When things go wrong we always want to find someone to blame. It makes things easier to handle when we can shame a guilty party. When we sin there are consequences. It was a common thought in Jesus day that if someone was sick it was because they sinned or someone like their parents sinned. Look at Job- everyone believed that what he was going through was his fault.
In John 9 the disciples asked Jesus whose fault it was that a man was blind. What sin did he do that caused this? It sure made it easier to disregard the suffering because after all, it was their own fault. They brought it on themselves.
But Jesus (as He does) brought a new line of thinking. Maybe there is suffering so God can be glorified. There was a cause and a purpose that was bigger than the person in the middle of it all. This can be really helpful when your overwhelmed and can’t seem to get to the end of the crap in your life.
Don’t get me wrong here- a lot of suffering we bring on ourselves! It’s just that it’s not always the case. The first thing to do is check your heart and see if you need to make adjustments but also understand that not all things are about you.
How would we know good if we didn’t know evil? How could we choose God if we didn’t have any other option? God didn’t make robots, He made humans. He gave us free-will. We can chose to sin and suffer the consequences. We can chose to not sin and sometimes still have horrible things happen, but it gives us the most amazing opportunity to know a God who loves and can AND DOES redeem. There are bigger purposes if your willing to step outside yourself.
I’m not a talk kind of person. If you say you want something then you should actually want it. Just before my husband turned 30 he learned this lesson really well. We were on a ferry and saw a brochure for skydiving and he said, “I want to go skydiving one day.” I took him literally and I booked him for skydiving for his birthday and surprised him. He was extremely shocked and had to evaluate how much he actually meant what he said. He did go through with it, though I was terrified for him, and he loved it.
John Chapter 5 verse 6 says, “When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?” (NIV) I think it is very poignant that the Bibles notes Jesus reflecting on the fact that this man had been in that condition for a long time. Even when things are awful or hurt, if it’s been that way for a long time it can be very hard to change. Even pain can become comfortable. It fits on us like an old coat that contours in all the right places.
If we have been wronged, we may not want to forgive (which actually sets US free and not the other person) because then we have nothing to hold against that person who did us wrong. Sometimes it feels good to be angry, it feels right to be superior because we were the victim in that circumstance. When we are occupied by blaming someone else the attention is drawn away from our failures and weaknesses. Holding anger and unforgiveness will only keep you in bondage and you will never be free.
Everyday Jesus is asking you – do you want to be free? So many people say they want Jesus and say they want freedom but it comes with too high of cost for many. We have to lay down our right to feel superior. We lay down our pride. We have to give up the old coat that we have come to know and wear everyday. A new way of doing things, a new way of living – even if it is a healed life, can be scary and different. It’s hard to let go but it’s better. So much better.
It’s worth it to be free.