August 19th, 2004


Living healed

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?"

—John 5:6

It's so hard for me to watch people answer "no" to Jesus' question. I wrote about it in my own life, a couple of years ago:
The question isn't as odd as I might think. It's not about "counting the cost" in the traditional sense; it's about changing my identity. I think I want to be well, but I've learned to identify with my sickness, made some sort of peace with it, made it part of who I am. Giving up that sickness truly is a sacrifce. In fact, it's the only one I can make at all—my brokenness is all I have to give. I must be willing to become someone new, to walk in that truth, to receive a new identity. I can't rest in who I thought I was, in who I used to be, in my own self-centered way of navigating a broken life. Do I really want to get well?
Now, even though I understand it, I feel frustration and anger inside when I see others refusing His healing so they can hold onto their brokenness, their control. My feelings are amplified when those people are professing Christians, and it goes to a whole other level when they go on to blame Him for their lack of healing.

It's so ugly and wrong. He's not to blame for your sin. He even paid the penalty for it. When you deny that, you're a liar.

Perhaps some of it is growth in my life. I love Jesus. That's different than just having "faith" and "values" that I can plug and unplug when it suits me, like some kind of small appliance I occasionally use in my kitchen. He's real. He's a person. So when people, especially Christians, talk shit about Him, falsely, I'm pissed. And when people, especially Christians, take His grace and spit on it, I'm pissed.

But my own brokenness continue to be the only thing I have to give. It's not my place to try to bring anyone else's—the Pharisees and Sadducees specialized in confessing other people's sins. Do I want to be healed of that? Am I willing to let Him expand my heart beyond frustration and anger, to feel the pain of compassion?

In the meantime, if Jesus is real to you, if you love Him, if He's given healing to your soul and you're being a jerk about it, knock it off. Seriously. That may not be all warm and fuzzy and affirming, but I can't think of a more loving encouragement I can give. I need to hear it, too.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple and said to him, "See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you."

—John 5:14
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