All Posts Tagged: disease
“We are saved by grace through faith—a gift from God.” Ephesians 2:8
“God is love.” (1 John 4:16) Humans were designed to love and be loved! Jesus confirmed this: “Love God … and love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:34-40)
The virus of sin has caused a major malfunction in the human spirit so that we “fall short” of loving God, others and self. We’re dis-eased and the disease is deadly! “We were dead because of our sins….” (Ephesians 2:5) We exist but are unable to fulfill our destiny!
“How helpful it is to see sin, like addictive behavior, as a dis-ease, a very destructive dis-ease instead of merely something that was culpable, punishable, or “made God unhappy,” If sin indeed made God unhappy, it is because God desires nothing more than our happiness. and wills the healing of our dis-ease.” (Breathing Under Water, p xv, Richard Rohr)Though our prognosis is extremely bleak, we’re not hopeless! Father has a medicine to cure our dis-ease.
Blood is red in appearance; yet it contains white blood cells. When your body is under a viral assault, white blood cells attack the virus. However, in gaining victory they die. Healing is won via death!
Father’s medicine is called GRACE: God’s Restoration At Christ Expense! “We are saved (the meaning of this word is “made whole”) by grace….” The old hymn calls it “amazing.” Why? Whereas grace is extremely costly (“You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19), yet, it’s “a gift from God”!
How does one obtain the Medicine Of Life? Jesus said, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? I’m here inviting the sin-sick, not the spiritually-fit.” (Mark 2:17)
Have you been to the Doctor yet?
They sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths. The man and his wife took cover among the trees and hid from the God. (Genesis 3:7-8)
“Self-improvement represents a $10 billion per year industry in the U.S. alone. The New Statesman’s Barbara Gunnell forecasts a secure future for positive psychology, noting that ‘never has an age been so certain that it deserves not just freedom from distress, but positive well-being’” (Matthew Gilbert, in Self-Help Books and The Promise of Change).
Satan’s success produced dis-ease in humankind. A primary symptom of the ailment is delusion—“The sin underneath all our sins is to trust the lie of the serpent that we cannot trust the love and grace of Christ and must take matters into our own hands” (Martin Luther). This belief is lifted from the Monster’s playbook: “How you’ve fallen O morning star, son of the dawn! Remember how you thought: ‘I will make myself like the Most High’”? (Isaiah 14:14)
Genesis 3 reveals SELF-HELP to be the default setting of dis-eased humanity! After disconnecting from their Creator, Adam and Eve immediately attempt to heal their dis-ease. The therapy is covering and hiding: “Many of us strive to ‘fix our sin.’ We try to hide it and pretend like it isn’t there. But this only leads to more hiding, pretending and despair” (Bill Thrall, in TrueFaced). This is the delusion: the belief that hiding is an adequate remedy for dis-ease—that hiding can produce healing! Charles Spurgeon said, “The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation.”
“The ancient Greeks loved their theater. But the immensity of their amphitheaters made it impossible for many to see the actors’ faces. So, some director came up with the idea of having the actors deliver their lines from behind giant masks. The mask was always a caricature—an overdone, generalized, or idealized portrayal of the character. The actors played their roles behind a façade. The performers were called ‘hypocrites’ (literally ‘one who wears a mask’) rather than actors. We are all performers, and like the actors in ancient Greece, we don’t show our true faces. Because of sin, we’ve lost confidence that we can please the audience, so we feel compelled to hide and put on a mask. We have dozens of masks in our wardrobes!” (Thrall)
A simple illustration reveals the preposterous nature of our self-help therapy. In Hospice, morphine is often administered to terminally ill patients experiencing excruciating pain. Morphine acts directly on the central nervous system to decrease the feeling of pain. Notice: Morphine does nothing to address the source of the pain; rather, it merely hides the pain from the brain. So-called “pain killers” are a delusion!
“Jesus showed the disciples his hands and feet” (Luke 24:40). “We are all wounded people, whether physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. The main question is not, ‘How can we hide our wounds?’ so we don’t have to be embarrassed, but ‘How can we put our wounded-ness in the service of others?’ When our wounds cease to be a source of shame, and become a source of healing, we have become wounded healers” (Henri Nouwen).
Jesus healed many to make come true what the prophet Isaiah had said, “He Himself took our sickness and carried away our diseases.” (Matthew 8:16-17)
“Disease,” a word of English and French derivation, has two parts: “dis” and “ease.” “Dis” means “apart,” “away from,” or “a negative or reversing force.” “Ease” means “comfort, pleasure, well-being, tranquility.” William Councilman, an American pathologist, captured the point: “Disease may…be thought of as the negation of the normal.”
Remember—“LIVE” spelled backwards is “EVIL”! Sin is a reversing force that drives us away from NORMAL. Cancer provides a vivid illustration. “Cancer is a disease of cells, the basic building blocks of our bodies. Their lives and behavior are controlled by genetic instructions that are present in every cell of the body. Those instructions tell our cells when and how to grow, reproduce and die. If those instructions get garbled, a cell might behave in an uncontrolled way. When that happens, we call it cancer” (American Institute for Cancer Research).
Satan employed deception to “garble the instructions” of the Creator. “The serpent (satan) said to the woman, ‘Is it true that God has forbidden you to eat fruits from the trees of the garden?’ The woman answered, ‘No, serpent. God said we are free to eat the fruit from the trees in the garden. We are granted access to any variety and all amounts of fruit with one exception: the fruit from the tree found in the center of the garden. God instructed us not to eat or touch the fruit of that tree or we would die.’ The serpent responded, ‘Die? No, you’ll not die. God is playing games with you. The truth is that God knows the day you eat the fruit from that tree you will awaken something powerful in you and become like Him.’ The woman approached the tree, eyed its fruit, and coveted its mouth-watering, wisdom-granting beauty. She plucked a fruit from the tree and ate. She then offered the fruit to her husband and he ate as well. Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown. For the first time, they sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths” (Genesis 3:1-10).
Plato was right: “Sin is disease.” Adam and Eve became DIS-EASED because their disobedience reversed and negated the Creator’s instructions for normalcy! They immediately sensed the vacuum. Of this St. Augustine said: “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in Thee.” Similarly, Meister Eckhart described our state as “unceasing restlessness.”
Sadly, this disease is 100% genetically transmitted! “Everyone has sinned and is far away from God’s saving presence” (Romans 3:23). Without the right medicine we are a doomed species. Fortunately, Jesus came to deliver the Medicine of Life. “Jesus healed many to fulfill what the prophet Isaiah had said, ‘He Himself took our sickness and carried away our diseases.’”
Suddenly their eyes were opened to a reality previously unknown. They sensed their vulnerability and rushed to hide their naked bodies, stitching fig leaves into crude loincloths. (Genesis 3:7)
God pieced together the skins of animals and made clothes for Adam and Eve to wear. (Genesis 3:21)
Adam and Eve sensed things were not right. They were dis-eased; but they didn’t have a clue about its deadly nature. So, they resorted to bandages, “fig leaves”, to hide their brokenness. However, the Great Physician, knowing theirs’ was a “sickness unto death” (Soren Kierkegaard), fabricated “skins of animals”. Fig leaves and animal skins—sounds mythological! What’s going on? What’s the difference?
It’s somewhat obscure: God slaughtered animals to acquire the skins. Apparently, the best therapy for the couple’s dis-ease required a bloody sacrifice. If that seems barbaric, consider this: we’re inundated with violence and blood via movies, video games, and television. Seemingly we have a rather large appetite for such.
Blood is called the “liquid of life.” Oxygen fuels the operation of every organ in the body, especially the brain. Blood is the carrier of this indispensable chemical. Two of the four vital signs relate to blood transportation. So, modern medicine has validated the Creator’s assertion: “The life of the body is in the blood” (Leviticus 17:11).
After the Jews were delivered from Egyptian bondage God wrote a prescription for right-ness: “I have given you the blood of sacrifice for making atonement for your lives through the life that is in it” (Leviticus 17:11). “I have given you….” The medication is a Gift. “I have given you the blood …” Remember: blood means life. So, God’s medicine is the Gift of Life.
“I have given you the blood of sacrifice….” The Gift of Life is costly. No health insurance is able to cover the cost. “The blood of sacrifice” is “for making atonement for your lives.” A drug is given FOR a precise disorder. Ambien is prescribed for sleep. What’s “atonement”? The Hebrew word is extremely rich; but here’s the core meaning: to cover by payment. Here’s an example. You go to a concert with a friend, but realize that you’ve forgotten your wallet. Your friend pays for your ticket saying, “I’ve got you covered.” David expressed it this way: “Blessed is the one whose sins are covered” (Psalm 32:1). Isaiah beautifully describes the results: “Even though your sins are bright red, they will be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18).
So, for the second time in Genesis 3 the Good News is announced. Are you getting the message? The Creator’s heart of compassion is to HEAL not HURT! Through Jesus’ crucifixion Father’s prescription for life is available “free of charge.” At the Cross God has declared to humankind: “I have given you the blood of sacrifice for making atonement for your lives through the life that is in it.” Have you picked up your medication yet?