Content for this article was taken from the new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). For more articles included in the book go to Love Like Jesus Book. Love Like Jesus is due to be published in 2018.
Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!”
Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the paralyzed man, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” Then the man got up and went home.
How Jesus Loved People
Jesus loved the paralytic by forgiving him.
How to Love Like Jesus
Years ago I was a one man information technology department for the fire department where I worked. My primary job was that of firefighter but in the evenings at the fire station, and on overtime down at headquarters, I would purchase computers, install software, and program databases.
As the de facto department expert, I often had co-workers ask me questions about their personal computer purchases. I remember one time my friend, Michael Milligan, asked me if he should buy a PC or a Mac. I explained (in a most eloquent manner) how the PC is less expensive, and how you can right click, and why it has more flexibility if you want to upgrade, and how there’s a bigger selection of software available.
Well Mike patiently listened, nodding to indicate his understanding and agreement.
Then he went out and bought a Mac.
I was so mad! It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever but I felt completely betrayed! Things were strained between us, and for a most ridiculous reason. For months I was stuck, I was bound, I was frozen in my relationship with my good friend Mike.
I was paralyzed.
I wonder if God in His wisdom purposely included forgiveness and paralysis in the same passage of scripture. Because when you can’t let go, when you can’t show grace, when you can’t release your anger and resentment — when you can’t forgive, you become paralyzed.
I was paralyzed with my friend Mike and I’ve observed many others whose lives were paralyzed by unforgiveness. The woman with tremendous potential who remains in poverty because she’s overwhelmed with anger toward her parents. The negotiator who can’t come to agreement because he won’t forgive the union president. The woman who heard what was said behind her back, and can’t let it go.
They’re paralyzed by their unforgiveness.
There’s a great article in USA Today about what makes people happy. One sentence in particular stands out and is relevant to our discussion of how Jesus loved people. The sentence is this: “…forgiveness is the trait most strongly linked to happiness, says University of Michigan psychologist Christopher Peterson.”
Forgiveness, forgiveness, forgiveness! No wonder Jesus emphasized it so. His desire is for us to enter into an abundant life, walking with Him here on earth, and dwelling with Him later in heaven. (John 10:10) To live that abundant life on earth He tells us, we must learn to forgive! (Matthew 6:14, 18:21-22, 18:23-35, Mark 11:25)
Do you want to be happy? Do you want to be free from anger, resentment, and disappointment? Then learn to forgive. Forgive everything, of everyone! Forgive 77 times! (Matthew 18:21-22)
Jesus loved people by forgiving, and we see forgiveness has attached to it, the healing of paralysis.
So to love like Jesus, forgive. You’re the one who will be blessed if you do.