In a discussion that purported to be about opinions regarding White House leaks, the ladies on The View showed two clips. The first one was Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders railing against the media for printing leaked information. The other was from Celebrity Big Brother where former White House staffer Omarosa Manigault-Newman warned people not to pursue impeachment because Vice President Mike Pence is worse than President Trump.
“He’s extreme. I’m Christian. I love Jesus…but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things that are like…I’m like ‘Jesus didn’t say that.’”
Full and fair disclosure. I don’t watch The View. I only learn about what they say in the news, so I don’t know every position of every person on the view. From what I have seen of The View, however, I’m not a fan, especially of Joy Behar. She’s billed as a comedian, but I don’t find her funny, and not just because of her political views. I find her offensive and demeaning. As a comparison, I do find Ellen DeGeneres funny. I may not like her lifestyle choices, but I can recognize talent when I see it.
During the segment, Joy Behar tried to be funny twice. She failed. First, she joked about Sarah Huckabee-Sanders.
“I feel sorry for Sarah because, besides Melania, she has the hardest job in the White House.”
Then, she commented on Omarosa’s remarks concerning Vice President Pence.
“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus. It’s another thing when he talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct, hearing voices.”
Even her admitted preference for the Vice President over President Trump was offensive.
“I don’t think anyone could be worse than Trump. I don’t. I think that Mike Pence – say what you will about Mike Pence and his religiosity and everything else – I don’t think that he’s mentally ill even though he says he is hearing voices. I don’t think he’s that crazy. He has no charisma whatsoever. I don’t think he would get re-elected. I don’t think he would destroy the environment. I don’t think he would make it his life’s purpose to go against everything Obama did. I don’t think he would antagonize Kim Jong Un. That’s why I think he would be better, because Trump is the worst we’ve ever had.”
By the applause, it appeared that some of the audience members approved. Even though I don’t recommend it, you can view the entire segment below.
Before continuing, please take the time to watch Vice President Pence’s measured response.
— CSPAN (@cspan) February 14, 2018
Now that we’ve heard from both sides, let’s address the topic of questioning someone’s mental health for claiming to hear Jesus’ voice in prayer. I’m not a mental health expert, but I do have a background in both the world of psychology and as a follower of Jesus, so I do feel qualified to respond.
Would you consider someone with a guilty conscience crazy? Of course not. So, what is a guilty conscience? What is that nagging “voice” that makes someone feel guilty?
Sometimes, it’s the voice of a mother or father or someone else who may have guided the guilty person down the path of right and wrong. In that instance, is that role model actually speaking or is the person who feels guilty simply recalling what was said? The role model may not be physically speaking, but the voice is real, nonetheless.
Sometimes, a person feels guilty and may not know why. They just know what they did was wrong. Something inside is telling them it’s wrong. It’s not so much a voice as it is an impression, a feeling, yet it’s very real to the person experiencing it.
Those are two very real examples of how a follower of Christ can hear Jesus speaking to them in prayer or throughout the day.
When a follower of Jesus reads the Bible, it becomes part of who they are. Like a parent’s voice to a guilty person, those passages speak to a follower of Christ as a reminder of what God the Father spoke in the Old Testament and what Jesus said in the New Testament.
In the second example, the guilty person is experiencing what Jesus promised would happen as a result of the Helper, the Holy Spirit.
“Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes, he will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 16:7-8 (ESV)
It’s not crazy. It’s supernatural. And, it happens to believers and non-believers alike.
For followers of Christ, however, there is a third way Jesus speaks, and this is where people like Joy Behar may think I’m crazy.
Prayer should be like having a conversation with a friend. It’s not a one-way submission of petitions, although that does happen quite often in a public setting with public prayer. Instead, it should be a time of speaking and listening.
When a believer prays, or even throughout the course of the day, the Spirit often speaks on behalf of Jesus.
“When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.” John 16:13-15 (ESV)
When the Spirit speaks, it’s not typically an audible voice, although some people have reported hearing an audible voice. Most of the time it’s simply an impression, a feeling, a nudge. At first, it’s usually indiscernible from an individual’s own thoughts, but it becomes clear over time that it’s the voice of the Spirit because it often conflicts with what the individual would naturally do or think.
Let me give you a personal example from when I first felt called to be a pastor.
When I was seventeen, I wanted to work with drug and alcohol addicts, and even though I was a follower of Christ, I vowed I would never be a pastor, so I decided to get a degree in Psychology. After an internship at a mental health hospital, however, I realized I made the wrong choice. Instead of helping addicts, I was working with all manner of psychoses. That’s not what I signed up for, so I decided to pursue another path.
Years later, I was attending a conference for church leaders where Dick Foth was speaking. He had a very gentle manner and a delivery more like a grandfather speaking to his grandchildren next to a warm fireplace rather than a preacher. As he was speaking, I said to myself, “I could do that.” Immediately, I received a response that almost seemed audible: “That’s all I’ve been waiting for.” I can’t tell you anything else Mr. Foth said that night because I was too busy wrestling with that inner voice.
That inner voice was the Spirit – promised by Jesus – calling me to be a pastor.
As a result, I wound up ministering to the homeless and at-risk communities of South Tucson where we opened four clean and sober halfway houses to help people kick their addictions. It took me twenty-one years (1984-2005), but I finally arrived at my original destination. And, it only happened after I responded to the voice of the Spirit convincing me to do what I vowed I wouldn’t.
In the most difficult circumstances, the Spirit plays yet another role in the life of a believer.
“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)
I have experienced this more times than I can count, especially when praying for other people. There are times I have no idea why someone is requesting prayer, yet as I join them in prayer, I feel impressed to pray for a particular concern. Afterward, they asked how I knew to pray for that particular need. I didn’t. The Spirit did.
Now, let’s explore something that’s truly crazy.
“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you… You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide… These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” John 15:12-14, 16-17 (ESV)
Here, Jesus is trying to convey the importance of His love for them, but even more, the importance of their love for one another. The love believers have for one another is supposed to be a sign to the world of the transformative power of being a follower of Jesus.
As Jesus was praying just prior to His death, His highest priority was not for His own well-being. It was for His followers.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21 (ESV)
Before He died, Jesus also placed a special emphasis on the difficulty His followers would face from people like Joy Behar (and Bill Maher) who want to make a mockery of faith.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.” John 15:18-19 (ESV)
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 (ESV)
For every follower of Christ reading this post, I propose we do something radical. Let’s pray for them…anyone who stands against our faith.
Let’s pray that Jesus would break through their hardened hearts, so they can recognize and respond to the Spirit of God speaking to them.
Let’s be the example of love and unity Jesus prayed for by breaking down our denominational walls and coming together as one body of believers.
Let’s proclaim Jesus’ crazy love for people He knew would reject Him, submitting Himself to the pain and shame of death on the cross, so anyone who chooses to believe may receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of adoption as children of God.
Let’s pray the Lord will help us show the world His Crazy Love!