You being sick is because of sin??? Say what???!!!
Yes, today we had another one of those…. P was sick, very sick. P has cancer and has two months to live. (expectation) And that’s not good news. But it gets worse…
The message to him was (in a church…): you have cancer because you have sin in your life. You must put away your sin, and then the disease will also go away…. It’s your own fault that you have cancer.
SAY WHAT! WOW! STOP!
And now we have (at least) three problems….
- P has cancer and his last days are literally numbered… and that’s sad enough as it is already.
- P now thinks he has himself to blame for the cancer and goes crazy thinking what he’s done wrong. He can’t imagine what that should be!
- If P finds out soon enough and confesses the sin, he will be healed…? Or…..
For context: we met him by coincidence, (“coincidence”, yeah, right) so the conversation started spontaneously, not in a counseling session and/or whether we will ever speak P again (alive) we don’t know. So, this may be the only chance you may have to have a conversation with P…… and you have (approximately) 10 minutes, that’s all…. The pressure is on.
How do you start a conversation like that? I entered into it as follows….
First, I stopped the conversation. Stop expressing emotion, stop looking for that sin, stop and let’s get to the bible. Don’t believe a word I’m about to tell you, believe what the bible says. (and don’t believe a word that anyone else has told you either…and read your bible…) Let’s start with the next bible verses:
1 As He (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth.
2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.
5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”
6 After saying this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.
7 “Go,” he told him, “wash in the Pool of Siloam” (this word means “Sent”). So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.John 9:1-7
What do you see in verse 3? Was it the sin this man had committed that he was blind? No. It wasn’t the person himself, God had a plan….
And that immediately(!) took the conversation in an entirely different direction…. The guilt that P had suddenly taken on a different dimension….
You know what? Let’s add another verse… Do you know Paul from the bible? THE Paul Who Completed Bible Books? Well, P knew that one. Secure! That Paul is significant in the bible!
So, i dragged in Paul and his thorn into the conversation.
7b Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.
8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me.
9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.2 Corinthians 12:7b-9
Paul, THE Paul had a thorn. What was it? No idea. But Paul was not pleased, and it hurt him. Was it cancer? Or was it something else? That’s right, it doesn’t matter, it hurt him and Paul prayed… and nothing happened.
Could it have been Paul’s sins that he got that thorn? P answered very clearly: no, of course not, it is THE Paul!
And again a piece of P’s pain disappeared… not the pain of the cancer, but the pain of the comments someone had made about him…. That pain went away….. But there was still another pain… yes, of course P had sometimes done things that were not right…. were they now in the way to heaven?…because P will die soon…
So i took the following piece:
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
Read what it says P! Verse by verse! Is this physical healing or spiritual healing? Study it. (and also read everything that is written before verse 5 at home, then it becomes even clearer) Jesus says here that you will be healed of… your sin…
Transgressions = sin
Iniquities = sin
We are healed = healing from sin, Jesus is talking about spiritual, NOT physical healing.
That’s right, this is NOT about curing your cancer. This is about Jesus dying for you, to take away all your sin from you. Jesus heals you from your sin….
Hey! That was precisely what P felt! He suddenly felt free of that burden he was carrying. So as a last step, I asked P about that faith P had. Do you believe that Christ died for your sin and rose again from the dead?
P’s answer was yes.
Welcome to eternal life P. Without that ballast on your shoulders. Nice right?!
Yes, your human disease is still there, but that false, terrible, horrific burden that someone else has been trying to project on you… it’s gone. The bible is clear on it, believe what it says in that bible and nothing else.
And yes, P now also understood (the Adam and Eve story with that apple) that sickness in general indeed came from sin. But NOT in the way that person told him…. And that there is deliverance from that sin, also deliverance from false stories and lies. And that an eternal future, without pain, awaits P. Just a little longer, then there will be no more pain.
Then I asked the hardest question to P: this whole thing with illness…. has this brought you closer to God or further away from Him?
His answer: This has brought me closer to God. Hey, wait a minute! Now I get it! I am not a loser with my illness, but a winner.
Goodbye P, God is with you. See you soon.
(and yes, of course I would have liked to say more, to shed some light on more sides of the story, but it is what it is… Most of the conversations I have are fast, the topics very hard and the clock is ticking… literally and figuratively)