Compassion for the sick, the oppressed, and those in need is a defining feature of our Lord's character. We see this in Exodus, wherein God hears the cries of the Israelites and remembers His covenant with them, purposing to save them from bondage. But the compassion of our Creator is not impotent empathy or something that addresses only the surface-level problems of illness, oppression, and poverty. Instead, God has acted to address the root cause of all suffering, our sin.
Forgiveness is our most critical need. We must be reconciled to our Creator. Jesus forgives the sins of the paralyzed man who is lowered through the roof (Mark 2:1–5). As with the man born blind (John 9:1–3), the man's paralysis may not be a direct result of his own sin. Still, restoring his mobility is ultimately useless if he remains estranged from his Creator. In Mark 2:1–12, the greatest evidence of Christ's compassion is in His gracious pardoning of the paralyzed man.
In 1 John Chapter 1, John speaks of fellowship here both with God and with one another. Walking in the light is the way to have real fellowship with God and each other. In fact, in verses 8 and 10, John says that we cannot have God's truth or his word in us if we are not truthful about ourselves. Remorse over sin, daily confession, and a continual attitude of repentance are marks of a healthy Christian life. David testified to the power of confession in Psalm 32: "When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night, Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer... I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, "I will confess my sin to the Lord", And You forgave the guilt of my sin" (vs. 4-5). The guilt of David's sin affected him physically-he found relief only through full confession.
In 1 John 1:9, we are invited to confess our sins so that God will forgive us. While God unconditionally extends forgiveness to all, if we want to actually experience a release from our bondage to sin, the first step is to agree (confess) with God that we have sinned. If we do this, we will gain release from our slavery to sin. God will work to cleanse us and purify us, and in this way, our relationship with God will develop and grow.
Disease, depression, sorrow, poverty, injustice, and all other ills are true needs; ultimately, however, all these ills exist because sin has corrupted creation. Not all of our problems are caused by our specific sins, but all of them are due to the fact that we live in a fallen world and suffer from sin's corruption.
Merciful Lord, thank you for the gift of forgiveness and help us to forgive others who wrong us.
Thought for the Day
Have you trusted in Christ for the forgiveness of your sins?
Marthoma Church of Greater Washington