Jesus loves lepers - Do I? - 24 March 2021
By Louise Gevers
“Do not judge others, and God will not judge you; do not condemn others, and God will not condemn you; forgive others, and God will forgive you. Give to others, and God will give to you. Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands — all that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.”
The shrill door bell shattered the peace of the morning. The man at the door was well dressed and I already knew what to expect. Waving his Bible and quoting Scripture he told me that I should give him what God had laid on my heart to give him. From past experiences of him I had little reason to want to give him anything, and even now, the inconsistency of the things he was saying made me angry. But these verses spoke to me.
They challenged me to act on Jesus’ injunction to “love others as we do ourselves” and to know how to respond mercifully to people who have a need, instead of being upset because of their questionable attitude. A person who is obviously hungry, asking for food, immediately touches our hearts, but a person who arrives at an inopportune time, then, up front, makes demands makes it more tricky; but if we came in need to Jesus to ask Him for something, would He turn us away because we had a bad approach?
Jesus’ response is always graciousness to people’s needs. When the man with leprosy said, “‘Sir, if you want to, you can make me clean!’ Jesus reached out and touched him. ‘I do want to,’ he answered.” (Luke 5:12) When the people were hungry Jesus gave them food, although His disciple’s advice was “Send the people away so that they can go to the villages and farms around here and find food and lodging …” (Luke 9:12) His response was, “You yourselves give them something to eat.” (Luke 9:13) Jesus then used what they had to multiply it to feed the whole crowd. He still does this through us.
We have to pray into the situation in front of us, each time, and trust God to lead us as we ask ourselves what Jesus would do. He set the example when He was on earth. When people needed healing, He healed them. When they needed educating and asked questions, He answered, He taught them.
He didn’t judge their outer appearance, He wasn’t prejudiced. He looked at their needs in their hearts, as He did with the woman at the well. (John 4:7-42) He did not condemn sinners, but forgave them: “Well, then,” Jesus said, “I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.” (John 8:11)
For every need, Jesus’ measure of giving was the richness of His heart. Perhaps Shakespeare understood: “The quality of mercy is not strained. It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place beneath. It is twice blessed: It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.”
Prayer: Lord Jesus, make our hearts rich like Yours so that we may know the joy of giving freely with Your generosity of spirit, without judging and condemning those we do not know, but blessing them as You have blessed us. Amen