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GRACEVINE DEVOTIONAL
Friday, August 22, 2017
Matthew 8:2-3 KJV
And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. [3] And Jesus put forth his hand, and touched him, saying, I will; be thou clean. And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.
In Jesus’ day, only certain people were allowed to participate in temple life. Those with diseases such as leprosy had to stay away. They weren’t welcome. They were considered infectious and untouchable.
But Jesus was not afraid to touch the untouchables. He went to where they were and “infected” them with his love and healing power.
When we cultivate the attitude that church is a place for perfect people with perfect hair and perfect smiles, we inevitably marginalize those who are going through hard times.
We often arrogantly say to them “You’ve got to be walking in victory every day.” But what if they are not? What if they can’t get out of bed because they’re bound with anxiety and fear? What then? Are they no longer children of God?
Many people in our church and fellowship groups who are suffering with mental illness and emotional instability have been made to feel like the lepers of old.
This happens when they hear things like, “Depression is a sin,” and, “If you read your Bible every day, you will never get depressed.”
It is undeniably good advice. However, if it is delivered carelessly, it could become devastating to the recipients.
It then becomes poisonous logic because it would suggest that depressed Christians are sinners. They thus become the “unclean” who don’t belong in our meetings. We become merely tolerant but unloving of them. They can come as long as they wear a plastic smile and leave their problems at home.
Jesus would most certainly disagree with this attitude.
Jesus had a thing for lepers. He healed so many! He did this to show us that his heart is always for the broken and hurting and those ostracized by the seemingly “blessed” .
His heart is for those who can’t get out of bed because they are feeling bad and depressed. His heart is for the sick whose medicine cabinets are full of fever drugs and pain killers.
If our attitudes in Church towards the afflicted were to be used as a standard against us,  none of us would even be saved. But thanks be unto God through Jesus Christ our merciful High Priest, Grace became the qualifier for everyone. Let us therefore offer the same to those hurting and bleeding internally around us. Let’s stop seeing and treating these people as “untouchable lepers”.
“But you, O Lord, are a shield for me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.” (Psalm 3:3, AMP)
For everyone hurting and feeling cast out by loveless Christianity, please rest in the knowledge that Jesus loves you unconditionally enough to die, so you could live eternally.
Shalom Beloved,

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