“A few days later, when Jesus again entered Capernaum, the people heard that he had come home. They gathered in such large numbersthat there was no room left, not even outside the door, and he preached the word to them. Some men came, bringing to him a paralyzed man,carried by four of them. Since they could not get him to Jesus because of the crowd, they made an opening in the roof above Jesus by digging through it and then lowered the mat the man was lying on. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.” Mark 2:1-5
Sermons from the verses above are usually focused on faith and/ or only Jesus can forgive sins. A recent discussion made me view these verses in a very different light.
In reading this story the other night within one of my bible study groups, the discussion became very personal and emotional.
Here are some of the statements said once we finished reading:
“Wow! Great friends”
“I would have been so mad if that was my roof”
“That took great courage to destroy someone’s roof for a friend knowing they would all have to pay back for it.”
“So why didn’t they just ask the crowd to excuse them and walk through the front door”
And lastly, “Disabled people have friends?”
As you can appreciate, it was discouraging to hear all of this but I felt that God used this opportunity to divert from the usual sermon focus of this parable to speak of a different story.
One of compassion. A love and bond between friends.
My first reaction was disappointment and weariness as the leader within the group. But as the conversation ensued, I silently prayed and felt the Holy Spirit advising me that even I, yes I, also treat ‘disabled’ people in a negative way. Not rudely, but there is a level of uncomfortable feelings.
I know that our culture and society does not look kindly to anyone we deem as being ‘different’ from us. It dawned on me though that our lack of education, compassion and interest for persons with disabilities is staggering.
I am never impolite, in fact I do greet someone with a disability like I would any other person I meet, but I don’t stop to converse with them. I don’t check in on them and their families. I don’t get to know them. I don’t go out with them. I don’t have any disabled friends.
In my mind, I was ‘arguing’ with the Spirit of why I am the way I am. I made all kinds of excuses such as my elder’s never taught us how to interact with a person with disability as it was always pushed under the rug and no one spoke of it; I made the excuse that I didn’t see a person with disability often… and I could have went on and on…
But I became quiet in my soul… I was wrong. I knew I was wrong. And I just need to shut up with the excuses and be quiet.
I may not have posed the question about disabled persons having friends but you know what, my actions brought truth to my beliefs in that statement.
And that is wrong!
I needed to fix my perception and I needed to do something about it. Quickly!
So much so, I started speaking to a young man that I absolutely enjoy seeing in Church who has a disability but has the most pleasant personality. I check in with his family and genuinely want to keep in touch with them.
Is this something you think about it? Has this post stirred within you a desire to reach out to someone who may think that their only friends is their parents and siblings?
Food for thought: Reach out to a person with a disability. Come out of your comfort zone. We are all made in God’s image and LOVED by HIM. We are all called to live like Jesus did who showed compassion to the weak, oppressed and those who could not help themselves. Take steps today to show them that they are loved.
Prayer: Father, forgive me for my sins. Forgive me for loving only those that make me comfortable to be in their presence. Guide me to show love to someone who may have a disability and just need to know that they are loved by you. In Jesus name. Amen
May the God of mercy, peace and love be with you.