Who's to Blame

LeRoy Koopman

READ : John 9:1-5

A devout Christian had been suffering from a chronic disease that gave her constant pain and drained her energy. She was wiped out. Desperate, she had begun attending prayer and healing meetings conducted by a local Christian fellowship. When their ministrations failed to bring any improvement, the leaders of the group informed her that the problem was obviously with her. She (1) was harboring some unconfessed sin, (2) did not have faith, or (3) both. As I stated above, she was a committed and sincere Christian. This verdict was deeply disturbing.

It was a cruel theology, adding the distress of guilt to the pain of the disease. It echoed the question of Jesus’ disciples, “Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (v. 2). This harsh condemnation compares to the “comfort” of the three friends of Job, who begged him to repent of the secret sins they believed had triggered his devastating problems.

“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus (v. 3). Jesus didn’t mean that these folks were as pure as the driven snow. But, he did mean that it is not helpful or fair to pile psychological suffering upon physical suffering. Jesus wasn’t attempting to explain all the mysteries of pain and disease. He was demonstrating that even in the worst of situations God reveals his healing power and glory.


Help us, Lord, to be compassionate and understanding as we deal with people who are suffering. Amen.