Forgiving like Jesus

2009 Mar 29

There is a very interesting story in Mark 2. Jesus had started healing people and therefore had become extremely popular. It became difficult to get face time with Jesus. Since the culture of his day valued hospitality very highly, when people were at your door you were expected to invite them in. Unfortunately then when the whole town wanted in, your house became packed.

A guy that was paralyzed wanted to get to Jesus. He had some friends that brought him to the house, but with the situation, he wasn't going to get in through the door. So they found a way to make an opening in the roof and lower him down to Jesus. (How audacious is that!!)

They knew Jesus could help - they had faith in God. Jesus saw that faith and responded to it with equal generosity: he offered to forgive the man of his sins. How very strange! The man probably hadn't come wanting that addressed. If that was all Jesus would have given him, he may even have been upset.

Actually, the religious types in the room really did get upset over that.

They were intrigued by the interesting new spiritual things that Jesus was teaching, but they knew that only God could do the sins-forgiving thing. They were still just checking Jesus out and certainly didn't (yet) consider Jesus to be God. They were thinking that forgiveness of sins is an action of deity (and it is), but Jesus also wanted to make some other points:

  • He wanted them to understand how hard it is to forgive.
  • He wanted them to know that a good relationship was more worth than having a good body.
  • And he wanted them to understand when to forgive.

Forgiveness is the core part of how broken relationships are restored. The man came trusting that Jesus would be loving and merciful to him. And that is the same way our connection with God is healed. God responds generously to our faith (even if we ask amiss) and he forgives our sins. All through His ministry, Jesus taught that we also need to forgive because that is what it means to be like God.

Jesus started forgiving sins early in his ministry because that was a key task he came to do. The task was so hard and so costly, that it was completed only by what He did on the cross.

You too know how hard it is to forgive. It is easiest to ignore a relationship problem. The next easiest thing is to do something physical - maybe give a gift or go out to eat, etc. Jesus said doing a healing was the easy part for Him. The really hard part is to be a sacrificial lover or to forgive a person.

The people in the house were amazed when Jesus healed the man. However, they missed that forgiving was the more amazing thing.

You too can pursue relationships like God does, without selfishness (but only) by His power in you. When you do, you will also be amazed by the changes in your life.


See also Forgiveness Q&A


The value system perspective used here is based on ideas from the work of Darren Twa.