“Why do you raise such questions in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins” —he said to the paralytic—“I say to you, stand up, take your mat and go to your home.”
—Mark 2: 8-11
It is a poignant story of Jesus healing a paralyzed man who is being carried by four friends. Jesus heals him by forgiving his sins. His act scandalizes the authorities, who follow the traditional teaching that only God can forgive sins. The reading closes, "When the crowds saw it, they were filled with awe, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to human beings."
Who are those friends who have believed in you, carried you emotionally when you were stuck, frozen, unable to act? God honors such friendships and uses that kind of faithfulness to bring healing and strength.
When have you been a supportive friend for another? Encouraging, helping out, believing when there was cause for despair. When have you helped carry another's burden?
Conversely, when has your conscience caused you to be afraid or paralyzed? Shakespeare writes, "Conscience doth make cowards of us all." Accepting forgiveness means reclaiming your power to act, walk with your head up after failure or shame.
When have you experienced the power of forgiveness? The crowds in this story are filled with awe because they realize that God has given to human beings the divine authority to forgive sins. To forgive another is one of the most God-like acts we can perform, a divine gift that we have authority to grant. That is awesome indeed.
When has another forgiven you? Whose friendship helps carry you in faith?Whom do you support with your care? When have you given forgiveness? How about today?
Lift our drooping shoulders with the light of your forgiving love, O God, that we may walk with confidence and strength in communion with one another and with you, through Jesus Christ our healer.
Copyright ©2005 Lowell Grisham.