In Jesus’ day, only certain people were allowed to participate in temple life. Those with diseases such as leprosy had to stay away. They weren’t welcome. They were considered infectious and untouchable.
But Jesus was not afraid to touch the untouchables. He went to where they were and “infected” them with his love and healing power.
When we cultivate the attitude that church is a place for perfect people with perfect hair and perfect smiles, we inevitably marginalize those who are going through hard times. “You’ve got to be walking in victory every day.” But what if you’re not? What if you can’t get out of bed because you’re bound with anxiety and fear? What then?
People suffering with mental illness and emotional instability can be made to feel like the lepers of old. This happens when they hear things like, “Depression is a sin,” and, “If you read your Bible every day, you will never get depressed.”
This is poisonous logic. It suggests the mentally unwell are sinners. They are the unclean who don’t belong in our meetings. They can come as long as they wear a plastic smile and leave their problems at home.
Jesus would disagree.
Jesus had a thing for lepers. He healed so many! He did this to show us that his heart is always for the broken and hurting and those outside the camp. His heart is for those who can’t get out of bed and whose medicine cabinets are full of Zoloft and Prozac.
Extracted from the book Stuff Jesus Never Said
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