There is an interesting story in the New Testament on the power of forgiveness and the effect that it can have on us physically and psychologically. Now you may ask yourself what forgiveness has to do with health and healing. May I paraphrase one of my favorite stories from the New Testament. It must have been important that we understand this principle for it is found in three of the four gospels; Matthew 9:2-8, Mark 2:2- 12. Luke 5 :18- 26
There was a man who had palsy for several years to the degree that it had left him bedridden. He felt that if he could just get to the Savior he could be healed. His friends agreed with him, so the friends put him on a cot or stretcher and carried him to the home in Capernaum where Jesus was teaching. Apparently there was quite a gathering at the home making it impossible to get the man through the crowd or even in the doorway to where Christ was teaching. His friends carried him up on the roof where they removed some tiles and lowered him bed and all with ropes down through the roof in the vicinity where the Savior was teaching.
I’m sure this caused quite a commotion, as the people saw this man being lowered with ropes lying on a bed all gnarled with palsy. The scriptures tell us that, “The Lord recognizing their great faith,(the man and his friends) said `My son, thy sins are forgiven thee'”. Among the crowd along with the Pharisees were the Scribes, feverishly taking notes on “this guy, Jesus” looking for anything that they could consider blasphemous, that they might condemn him. Their immediate reaction was “that is blasphemous! Who does he think he is? Only God can heal by forgiving.” Christ perceived their thoughts and said, “Why are ye troubled in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, thy sins be forgiven thee or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the man sick of palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own home, glorifying God.
Now there are some interesting lessons to be learned here. The fact that the man had sinned sometime in his past and had subconsciously punished himself with palsy trying to atone for his sins. He had repented or he wouldn’t have come to the Savior, but he hadn’t forgiven himself, and he couldn’t, until he knew that the Savior had forgiven him. “Recognizing their great faith.” What a key! I have wondered how many sick people the Savior passed by, because they lacked the faith to be healed. I can only imagine that as the Lord forgave the man with palsy, that a heavy burden of guilt was lifted off his shoulders that he had been bearing.
Can you begin to see why the Apostles questioned the Lord, as they came to a man who had been blind since birth, “Who sinned, this man or his parents?” They were beginning to recognize the fact that health problems many times were closely related to sinning, and now they were trying to figure out when this man had sinned, or was it his parents that sinned and he was trying to pay the price with his blindness. In this particular case the Lord helped them to understand that it was neither the parents nor the man who sinned, but this man’s blindness was “so that the power of God might be manifested”. Obviously all health problems aren’t related to sin but there are enough to look at it seriously as a cause.
Another thought I have had concerns the faith we have in an immediate healing. Today the man with palsy would say when told to take up his bed and walk, “You don’t really expect me to walk? How about if I just straighten my foot a little or wiggle my toe so that will show that I can get better and maybe walk in a couple of years. I’ve had this problem for years and the doctor said I would just have to learn to live with it. I know I can get better some day.” We really don’t expect to be healed immediately today. I’m afraid we lack the faith for an immediate healing most of the time.
Just a few months after the Lord forgave this man, He forgave you and me, in the Garden of Gethsemane, when He took upon Himself the sins of all the world and atoned for our transgressions. This atonement is predicated upon our willingness to repent and forgive, allowing Him to take the burden of guilt from us.
May we have the faith to be healed and accept the Lord’s atoning sacrifice and allow ourselves to be healthy and happy as we follow His plan of Happiness.