“Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” Matthew 9:2b
Father, thank you that you forgive our sins. Thank you that you are not a God who gives retribution for our sins. Rather you come with mercy, grace and outstretched arms ready and willing to not only forgive, but also heal and set us on the path of an abundant life full of purpose. Father, I pray for those with abortion wounded hearts to receive your forgiveness, healing, and then they would stand and walk in the fullness of life and purpose in Your Kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
In Matthew Chapter 9, we find a man who was paralyzed. When Jesus walked by him, He surprisingly said to the man, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
Jesus knew the thoughts and desires of this man’s heart. I have wondered before why Jesus didn’t first heal the man. He was paralyzed. Surely the man wanted to walk more than anything. And I’ve heard sermons in the past that have stated that Jesus forgave the sins of the man to make a point to the Pharisees present. Our God is a great multi-tasker, so proving a point to the Pharisees and religious leaders was probably an added benefit no doubt. However, I believe Jesus, in telling this man his sins were forgiven, gave this man the deepest desire of his heart.
Culturally, it was common in the Bible times for people to assume an illness or affliction was a consequence of a sin. This man possibly had been carrying the burden that he must have sinned in a horrific way to be cursed with this paralyzing disease. I can visualize this man lying on his bed day after day in agony, crying out, asking for forgiveness, tormented that he must not be worthy of forgiveness, that his sins were too great.
Then Jesus walks by and says the words this man has been waiting perhaps years to hear—You are forgiven. And then, Jesus said, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.”
It is significant that Jesus first said His sins are forgiven. It is possible this man needed to know His sins were forgiven in order to receive the healing Jesus wanted to give him. If Jesus would have just walked by and said, “Arise and walk,” but the man didn’t believe his sins were forgiven, feelings of unworthiness could have hindered healing.
We see this paradox play out regularly with those with abortion wounds. Forgiveness and healing are not the same. Many times men and women with abortion-wounded hearts will not feel worthy of healing because they do not truly believe they are forgiven. Negative situations in life or fear of retribution hang overhead like a cloud in a Peanut cartoon. Or a person with an abortion wound may self-sabotage blessings due to not truly believing they deserve life more abundantly.
But Jesus walks by and says, “Be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.” But that’s not all. Like a trusty infomercial, He says, “Wait, there’s more!” Not only are your sins forgiven you, but also You can now walk! He says, “Arise, take up your bed and go.”
He has a good plan to for you. He has a purpose for you to pursue.
“God doesn’t just free you from something, but also to something.” –Karen Ellison
This kind of love is beyond compare and comprehension. His mercy and grace are unmeasurable. He has a good plan for you. Receive forgiveness, then arise, stand and walk in the fullness of all God has for you.
Author: Sue Molitor, Deeper Still Team Member