two Reasons For Ambivalence
This seems insane—when a suffering person is not sure if he really wants to get out of his suffering or not.
But there are 2 real reasons for this ambivalence…
1. Suffering Has Become Your Identity
The paralyzed man had been paralyzed for 38 years. That’s a pretty long time. He saw himself as paralyzed. I bet he couldn’t see himself in any other way—until Jesus came along.
For many people, their suffering becomes their Safe Zone. They’ve gotten used to the pain. And what is familiar is safe—no matter how painful that situation is.
Listen to this statement from author Robin Sharma. The most dangerous place is your safe zone. If you want growth in your life, you have to get out of your safe zone. Because your safe zone is the place for dead people.
At the root of all ambivalence is Fear. What kind of fear? The fear of the unknown.
No matter how painful suffering is, at least we’re familiar with it. That suffering has become our identity. And once there’s an opportunity to get out of suffering, fear of the unknown grips our heart. Result? We become ambivalent.
When I converse with the poor in slum areas, I cannot count the number of times I’ll hear these words, “I’m poor”; “We’re poor”; “My family is poor”… It’s a common refrain you’ll hear again and again.
Poverty has become their identity.
Many of them have gotten so used to it, if you give them an opportunity to leave poverty, they’ll not take it. Because they’re afraid at what will happen to them if they lose their identity of poverty.
Here’s my big question to you: What problem has become your identity? The man’s paralysis was his identity. So much so that his mat became his master. His problem ruled his life. His mat controlled him, not the other way around.
What is your Mat?
Jesus said, “Stand up and pick up your mat.” Don’t let that problem control you. Take control of your problem! Take charge of that sickness. Take charge of that debt. Take charge of that situation. Stand up!
Here’s the second reason for ambivalence…
2. Suffering Has Become Your Income
Problems have side benefits. Always.
For the paralyzed man, his paralysis was the reason why he could earn a living as a BEGGAR. For 38 years, his paralysis put food on the table. No wonder Jesus asked him, “Do you want to get well?” In other words, Jesus was asking, “Hey Buddy, if you get well, you’re going to lose your income. You’ll have to change your career. Are you sure you want this?”
This is a fact. We derive all sorts of income from our problems, not necessarily financial.
I met a woman who was sick with hypertension, diabetes, allergies, and heart disease. And every year, she’d have a new sickness. She was going to different doctors almost every week, sometimes two or three times a week, for 12 long years.
After talking to her, I realized she was such a lonely person. She had no real family around her. And here’s my suspicion: She likes getting sick. The only time someone talks to her, or listens to her, or holds her hand, or touches her arm, is when she is sick. Her 6 doctors, all the nurses, and the clinics’ receptionists have become her small community.
Believe me, she’ll never get well. Unless she finds an “income-replacement”. (I invited her to join me at the Feast each week. So she’ll find a new community there!)
Here’s my question to you: What income do you get from your suffering? Identify your income. And identity your “income-replacement”. If you don’t, you’ll always have ambivalence. Fear of the unknown will always hold you back.
Today, I’d want to give you the three steps to get out of your paralysis, three steps to get out of your suffering…
3 Things To Do To Get Out Of Suffering
Are you paralyzed by your problem now?
There’s hope. You can get of your paralysis. You can pick up your mat and walk.
1. Remove Ambivalence
Every week at our Feast, I ask people to lift up their list of dreams written in their Novena to God’s Love. (We give this Novena to all first timers for free.)
Why do I encourage people to pray for their dreams daily?
Here’s why: Because Abundance is attracted to Clarity.
You need to be very clear with what you want. Let the question of Jesus reverberate in your heart. He asks you, “Do you really want to get well? Do you really want to get out of your suffering? What do you really, really, REALLY want?”
Abundance Will Give Her Heart To
Someone Who Really Wants Her
Abundance is like a beautiful woman, waiting for the right suitor to win her heart.
Mister Ambivalence shows up at her doorstep, but looks terrible. He’s wearing an old pair of shorts and an ugly shirt. And he smells. He hasn’t taken a bath for a week. It’s clear he hasn’t come to court her.
When Lady Abundance opens the door, he looks at her and says, “Miss, you look interesting. I think I like you. But I really don’t know. You see, I’m in a complicated relationship with another girl right now. Her name is Poverty and she’s a real pain in the neck. But I’m not ready to give her up just yet.”
What will Lady Abundance do? She’ll tell him, “Bye!” and shut the door. She’ll drive him away.
And then Mr. Clarity arrives. He looks dashing in a tie. He smells fresh. And he has a red rose in his hand. He says to her, “People told me you were lovely, but gosh, you take my breath away. This might be too fast, but I have to tell you what’s in my heart. No, I don’t expect you to answer me today, or tomorrow, or next week, or next month. It doesn’t matter. I will wait. But I need to tell you that I will pursue you with all my heart until the ends of the earth. And I have to ask this question in Tagalog… Bangin ka ba?” (Are you a pit?)
Miss Abundance asks, “Why?”
“Nahuhulog ako sa iyo.” (I’m falling for you.)
What do you think will Miss Abundance do? You can bet she’ll be more attracted to Mr. Clarity than Mr. Ambivalence.
Do you want to get out of your suffering? Do you want to get out of your paralysis?
Remove ambivalence. Be unstoppable.
And you’ll get out of your suffering.
Here’s the second step…
2. Restore Authority
The paralyzed man thought that healing came from the pool. The superstition was that the first person to jump into the water when it starts moving would be healed.
So far, for 38 years, he’s not been healed. Why? First of all, no one offers to carry him to the pool. Second, he’s never the first guy to dive in when the water bubbles up.
But Jesus told him, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk!” In other words, Jesus said, “Forget the pool. Forget about waiting for someone to carry you to the pool. You don’t need the pool. Stop waiting. The power isn’t in the pool. The power is in you.”
Let me say that again: The power is in you!
So many people look for power elsewhere. They believe that the solution to their problems depends on someone else.
They wait for the government to help them. They wait for Mommy and Daddy to solve their problems. They wait for a friend to rescue them. They wait for their boss to promote them.
But unless you understand that the location of the power is within you—you won’t get out of your suffering.
Jesus said, I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. (Mark 11:23)
You can change the topography of your situation. God has given you the Authority to command the mountain of your problems to move!
When you believe that the power is within you, you become unstoppable.
And finally, the third step to get out of suffering…
3. Repeat Action
Psalms 23 says, Even though I walk through the valley of darkness, I fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalms 23:4)
Face it. There are many valleys in our lives. Many places of suffering.
But I love this Psalm because it says that we don’t stay in the valley. We don’t sit in the valley. We don’t stand in the valley. We don’t sulk in the valley…
We walk through the valley.
I love the illustration of walking because walking is a repeated action. Walking is putting one foot in front of the other foot. If you want to get out of suffering, you have to keep on doing the right thing again and again until you walk out of the valley.
Jesus told the paralyzed man, “Walk.”
For 38 years, this guy has never walked. He was rusty. I can imagine how clumsy it must have been at the start.
His toothpick legs were wobbly. Shaky. Unbalanced. People probably held him up so that he wouldn’t fall. But he took that first wobbly step. And he took another step. And another… Until he walked out of his suffering.
To walk out of your suffering, you have to keep on doing the right thing again and again.
Are you jobless right now? Do the right thing again and again until you walk out of the valley. Keep developing yourself. Keep training yourself. Keep applying. 10 companies, 20 if necessary. Don’t stop. Soon, you’ll walk out of the valley.
Are you buried in debt? Do the right thing again and again until you walk out of the valley. Don’t borrow again. Keep paying your debts. Keep living simply. Don’t stop. Soon, you’ll walk out of the valley.
Let me repeat my big question to you: Are you unstoppable?
The reason why you don’t have what you say you want is because you don’t want it bad enough.
You say you want a strong relationship with your kids. But do you want it bad enough, you’ll do anything to make it happen? Like spending more time with them? Like giving up golf, TV, computers, games—so you could hang out more with your kids? Do you want it bad enough that you’re willing to humble yourself before your kids to ask forgiveness from them?
You say you want to become wealthy. But do you want it bad enough? Will you live simply so you can invest every month? Will you be willing to sell and be rejected? Will you get training? Will you read the right books, attend the right seminars, and seek out the right mentors?
You say you want to be healthy. But do you want it bad enough? Will you do anything to achieve it? For example, will you eat the best nutritious food? Will you walk everyday?
Be clear with what you want.
And walk out of the valley.
May your dreams come true,
PS. Do You Want To Build Multiple Income Streams? Join Me At My TrulyRich Financial Coaching Program on May 25 and 26 at Pasig, Metro Manila. Don’t be ambivalent. Be unstoppable. I want to teach more people to gain financial freedom. For more information, click on at the link below…
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