Today’s Bible readings can be found at this link: Genesis 4:1-16 and Matthew 9:1-17.

Matthew 9:2 – Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”

The more I read the beautiful story of Jesus healing the paralyzed man (Matthew 9:1-8), the more I believe that real healing begins with forgiveness. As a pastor for over thirty years, I have been with and cared for many people in times of illness and recovery. Usually, when folks experience a serious sickness, injury, or setback, they become more reflective about their situation and sometimes express regrets from the past or long-term issues that still burden their hearts.

During those sacred moments of confession and unburdening, the hope of forgiveness, mercy, and grace which Jesus freely gives, becomes a major step in the healing process. It may not seem amazing to others, but as a long-term pastor, I feel privileged to see the beginning of a miracle in individual lives. Christ’s forgiveness and wonderful love combine into a healthy restorative which moves the person forward on the journey to recovery.

Perhaps you are in need of forgiveness because of something you said or did which you regret. Maybe you also need to forgive someone of something which still burdens or affects you. Whatever it is or whoever caused it, allow yourself to be embraced by Christ and permit His compassion to begin the healing process within and around you.

Point to ponder

How can Christ’s forgiveness heal and restore me?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, Your gracious words of forgiveness can help us to heal from the past. Grant us this blessing today and enable us to share that forgiveness with others, so that Your healing may be extended beyond our own lives. In Your Holy Name, we humbly pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s Celtic Cross drawings – this one has been created for Ash Wednesday. If you would like to view a larger version, please click here.