Learn to love like Je­sus

The Sunday Guardian - - World - By Rev. Dr. Richard How­ell

What is the limit of your com­fort zone in deal­ing with those who have se­vere dis­abil­i­ties? An ac­count in the Bi­ble records Je­sus’ visit to the pool of Bethesda. Among the many await­ing heal­ing that day, Je­sus se­lected a par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult case ( John 5:1-15). Life for a para­plegic is not easy even to­day, but imag­ine the chal­lenges faced in the 1st cen­tury. There would have been prob­lems of mo­bil­ity, liveli­hood, per­sonal hy­giene, and so­cial iso­la­tion. In ad­di­tion, peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties have of­ten faced judg­ments by oth­ers, declar­ing their sick­ness and suf­fer­ing as a re­sult of their karma or sins. This, how­ever, need not be the case.

Peo­ple moved this man who had be­come par­a­lyzed for 38 years from place to place. His mea­ger in­come came from beg­ging or from the char­ity of his friends and fam­ily. When Je­sus saw this man at the pool side, he asked him a ques­tion “Do you wish to get well?” Our first in­stinct is to think, how odd that Je­sus would even ask such a ques­tion to a des­per­ately needy per­son. Of course, he wants heal­ing. Yet, at times, peo­ple al­low their iden­tity to cen­ter around their prob­lems, be it their pet vices. Re­moval of these prob­lems would re­quire re-form­ing their sense of who they are.

As we sit in the com­fort of our homes, the needs of peo­ple with lep­rosy or other ill­nesses seem over­whelm­ing, we hes­i­tate to love when it may get messy; we’re dan­ger­ously at­tached to con­trol. But Je­sus liked to be in dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions; His love flowed freely even when prob­lems had crip­pled a per­son’s sense of iden­tity.

Je­sus healed the par­a­lytic man (v.11). Some­times, we do turn to God, but with the wrong goal in mind. It is pos­si­ble that we of­ten look to God to give us what we think we need, when in fact, what we need is God, Him­self. A deep in­ti­mate re­la­tion­ship with Christ will em­power us to reach out to oth­ers and love like Je­sus!

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