religious callousness

“Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.” ... “This fellow is blaspheming!” ... “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?” ... “Get up, take your mat and go home.” [Matthew 9:2-6 NIV]

Loving and loyal friends have brought a paralyzed friend to Jesus.
The reactions of those in the crowd are diverse but not all that surprising.
Religious folks callously judged while the faithful came to Jesus believing he could help.

Jesus sensed the unspoken thoughts of these religious folks and called their thinking evil.
Do you think that he found their their religious thoughts evil?
Or was the evil more about their lack of compassion for a paralyzed man?

My wife is paralyzed and I have to admit that we have encountered weird religious folks.
Many times when they see her in her wheelchair they come with a sense of superiority.
These often want to offer callous religious prayers that frankly make us feel uncomfortable.

In contrast, we know so many people who, like the paralytic's friends, are filled with compassion.
These seem to know how to love us and look past things like wheelchairs and disability.
I consider these friends to be stretcher bearers who regularly take us to Jesus in prayer.

This passage ends by recording:
"Then the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to man."
I am filled with awe when I read how the paralytic rose from paralysis.
I am filled with hope when I pray for healing for me wife.
Mostly, I am thankful that our sins have been forgiven.

Teach me Lord to replace callous judging with compassionate caring.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.


  1. My oldest stepson is a special-needs adult who often uses a wheelchair. Most of the weird looks he gets come from little kids who are curious. Chris disarms weird adults by hugging them. I like his stragegy.

    1. I like that strategy too Bill. I have found it interesting how even doctors (who are usually very compassionate) can be a bit callous in their responses. I file it under the people have bad days category. And perhaps that is the best way?


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