By: Peter Larocque – Oct. 2015
I have been pondering and considering the many issues that have made headlines that as a Christian I find myself at times at odds with. My purpose here in this column is not to pass judgment on anyone but to offer as a Christian a different approach to handling issues that seemingly may conflict with scripture.
To do this I would like to bring your attention to a story in the Bible found in the book of 2 Kings 5: 1-19. It is the account of Naaman, Captain of the Host of the King of Syria, a great man with his master. (Naaman was the 2nd in command to the most powerful military in the world at the time). Honourable, because by him the Lord gave deliverance unto Syria and he was a great man in Valour. Naaman had all this going for him but after all these wonderful credentials and accolades, the scripture goes on to say at the end of verse one, “but he was a leper.” This meant that Naaman knew that eventually his leprosy would kill him! He had a disease that came with a sentence of death!
But Naaman’s wife just so happened to have an Israeli servant who waited on her and said to her mistress, “would God my lord” (referring to Naaman), “were with the prophet that is in Samaria, for he would recover him of his leprosy.”
This information eventually got to Naaman and the news was so big that the King of Syria got involved and told Naaman to go to the King of Israel!
Hold on a minute! Is that what the little servant girl of Naaman’s wife said to do? No it wasn’t, there was a tremendous difference between the King of Israel and the Prophet Elisha who was a Samaria! See what happens when Politicians gets involved? Naaman shows up at the King of Israel’s Palace with a letter from the King of Syria and a big argument between Kings begins all because of politics. But, to save time and space, I’ll just jump ahead to when Naaman eventually ends up at Elisha’s front gate.
Once Elisha hears that Naaman is outside his door he sends a messenger to Naaman who tells Naaman, “to go and wash in the Jordon seven times and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” This makes Naaman very mad! First Naaman because of who he was thought that Elisha should have at least come to meet him and secondly Elisha should have told him to do something greater than to wash in the Jordon because the waters of Jordon were filthy! So as the scripture says, “Naaman went away in a rage”. But as he went away, he went away a mad leper!
After sometime passes, Naaman’s servant says to him, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldest thou not have done it? How much rather then, when he saith to thee, wash and be clean?” Then Naaman went down to the Jordon and dipped himself seven times according to the saying of the man of God and his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child and he was clean! Then he returned to the man of God and stood before him and said, “Behold now I know that there is no God in all the earth but in Israel: now therefore I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.” Naaman wanted to show his appreciation for what took place and give a gift to the man of God, Elisha. But Elisha would not accept a gift.
After many attempts of offering a gift to Elisha and he refusing them all, Naaman says this to Elisha, “In this thing the Lord pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: the Lord pardon thy servant in this thing.” And he (Elisha) said unto him, “Go in peace.” So he (Naaman) departed from him a little way.
What Naaman was asking the man of God was that when he would go into the house of his master’s god, Rimmon, and when his master would lean on Naaman to bow down to Rimmon, which would make Naaman bow down as well, that the Lord God who just healed him of his leprosy would pardon him, that God would not hold this against him. Elisha then tells Naaman, Go in Peace!
Go knowing that God Almighty, the one who just healed you and made you clean of leprosy, would not hold this act against you! This gave Naaman the freedom to go home peacefully!
This same God who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ makes available this same (pardon) of grace and mercy today! We must remember that Jesus Christ himself said in John 15:12-13, “This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. (13) Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Ephesians tells us in Chapter 5: 1-2, “be ye followers of God, as dear children; (2) And walk in love, as Christ also hath love us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling savour.”
As Christians we can never do harm to one another by loving one another. But the god of this world would much rather that we argue and fight with one another and take our eyes off of Jesus and place it on issues that divide us rather than unite us in love.
After Jesus Christ said on the cross, “It is Finished” God unleashed upon all of us His Grace and His Mercy!
Let’s walk in Love toward one another and not take our eyes off of Jesus!