By Roxanne Smith
Sunday Pastor Matt preached on Mark chapter 2. The paralyzed man in the story wanted to see Jesus, but he was unable to get into the crowded house where Jesus was teaching. This man had four very creative friends who were willing to think outside the box. They made a hole in the roof of the house and lowered their friend down through the opening on his stretcher.
Right in front of Jesus.
Jesus, seeing this display of faith, forgave the man’s sins. Jesus also healed the man of his paralysis.
Pastor Matt encouraged us to think about our greatest need, and to bring that to Jesus. Was the paralyzed man aware that his greatest need was forgiveness?
I find that I’m usually not aware that my greatest need is forgiveness of sins. More often I am aware that I need God’s help with something more concrete and I don’t see the connection.
My parents both died in the past year and a half, and my four siblings and I are all grieving their loss. It’s hard to support each other. We live in five different states in three separate time zones. We don’t get to see each other very often.
So we thought a family reunion might help. After two of us spent four months planning a family reunion for this summer, it was recently canceled. For a variety of reasons, there have been hurt feelings. We are all grieving in different ways. And we are not necessarily at our best.
We are all grieving in different ways. And we are not necessarily at our best.
My own disappointment and hurt centered on a particular sibling whom I’ve been close to over the years. This sibling had initially agreed to give four days to the family, but then had retracted. The retraction e-mail listed an unusually busy year, but also a number of trips with friends. That hurt.
While I was with several of my Christian friends, I asked for their input about the relational strain I was having. I explained the circumstances and how I had tried to address the relational strain.
I’d sent an e-mail describing the hurt.
My sibling and I had spoken on the phone. It didn’t go well.
My husband had spoken with my sibling on the phone. That didn’t go well.
My next move had been to justify myself and my actions, and to look at my sibling in an unfavorable light. My flaws looked minor. My sibling’s flaws looked MAJOR.
My flaws looked minor. My sibling’s flaws looked MAJOR.
Several more days went by. I grew angrier. I’m not proud to say it, but then I actually unfriended my sibling on Facebook.
My friends reminded me that my greatest need is forgiveness. They asked about my motives…had I unfriended my sibling because updates were too painful to see and read, or was there some desire to hurt back?
My friends said it was OK for me to be angry for a time, but they asked me to think about what Jesus did when people disappointed him.
Would Jesus have “unfriended” any of his disciples when they disappointed him?
My friends reminded me that my greatest need is forgiveness.
After my friends went home, I didn’t sleep well. My husband said I was talking in my sleep. In my dreams, I was arguing with my sibling.
I got up and prayed. I thought about my relationship with my sibling, and how I wanted it to be restored. I still thought a real offense had been committed, but that didn’t matter as much as restoration.
I put my hurt feelings and my offended pride and my angry reaction on a mat and lowered it down.
Right in front of Jesus.
And I felt His forgiveness.
I took it and extended it to my sibling. On Facebook. With an apology.
And a new friend request.