What is it about our human psyche that causes us to want to play the “Blame Game?” On the fringes of Christianity there is something called the Faith-Healing Movement. Some who are followers of this movement believe it is the lack of faith in the person who comes for healing prayer which hinders him/her to be healed They believe that the person who is not healed just does not have enough faith. They also believe that the person who is healed must maintain this special kind of faith. When someone is healed and has a relapse, a well known faith-healers claims, “You must keep your faith for your healing or the devil will come and steal it” (www.letusreason.org./Wf16.htm). The Faith-Healing Movement also believes that someone who has an illness must have a hidden sin that they must confess, in order to be healed. (Again, I am talking about a fringe group and I am not talking about everyone who believes the Gift of Healing is alive and well in the 21st Century Christian Church.) On the other side, the people who want to be healed may blame the “faith healer” for not having enough faith to heal them because they know that they have enough faith to be healed. Do you see the problem in this insidious, never-ending cycle of playing the “Blame Game”? Too much authority is given to people. Where is God in all this? Doesn’t Jesus have the final say? How is the Holy Spirit working in the believer who needs to be healed and those praying for their healing?
This is where it gets personal. I have lived with a physical disability all my life. Whenever I go out in public, I am reminded that my speech is flawed, my fine motor skills are herky-jerky (So much so, that when I was given the honor of being a deacon at my church, I promised I would not be involved in Communion preparation or the distribution of the bread and juice) and my balance is poor and I need to use a wheelchair. I don’t even have to go out to be reminded that I have cerebral palsy. All I have to do is look in the mirror and see my facial grimaces and realize I have the perfect face for radio, if only it wasn’t for my slurred speech. And now, on top of all my physical limitations, some believe my faith isn’t good enough. “C’MON MAN!”(ESPN reference). If that were true, all of us would be born with a disability and have to live our lives dealing with all its limitations. Personally, I believe this is a bunch of BULL FEATHERS from the evil one! I believe God can heal me at anytime. In fact, God has healed me in so many ways. People just have to have the faith to see it. Christians are called to “live by faith, not by sight” (II Corinthians 5:7). God has not chosen to heal me from my cerebral palsy, YET. I may even have to wait until I go to heaven to be healed of all my mounting ailments. My choice is to spend my time going to “faith-healing” services and constantly be focused on my disability or live my life serving the Lord and others with the abilities God has given me. Which would you choose, if you were in my wheelchair?
How awful it would be for someone who professes to be a Christian, to enter a hospital room and promise healing to the parents whose baby was just born with a disability. How dreadful it would be for a follower of Christ to promise healing to someone just diagnosed with cancer. All they would have to do is add going to a “healing room” to their doctor’s appointments and cancer treatment schedule. I am NOT saying we should not pray for healing. James 5:14 instructs us to do so. BUT, it is wrong to promise healing. These kinds of things should never happen in the body of Christ. It is to the Christian Church’s shame that they do happen. Jude exhorts us, “Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints [believers in Christ]” (Jude 3). People who are suffering do not need empty promises. People who are suffering need to be shown the compassion of Christ by Christians who will walk beside them in their journey of suffering and help them in tangible ways – listening, driving, baby-sitting, providing meals, and so on. James also writes, “Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do” (2:18b).
After 50+ years on this side of heaven, Jesus has taught me that people who play the “Blame Game” are like Job’s wife who wanted him to blame God. Job answers: “…You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” (Job 2:10b). On the other side of Psalms, after the writer of Ecclesiastes sees both the wicked and righteous having the same struggles, he concludes, “…then I saw all that God has done. No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun. Despite all his efforts to search it out, man cannot discover its meaning. Even if a wise man claims he knows, he cannot comprehend it.” Jesus also teaches, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).
Just as it is wrong to blame the one who seeks prayer for healing and is not healed, it is just as wrong to blame the “Faith-Healer” when someone isn’t healed. As we will see in the Gospels, though it doesn’t hurt to have faith in Jesus to be healed, the ultimate decision for healing to take place is for Jesus to make.
Before we go to the Gospels, let’s review the Spiritual Gifts of Faith, Healing and Miracles (from SpiritualGiftTest.com):
FAITH: Being able to trust God and encourage others to trust God, no matter the circumstances.
HEALING: The miraculous ability to use God’s healing power to restore a person who is sick, injured or suffering.
MIRACLES: Being able to perform signs and wonders that give authenticity to God’s Word and the Gospel Message.
(It is important to note that Faith, Healing, and Miracles, listed in I Corinthians 12:8-11, are three separate Gifts.)
Until next time, may the Lord Jesus be your Light.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life’” (John 8:12).