By Hoyt H. Houchen
Some who are discovered talking to themselves may be seized by men in white jackets and taken to, a mental hospital. But a proper talking to oneself is healthy.
In Lk. 8:43-48, we have an account of a woman who touched Jesus. This woman was ailing with an issue of blood which had plagued her for twelve years, and having spent all her living upon physicians, none of whom were able to heal her, she came to Jesus. This poor woman was suffering from a hemorrhage, which up to this point, was incurable. Ceremonially, she was unclean according to the law of Moses (Lev. 15:25). Her case was aggravated by the fact that she was also burdened with poverty. Although some ancient authorities omit the phrase, our text states that she “had spent all her living upon physicians.” Coming behind Jesus, she touched the border of His garment and immediately the blood was stanched (dried up, Mk. 5:29). The woman was immediately healed. Jesus then asked, “Who is it that touched me?” All denied, and Peter together with those with him said, “Master, the multitudes press thee and crush thee.” This time Jesus stated that someone had touched Him for He perceived that power had gone from Him. The woman came trembling, falling down before Him and declaring publicly why she had touched Him, affirming that she was healed immediately. Jesus said to her, “Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.”
This is indeed a touching story spun not intended). Picture this poor, hapless, desperate woman who was seeking Jesus “the great Physician.” She found Him and touched Him. That it was her implicit trust and confidence in the Lord that healed her, there can be no doubt. Jesus said that it was her faith that made her whole. The most dreaded and terrible disease in the world is sin. But the good news is that any morally responsible individual can be cured. It can be done by exhibiting a childlike obedient faith in Jesus Christ the Son of God, the kind of faith manifested by the woman in our text. The faith that led this remarkable woman to touch Jesus is the same kind that will lead one to turn from sin, confess Jesus as the Son of God and be buried with Him in water for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; Rom. 6:4). This woman who touched Jesus was not made whole by a mere intellectual belief; neither can one today be cured of the disease of sin by a mere intellectual belief.
However there is something else in the account under consideration which we wish to notice. It has been suggested to this writer, and he in turn would like to pass it on to you. Mark’s record of this incident reveals that this woman first talked to herself. She said, “If I touch but his garments, I shall be made whole.” It is good that we talk to ourselves, provided we say the right thing, for what a person says to himself could be a detriment to him. For instance, the rich farmer in Lk. 12:16-21 did not have the proper attitude toward his wealth to begin with, and so his words to himself were untrue and proved to be futile. In his soliloquy, he reflected, “What shall I do, because I have not where to bestow my fruits? . . . This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, be merry.” He, like all Epicureans, had no thought of God or his soul. He was absorbed by the material, a typical worldling. But God intervened and said to him, “Thou foolish one, this night is thy soul required of thee; and the things which thou hast prepared, whose shall they be?” Though we have massed a fortune and worldly fame but have left God out and have not put Him first, then what? This man performed poorly in talking to himself.
We can successfully talk to ourselves as did the prodical son in Lk. 15. He was anxious to leave home with his substance, but went into a far country and wasted it in riotous living. Then he reached the bottom. In want, he joined himself to a citizen of the country who sent him into his fields to feed swine. He would have satisfied his hunger with the husks which swine ate (the pods of the carob tree, Gr.), but he came to himself. And, not only did he come to himself, but he talked to himself and it was very profitable. “How many hired servants of my father’s have bread and to spare, and I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say unto his Father I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight: I am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants” (Lk. 15:17-19). What a talking job that was, but it worked. The young man returned to his father and the compassionate reception of the son by the father you well know. The penitent boy blamed no one but himself; it was he who had made the mess and there was only one thing to do go back to his father and made things right. Would that all of us would have the same kind of determination and make the same kind of resolution to ourselves when we sin. As expressed in the words of the exhortation song which we often sing, each one needs to say to himself: “I am resolved no longer to linger, charmed by the world’s delight; Things that are higher, things that are nobler, These have allured my sight. I will hasten to Him – Hasten so glad and free, Jesus, greatest, highest, I will come to thee.”
We often need to give ourselves a “pep” talk. When facing difficulty, I need to say to myself, “With the help of God I can overcome it;” when facing my responsibility I must say to myself, “With the help of God I can meet it;” when faced with a command of duty I must say, “I will do it.” Whatever the task may be, I must say to myself, “With the help of God I can perform it.”
As I pen these closing lines I am saying to myself, “I hope and pray that this article will serve as an instrument of good and that it will give all of us more assurance and determination to always do what is right.”
Truth Magazine XXIII: 41, p. 662
October 18, 1979