Loving Lepers

 

JESUS SPEAKING

            And it happened when he was in a certain city, that behold, a man who was full of leprosy saw Jesus; and he fell on his face and implored him, saying, “Lord, if you are willing, You can make me clean.”  Then he put out his hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.”  Immediately the leprosy left him.  And He charged him to tell no one, “But go and show yourself to the priest, and make an offering for your cleansing, as a testimony to them, just as Moses commanded you” (Luke 5: 12-14.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

             Not only does leprosy rot away fingers, toes, ears, and noses, it is also highly contagious.  Those who contracted the disease were removed from their communities and homes, and were required to live in isolation.  When lepers encountered travelers, they were obligated to yell, “Unclean, Unclean,” as a warning to others.  In desperation, a leprous man approached Jesus, and was healed by a single touch.  Knowing the man desired to return to his family, Jesus commanded him to go and show himself to the priest.  [In Jewish culture, the priests diagnosed social diseases like leprosy.  When a person claimed to be healed, they were required to go before the priests for examination.  If they were truly clean they would be allowed to return home.]

             Some time ago while studying in the coffee shop I frequented, I met a man who was troubled.  I introduced myself, and we began talking about his situation.  He had been released from prison two months earlier and no one wanted to rent him a room because of his criminal record.  He had been living in his mother’s car.  He couldn’t find work because he didn’t have a stable residence.  I was moved to share the love of Christ with him, and I invited him to attend a bible study in my home.  I told him his past didn’t matter to me, or to God.  In the eyes of the world, he was as leprous as the man Jesus healed.  The Lord used me to reach out to him, and to touch his sick and hurting soul.  He was able to see that there was a God who loved him.

             Every day, all around us, there are people who are treated like lepers:  drug addicts; criminals; the mentally ill; gang members; and the homeless (to name a few.)  Although the world has turned its back on many, God has not; the outcasts are His children too.  Our task is to bring God’s message to those who have been rejected.  When you encounter the unloved, show them that God loves them.  Find an outcast and talk to them; eat with them; help them; and care for them.  Don’t be afraid, but rejoice; for God has chosen you to be a messenger of peace; to bring His love and mercy to those who need it the most.

             “Lord heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask and pray that You would give us compassionate hearts.  Use us to touch those who are untouchable.  May our fears be replaced by love.  Provide us with opportunities to care for those who have been rejected.  Give us more of Your Holy Spirit, that we might show sinners the love of a Savior.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, according to Your will, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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