…He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed… Luke 4:18
I have a friend who has fallen on rough times. His wife is suffering from a rare sickness which required the family to move to an arid climate. The condition has also only allowed the husband to work part time in order to help care for his family, and created many other lingering hardships, including the loss of their house.
Obviously his situation is difficult in many ways, financially, emotionally, professionally. It is robbing him of rest, and creating more questions than answers, but through it all he, like Job, is still able to profess a faith and trust in God. His witness and that of his family’s is truly amazing, as they testify to the love and faithfulness of God even during this dark and desperate time.
Unfortunately there are some in the community of faith who somehow believe this beautiful family’s suffering is a result of some hidden or unconfessed sin. This attitude of false condemnation not only further exasperates the already difficult situation for the family, but also serves to justify a lack of compassion by those who espouse this wrong assumption.
I also once heard someone else say they were afraid to ask for prayer for their sick daughter because they were afraid others in their church might think this sickness was a punishment for a secret sin. So what does scripture have to say about this?
In John 9:1-12 we read about a man who was blind from birth, the disciples asked Jesus: Who sinned to cause this blindness, the man or his parents? Jesus reply: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of Him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”
What is the work of God? To release the oppressed; to serve those in need; simply put, to love God and love people!
The word of God should motivate us not to attitudes of idle condemnation, but to acts of service and compassion.