Lent 2017 // Day Twenty

Image by justloveprints.com

Image by justloveprints.com

John 5:1-16

Cleansing Sin in our Families

The other night, after an early morning and an exhausting 6 mile hike, I was cleaning dishes after dinner. My husband, as he walked out of our tiny kitchen, flipped off the lights without thinking, leaving me in the dark. When I called my husband’s name, he turned around, blinked confusedly, unable to realize at first what was wrong. It was a humorous scenario that had us laughing, but it also had me thinking about the man at the spring from from John 5.

In this passage, Jesus firsts asks the man, struggling with illness for thirty-eight years, if he wants to be well. Grace and healing, of course, cannot be forced on someone. But how does the man respond to Jesus’ question? Instead of saying “of course, I want healing! Bring it on,”
he says: “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up; while I am on my way, someone else gets down there before me.” Is the man just complaining or feeling sorry for himself? Is he simply making excuses for his not trying hard enough to get better? Or is there some weight in the man’s words? Where was his family to lower him into the waters?

Because it is made up of human beings, each family has its own problems and challenges, be they physical, emotional, or financial struggles, or more serious problems, like addiction. Both the beauty and the cross of family life is the interconnectivity of the persons. The members of a family are so interconnected that what happens to one person affects, to some degree, the others. Do we think about our actions with our family in mind? Do we choose to love them even when it is difficult? Do we, either actively or passively, stand in the way of others receiving God’s healing? Do we, even without thinking, keep others, especially our family, in the dark?

C.S Lewis in his essay The Weight of Glory writes:

“The load, or weight, or burden of my neighbor’s glory should be laid daily on my back, a load so heavy that only humility can carry it, and the backs of the proud will be broken...It is a serious thing to live in a society [of immortal souls], to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations.”

The ultimate destination is determined by the individual. We do not have the power to forgive their sins, and we cannot force, trick, or coerce our family members, even those most in need, to receive healing. But we do have a responsibility as Christians to lead our brothers and sisters through our words and actions to that healing water, to fount of mercy, to the source of eternal life.

Reflect: Is there anyone in your life that you struggle to love? How might you love them better?

Act: Do something kind for that person or someone else in your life 

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