I’m sure it seemed like just an ordinary day…until the earthquake struck and the walls crumbled, the dust rose, and life was forever changed by everything getting broken–buildings, bodies, and hearts.
Watching from afar the devastating destruction in Haiti, I am confronted with my callousness and business-as-usual mentality to life that has kept me from seeing my own brokenness. It’s so easy for apathy to skew your reality…until you find yourself trapped beneath the rubble of sin that has collided in on you.
I am broken and crushed today by Matthew 9.
And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins have been forgiven.” And behold, some of the scribes said to themselves, “This man is blaspheming.” But Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? For which is easier, to say ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”–he then said to the paralytic–“Rise, pick up your bed and go home.” And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.
Sin is paralyzing.
What a punch in the gut to my hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and jugdmentalism. I fumed at what Pat Robertson said about the earthquake, while giving myself a ‘pass’ on all the uncharitable, presumptive, and just plain inaccurate things I have said this week. Whether it is corporate sin, whose effect upon humanity is inescapable, or if it’s unavoidable personal sin; sin always traps people in their condition and sucks the life out of them that Jesus intended them to have.
I always read the story of the paralytic and focuse on the people who brought the man to Jesus; how noble they are for their random act of kindness. I moralize, I will be more kind today, too. Or, I read it and focus on Jesus; He is so wonderful to heal the man and I thank Him for healing others.
But today…I realized that all the years of reading this story and I have never glanced at the ‘me’ in the story–the paralytic on the mat. I am that person. Do you notice that the text says nothing about the man wanting to go to Jesus? He doesn’t ask; the people just take him. Might it be because they are so stinking tired of him sitting there on his mat–stuck? They need this man to get on with life. On with the healed life–the forgiven life. The people need to get the man to Jesus to do what they could never do for him. Set him free and get him walking.
I need to get to Jesus. I need to find the healed life…the forgiven life. My mat of pride has rendered me disabled for too long. Today I recognize anew how stuck I am without His touch. How dependant I am on Him to bring any glory to God. Without a touch from Jesus, I’m just helplessly stuck.
As I cry out for forgiveness and mercy, I am reminded God always enters the broken places with mercy and healing. He tells us to “Rise and walk.” Walk as one who has been touched–seen, healed, and released to life–by Jesus.
A Haitian woman, upon being recovered from the rubble declared, “I know that God loves me.” Amen, sister, He does love us so! We who ‘walk living’ among the dead do so only by His mercy.