By Scott Brown
Pastor, Brush Creek Baptist Church, Brush Creek
“Son, your sins are forgiven” (Mark 2:5). For a brief moment, was that a disappointment to the man on the mat? He was a paralytic who had been carried to the house and let down through a hole in the roof where Jesus was because he was looking for healing. He wanted to walk. And the first thing that Jesus mentions, is his sin. Did he even consider he needed forgiveness? The scribes certainly didn’t consider their need for forgiveness. They couldn’t even understand how this new rabbi, from Nazareth, of all places, could even hint at forgiveness of sin. Then, Jesus tells the paralytic, “get up, take your mat, and go home” (v. 11). And the man did just that. He was completely healed. He was also completely forgiven.
Do the people in the world today even know they need forgiveness? Romans 3:23 tells us all are sinners. When we look around at the world, people generally believe they are, for the most part, good people. And, if God does exist, He will not send good people to hell. But, the Bible says different. Are we sharing that with those around us? When we go meet physical needs like rebuilding homes, easing hunger or taking care of medical issues, are we prioritizing the spiritual need? Are we telling the people we are ministering to, they need to be forgiven of their sins.
If we are not, we are doing them a disservice. They may not even know they need forgiving. Our mission is to lovingly tell them of their spiritual need of forgiveness and then share the good news that Jesus is the source of that forgiveness.
The paralytic got up, picked up his mat and walked home. He didn’t need therapy, it was complete and lasted until he died. The spiritual healing he received that day continues throughout eternity. That spiritual healing came about through the forgiveness offered by Jesus. It was also complete and it is still a complete forgiveness He offers today. Do we offer complete forgiveness to those who have hurt us? Does the forgiveness we offer to someone come with conditions? The day Jesus forgave this paralytic’s sins, the only condition Jesus recognized was the faith of the group that included the paralytic. How do you do at offering unconditional forgiveness to those who have hurt you?
The day after Dylan Roof shot and killed nine people in a church in Charleston, SC, members of that church publicly forgave him. While the pain of that tragedy was still fresh, they were the example of forgiveness Jesus expects us all to be. We should look beyond the situation and see the people who hurt us as Jesus sees all of us, as sinful and broken people, in dire need of forgiveness. Jesus shows us that healing begins with forgiveness.
How are you doing at forgiving completely and sharing the complete forgiveness of Christ with others?