1 Corinthians 10:1-13
Peace be with you!
Individuals have prayed over me for healing of my disability, Cerebral Palsy. Some of these people have told me that if I had more faith God would heal me. I would be free of my weakness, with no need for my electric wheelchair. For most of my childhood, I felt “cursed” by Cerebral Palsy. I had very few friends and was only invited to a handful of birthday parties of my classmates. I would have what my mom calls pity parties because I felt so alone.
It was not until college (with the help of few high school friends) that I started to really own my Cerebral Palsy and to experience the blessings it brings into my life. I began to break out of my shell and have a more positive attitude on life. The older I get, the less I care that I have Cerebral Palsy because I do not let my disability stop me. Cerebral Palsy is a part of me; it is not the whole me and does not own me. Rather, I own Cerebral Palsy because I use its strengths to enjoy the fullness of life. Without Cerebral Palsy, I would have never met my CP sisters and probably never would have gone to seminary.
In our Gospel reading for today, people are crowding around Jesus asking him if bad things only happen to wicked people (Luke 13:2, 4). The crowd has some logic behind their way of thinking. After all, in the Old Testament, God wiped out the whole world with the Flood, making exceptions only for Noah, his family, and two of each animal. God did this because the world had become corrupt. There is some common sense behind killing off those who are evil.
However, Jesus calmly says, “No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all perish as they did” (Luke 13:3, 5 NRSV). Crap! We are not as saintly as we hope. Although sickness and suffering do not always directly link to individual sin, their presence in the world reminds us all of our fallen nature. Jesus reminds us here that none of “deserve” positive outcomes in our lives. Rather, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. Jesus is not sugar-coating anything. Rather, Jesus is heading to Jerusalem to face his death on the cross in order to redeem fallen people like us. He calls us to respond to his offer of freedom and receive the gift of life in his name.
Unless we repent, we will share a similar fate to the Galileans whom Pilate had killed and to the eighteen people killed when the tower of Siloam fell. But our death will not be the temporal kind; it will be eternal death. We have the choice to repent in order to receive forgiveness, grace, and eternal life. Repenting means we confess our sins to the Triune God. It also means that, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we turn away from our sins. We have to admit we are sinners and that we need forgiveness, grace, and eternal life and that we want to be in a relationship with the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. We experience release when we repent because we let go of the things that keep us from the Triune God and eternal life in the Kingdom of God.
Taking ownership of your life gives you freedom from what holds you back. Repentance gives you freedom from your sins and from the “curse” of the Law. Instead, by God’s good grace, you are given the blessings of forgiveness, grace, and eternal life. This new life in Christ ultimately allows you to be in a relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
The fact I have Cerebral Palsy does not mean I am evil or cursed by God. I am a child of God, because I repent of my sins in order to receive forgiveness, grace, and eternal life. Cerebral Palsy has given me a unique voice to share the good news of the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. I am able to reach people because of the experiences Cerebral Palsy has allowed me to have. The Triune God has blessed me through my repentance and has freed me of the judgments of the world. I now know that I am not “cursed”; I am blessed!
Thanks be to God!
Dear Heavenly Father, Thank you for forgiving us of our sins when repent through confession. Remind us that the world and its judgments only hold us back when we let them. Guide us to repent of our sins in order to receive forgiveness, grace, and eternal life. Thank you for freeing us of our sins when we repent. Amen.
Thanks to the Triune God – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.
Please answer the following reflective questions in the comments below. Please agree to disagree and be respectful to each other. (If you have not already done so, please also take a moment, to sign the comment covenant.) You can answer as many questions as you would like.
1. When and where do you confess your sins?
2. What do you feel when you repent your sins?