When people meet my little dog Itsy they tend to have one of two responses. Response 1: Oh how adorable, she is so tiny! Response 2: Oh my goodness, what is that thing and what is wrong with her? I have to admit little Itsy has a weird look to her, especially when you look at her eyes. Many people feel uncomfortable with such things.
In biblical times people suffered from an illness known as leprosy. It is not something we see in the developed world today. It can still be seen in some third world countries although rare. We know today that it is caused by a bacteria known as Mycobacterium leprae and it is a treatable/curable illness. But in the time that Jesus walked this earth leprosy was common and the cause unknown. People were afraid of those with leprosy, they saw them as unclean and sinful. People isolated themselves from those with leprosy for fear of catching the disease. Plus there was no medical treatment in that day and age. Those with leprosy were cast out from society, mistreated, seen as dirty and unclean.
These poor people. Although we do not see leprosy in the developed modern world I would argue that Christians today still treat certain groups of people as they did those with leprosy. Instead of acting as Jesus did which was to accept, love, heal and cleans those afflicted many Christians reject and isolate those most in need of the love and acceptance of Jesus.
Is there someone whom you encounter that your natural response is to go, oh my goodness, what is that thing and what is wrong with them? That you reject and isolate yourself out of fear. Maybe it is the homeless, those with a disability or mental illness. Who do you see as someone with “leprosy?”
“A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” Mark 1:40-42 NIV
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