A few days later, Jesus entered Capernaum again. The people heard that he had come home. So many people gathered that there was no room left. There was not even room outside the door. And Jesus preached the word to them. Four of those who came were carrying a man who could not walk. But they could not get him close to Jesus because of the crowd. So they made a hole by digging through the roof above Jesus. Then they lowered the man through it on a mat. Jesus saw their faith. So he said to the man, “Son, your sins are forgiven.”
Some teachers of the law were sitting there. They were thinking, “Why is this fellow talking like that? He’s saying a very evil thing! Only God can forgive sins!”
Right away Jesus knew what they were thinking. So he said to them, “Why are you thinking these things? Is it easier to say to this man, ‘Your sins are forgiven’? Or to say, ‘Get up, take your mat and walk’? But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So Jesus spoke to the man who could not walk. “I tell you,” he said, “get up. Take your mat and go home.” The man got up and took his mat. Then he walked away while everyone watched. All the people were amazed. They praised God and said, “We have never seen anything like this!” Mark 2:1-12
This past Sunday, BCL launched its new season (it was also my first wedding anniversary! We celebrated at Kobe’s!) BCL is my church’s family production. My job is to write scripts for it. Every month we focus on one “Big Idea”. Historically, these Big Ideas have been “traits that Jesus displayed in his life that we want to display in our life.” Things like Respect, Responsibility, Kindness, and Patience. Things that every parent wants their kid to learn, regardless of what they believe about Jesus. There’s nothing wrong with these things in and of themselves. The problem is when kids think they are a checklist. That they are a measuring stick for God’s love. That they must try harder. And I don’t need to tell you that this is a problem for adults, too…
Over the past year, we [Summit’s Family Ministry] have been focusing on helping develop Sticky Faith in children. A faith that lasts. A faith centered on Jesus, not a list of Do’s and Don’ts. Our Big Idea for September is When I Trust Jesus, It Changes Me. And we kicked off the year with this story – the man on the mat. A man so desperate to reach Jesus that his friends cut a hole in a roof and lower him down. This man wanted external change. He wanted to walk. And Jesus made that happened, but first He took care of an internal problem… He forgave the man of his sins. Something only God can do.
I can get so easily caught up in try harder thinking. I think a lot of Christians can. Maybe that’s why many come across as judgmental so often. If we are doing things by our own efforts, then it’s easy to point the finger at others who are not “trying as hard”. Maybe our external behavior changes for awhile, but we are miserable inside. But this guy didn’t try to do anything. He was brought to Jesus and Jesus did the rest. If we admit we are a mess and our vulnerable with ourselves, others, and God, that’s when we can experience change and joy.
As we continue to explore the Big Idea of trusting Jesus this month in BCL, I hope I can let it sink in. There’s no scorecard. There’s nothing I can do to make God love me any more.