Recently, I was watchingÂ Pat Robertson.Â I’ve oftenÂ heard him say, “The Lord told me that…..”Â Â There was neverÂ doubt that heÂ had just gotten offÂ the speakerphone with Jesus.
But, this timeÂ he said very carefully, “I had the impression that the Lord was speaking toÂ me….”Â I was so surprised to hear the disclaimer, “impression…” thatÂ I forgot to listen to whatever it was Pat thought heÂ had heard.
I think it would be a healthy thing if all the big Christian evangelists and personalities would stop saying they hear directly from Jesus and God.Â It seems to me it has the potential to persuade mentally ill people to believe that they, too, may beÂ hearing from Jesus andÂ are being instructed to do horrific things.
While it is not exactly the same thing, the rather common practice of saying one has reached a “prayful decision” carries the implication that while praying,Â one heard instructions.Â Some of us are old enough to remember the resignationÂ of PresidentÂ Nixon.Â Â
Afterwards, theÂ Federal Government began building a criminal case against Nixon.Â Suddenly, President Ford announcedÂ that he had pardonedÂ Nixon.Â Â I remember most clearlyÂ that Ford then said, “I reached the decision after much prayer.”
Psychiatrists sometimes ask patients if they hear voices talking to them when no one is there.Â For some reason, we think it is OK if the voice is thatÂ of Jesus.
It would be better ifÂ politicans and preachers did not hear voices.