Jesus asks a lot of questions in the Gospels. I think it’s safe to assume Jesus’ questions are not like our questions. He isn’t asking in order to be informed. Jesus is like your professor in college who is asking a question. He already knows the answer. He is asking for your benefit. His question is a way of forcing us to think and answer when we would rather not even think about it.
In the Gospel of John, Jesus comes upon a man who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. Jesus asks him a question. On the surface it would seem like a ridiculous question. Jesus looked at the man and asked simply, “Do you want to be made well?” If there was ever a no-brainer this would be it. Except, why would Jesus ask the question if it was such a no brainer? Personally I think it might have been a toss up. There is something seductive about being wounded.
We are in the midst of the NBA Finals. If you have followed my blog at all you know that I am a charter member of the Jilted Lovers of LeBron James Club. I’ve felt scorned since the moment I heard the words, “I’m taking my talents to South Beach.” It’s been two years.
Why do I still hang on to it? Because there is something I like about being wounded. In some small way I am a victim. Being a victim makes me feel strangely superior.
I have a friend who is struggling to forgive his wife for an indiscretion. It’s been two years for him. It’s a wound and he has been sitting like an emotional invalid licking that wound. Jesus has come to him several times through several people and asked, “Do you want to be made well?” And he has said, “Not yet. I’m still enjoying the wound. Don’t you see how bad I’m hurt. I’m not ready to be healed.” You don’t need to talk to him for very long to realize his wound makes him feel strangely superior.
I’m preparing to go on an inter-racial trip called Sankofa. We are going to fill a bus with 25 black and 25 white members of our church and travel south to revisit some important civil rights sites. At our last meeting it dawned on us how explosive the trip might be. Some of us will be identifying with the perpetrators of horrendous racism, others will be identifying with the victims of that same racism.
It struck me that sometimes it is easier to let grace heal you when you are a perpetrator. There is guilt and shame and once your eyes have been opened you want nothing more than to be washed clean. But being a victim is tougher. There is a justified anger that can act as an emotional wound and it can make you an invalid over time. Jesus came to heal both the one who wounds and the one who is wounded. It is grace that must do it.
I don’t know which you are. If you are like me you have been both.
Jesus asks you today, “Do you want to be made well?” He asks because he is the one who actually can heal you and he will do it with grace that will allow you to forgive as you have been forgiven. Reach for his hand and let him heal you today.