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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Radical Faith

Most Christians know the story of the paralytic whose four friends thought of a radical way to get him to Jesus. They were willing to tear apart a roof and lower their friend through it to put him in front of a crowded room of people clamoring for healing from Jesus. "When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the parlytic, "'Son your sins are fogiven.'"
The first thing that strikes most people, is wow those guys were desperate for their friend to get to Jesus. Yes, their desperation led them to a creative, radical solution, removing a roof. When I got to thinking about this, I realized the barriers that we as Christians have to overcome when attempting to bring our friends to Jesus. We need to overcome barriers society has imposed on Christians and a few of our own, like judgementalism. Both parties are quilty of that one and how about narrowmindedness. Once again, we can both stand guilty. Another good one society lays on us is unintellectual and ignorant, that's a tough one to break though, but we can do it if we're as creative as the parlayic's friends.
One of the less obvious points of the story is the rather odd statement Jesus makes about forgiving the paralytic's sins before he heals him. He knew the Pharisees would be judging him, but he said it anyway. We too need to break though the barrier the world has erected that says there is no such thing as sin. If we could be so bold to declare that we too, like the paralytic, are sinners in need of a physician, we might draw a little less judgement from the world. We need to think of creative ways to identify with sinners, without being like them,to break down walls and bring our friends and neighbors face to face with Christ. That will take radical faith. Faith that will go into neighborhoods that others won't, faith to help neighbors that others shun, faith to take time out of our busy schedules and help someone nearby and far, to connect with people, help them and show the love of God, faith to bring them to the real Jesus, the true healer and forgiver of sins.
By the way if you don't know the ending after Jesus forgives him of his sins, the paralytic gets healed and leaves the house praising God. Radical faith desires for God to be praised in the end, so if we are not applauded for our efforts, don't despair, God sees. Our job, like the four frineds, is to look for creative ways to overcome these barriers and let Jesus do the rest.