Not a Victim but a Sinner

Whenever interesting coincidences happen that pertain to my relationship with God, I like to pause and consider wether God is trying to tell me something.

Today while reading something I came across a bible passage about the paralyzed man who was lowered through a roof to be healed by Jesus. I thought nothing of it then, and actually thought that it was kind out of place in the context it was used.

While at church the preacher preached from the same bible passage and so I thought that it was ironic and it bothered me for most of the day.

While laying here I decided to go to the bible passage and sit with God to see if He is trying to tell me something.

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man
2 A few days later, when Jesus came back to Capernaum, the news spread that he was at home. 2 Many people gathered together so that there was no room in the house, not even outside the door. And Jesus was teaching them God’s message. 3 Four people came, carrying a paralyzed man. 4 Since they could not get to Jesus because of the crowd, they dug a hole in the roof right above where he was speaking. When they got through, they lowered the mat with the paralyzed man on it. 5 When Jesus saw the faith of these people, he said to the paralyzed man, “Young man, your sins are forgiven.”

6 Some of the teachers of the law were sitting there, thinking to themselves, 7 “Why does this man say things like that? He is speaking as if he were God. Only God can forgive sins.”

8 Jesus knew immediately what these teachers of the law were thinking. So he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? 9 Which is easier: to tell this paralyzed man, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to tell him, ‘Stand up. Take your mat and walk’? 10 But I will prove to you that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus said to the paralyzed man, 11 “I tell you, stand up, take your mat, and go home.” 12 Immediately the paralyzed man stood up, took his mat, and walked out while everyone was watching him. The people were amazed and praised God. They said, “We have never seen anything like this!”

I never understood why sometimes Jesus would say that sins were forgiven, instead of directly proclaiming healing. In the story I was reading the author saw it from the perspective of Jesus securing this mans eternal wholeness before his physical, and the preacher saw it from the context of the friends radically lifting up their friend to set him at the feet of Jesus.

At first I couldn’t figure out who I was in the story, if I was in the story at all because I didn’t consider myself paralyzed, metaphorically of course.

However, after thinking a little bit more about why Jesus chose to forgive this mans sins, I remembered in the bible when His disciples asked Him whose sins caused the blind man to be blind. Jesus responded that it was not a matter of sins but for the glory of God. It struck me that the disciples asked the question because the assumption and the long standing happenings of that time were that God punished people for unrepented sins. There was no shed blood of Jesus that covered, so unless they shed the blood of animals as instructed by the law of Moses then they were guilty in the eyes of God and paid for their sins.

I always looked at the paralyzed man as a victim. That he was helpless and I should feel sorry for him and have compassion on him, all under the assumption that he was maybe born that way.

But now I realize how does one exactly end up paralyzed. I don’t know of any instances where one is born paralyzed and survives, especially to be that old, and to have made friends that would take radical action on their behalf.

Now I see that this man was probably guilty of some sin that landed him in his paralysis, and that is why Jesus healing the man’s paralysis is equated to Him forgiving His sins. If the logic follows that paralysis is the result of unforgiven sins than the paralysis could only lift if the cause (sin) was forgiven. This is why Jesus shows them He has power to forgive sins by the demonstration of this man walking.

Sometimes a lot of people criticize those with psychiatric disorders as people who try to absolve themselves of the responsibility over the messed up stuff they have done. Conscious of this, I like to hold myself to strict standards, punishing myself, criticizing myself, not allowing myself kindness or forgiveness because I don’t want to be one of the ones who makes excuses for themselves.

Sadly though, as righteous as it may seem, if I never forgive myself then I will never be able to move forward and change and learn from the mistakes I have made. My self punishment will do nothing more but keep me from being able to be a blessing to other people, especially the kids that God has been for a long time pressing upon my heart to bless in whatever capacity He allows me too.

Yes, I have sinned and God has immobilized me for a length of time that He sees fit but now when He says get up and go then I do myself or the people I have hurt no favors by staying stuck. I’m not a victim, i’m a sinner, but God has grace even for me. He has forgiveness even for me.

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