When he came in the door, it was his eyes that gave him away. They had that glazed-over look that one usually comes to associate with mental illness or an individual highly medicated for other medical reasons. He had hitched a ride with a kind, old lady from
Call him Mephibosheth. When news arrived at Jonathan’s household that both Saul and his son Jonathan had been killed in battle with the Philistines, panic set in and in the ensuing frenzy, the nanny caring for young Mephibosheth, Jonathan’s toddler son, ran out of the house and accidentally dropped him resulting in an injury that left him permanently crippled (2 Samuel 9). Just like his namesake, this guy, too, as a kid had been dropped. But his scars were totally inward resulting in a certain crippling of his spirit. Mind you, he wasn’t forthcoming with this information let alone necessarily in touch with it. But as we gently probed, asking God to reveal the source of what had brought him to our place for ministry that night, his deep anger towards his parents – one of whom is now deceased – came out. Regardless of the severity of the schizophrenia that he has been diagnosed with, there was a poison in his soul that clearly needed to be lanced.
So, we went there with a bit of fear and trembling but trusting that Jesus would send the help we were silently pleading for. Believe me, I certainly did not feel like “the man of faith and power for the hour”. We were simply making it up as we went along. But be that as it may, in our weakness he began to minister to this dear man so desperately in need of freedom. We carefully took him through a time of recounting how his father had ‘dropped’ him as a kid and then, when he was ready, led him through a prayer of forgiveness for the wrongs his father had perpetrated on him. On impulse, where I had been sitting across from him, I sat next to him and laid my hand over his heart. His chest was tight and actually felt heavy, as if a great weight was laid across it. But as he relinquished the pain and the hurt that had accumulated within his heart, I could feel his chest become lighter. His body features were relaxing. His eyes welled up with tears.
I had a thought and I asked him, “Mephibosheth, I want you to imagine Jesus now sitting right across from you. What expression do you see on his face?” He could have said anything. Honestly, I half-expected him to say something like ‘He’s angry’ or ‘He’s scowling’ and I was already working on firm rebuke against a satanic message like this. It would be just like our adversary to confuse an already confused young man by placing a lying image before him. But instead he surprised me: “His face is solemn.” I ventured an interpretation: “I think it means he takes you seriously when you say your dad hurt you and caused you pain.” He seemed to take comfort in this.
And then we moved to what was clearly the more difficult lesion to tend – the one caused by his mother. Perhaps because she is still living and therefore the wound still open, it took us longer to move through the process of recognition and forgiveness of his mother. But once again, I sat next to him and laid my hand over his heart. Immediately, I noticed it was lighter there and with some encouragement he relinquished the pain he sincerely believed his mother has caused him. The tenseness that had been about his chest area was clearly gone. So I asked him to imagine that Jesus was sitting before him again. Now what do you see?
“He’s smiling!” he blurted out in surprise and immediately began to weep profusely as the blackness that had been in him was evaporating under the ray of that smile.