Forgiveness: Need Versus Want

Tammy De Ruyter

READ : Mark 2:1-12

My son, your sins are forgiven. (v. 5)

The paralytic man missed it, and so did his friends. In this familiar story, the man’s
friends have gone to extraordinary measures to ensure that he can get close to the
miracle-working Messiah. They’ve carried him a thousand times before, and they hope this
will be the last. Healing his crippled body is clearly the goal. No one has worried about
the state of his heart. So, down he goes into the presence of Jesus.

“Tell me what you desire.” Jesus might have said.

“Please, Sir! Can’t you see? I’m paralyzed! I want to walk. I want to support a family,
contribute to society, play with my friends, enjoy life!” But Jesus knows that what we
want isn’t necessarily what we need. He knows us better than we know ourselves. We want
all sorts of things. Maybe, like the paralytic, what we most want is to be normal, like
everyone else. But that’s not what we most need.

Jesus looks deeply into the crippled man’s soul. He knows that he needs to experience
life-transforming forgiveness, that a healthy body can’t mend years of bitterness,
disappointment, broken relationships, and pain. Multitudes of miserable people walk around
on perfectly good legs. Jesus longs for the man to have wholeness, shalom, peace. So he
speaks forgiveness. Likewise, he gives us what we need, even if it’s not what we want.


Lord, Jesus, we surrender to you our wants and our needs. Look into our hearts and speak forgiveness.