In the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke the writers tell the story of two men bringing their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing. They not only had to carry their friend, but they also had to move through the crowd to get to Jesus. In Mark and Luke, the story goes on to say that they had to cut a hole in the roof of the house where Jesus was speaking and lower their friend down in order to get him near Jesus. What a great story of life, friendship, and relationship.
We are called to live in deep, meaningful relationship with others. Like the paralyzed man, his relationships were key to his healing. Without close relationships (his friends) he would have been unable to move through the crowd, get close to Jesus, and be healed. We may not have physical paralysis, but we may suffer from emotional wounds and problems that paralyze our ability to move towards Jesus for healing. It is during these times we need relationships and community to help carry us to Jesus. Is fear of rejection, self-rejection or shame from the past keeping you paralyzed and isolated from relationships?
Rejection is the lack of love in our lives. When rejection comes in, it always brings two friends. The fear of rejection and self-rejection come alongside rejection and reinforce our need to isolate from others. At times the lack of love we experience is real and can be directly connected to specific events. Other times, the rejection is not real but based on our own perception. Unfortunately, the end result is the same: paralysis, isolation, and lack of relationships.
The child of divorced parents believes that somehow the divorce was their fault. They are not worth being loved. The child that experiences the death of a loved one at an early age may feel that they should have been able to stop the death from occurring. In both instances, the child may grow up isolating itself from others, afraid that they will experience further rejection or loss.
The child of abuse believes that they deserve to be mistreated or abused. If they were only good enough, tried harder, made better grades, or did not forget to do their chores then they would not be abused. The child wonders, “What is wrong with me? Why can’t I be good like everyone else”? They grow up believing that they do not have worth and value and are defective. No one would want to be in relationship with them.
Sometimes, the rejection does not come into our lives through the actions of others, but our own mistakes and poor choices. An addiction, substance abuse, illegal or harmful activities not only leaves wounded victims but often victimizes ourselves. We may receive forgiveness from Jesus and others for our actions, but we must also forgive and release ourselves in order to embrace deep relationship with others.
In order to find freedom from rejection, we must take the risk and enter into relationship with others. The love, care, and unconditional acceptance of others brings healing and frees us from paralysis and isolation.
We can allow others to carry us to Jesus for healing. Being carried takes risks. What if you get wounded again? What if they reject you? What if you connect with others and do not get healed?
Unfortunately, we often do get wounded by the people that love and care for us the most. When we are in relationship with others our expectations and needs will not always be met, but it does not change the love and acceptance that they do give us. We have to learn to separate the mistakes of others from intentional rejection. If we do experience real or perceived rejection, we must quickly offer and receive forgiveness. Forgiveness breaks the paralysis of hurts and wounds and restores relationships. When we make mistakes or poor choices, we must acknowledge the actions and be intentional in separating bad actions from being bad. If God can forgive us, then we can surely choose to forgive ourselves.
When we are in relationships with others, we are often carrying them to Jesus at the same time that they are carrying us. Healthy relationships are constantly giving and receiving from each other. As we carry others, we often shift our mind and feelings off of our own paralysis and on to the needs of others. We may find that when we come to Jesus, we both receive healing.
We need to acknowledge that we are all still a work in progress and at different stages of healing. As we build relationships and become more vulnerable and open about our personal fears, feelings, and struggles, the acceptance and encouragement we receive restore health to our broken lives.
It is time to take the risks of establishing deep, meaningful relationships. Take the step of faith to carry the hurt and wounded to Jesus. Together we can all be freed from the paralysis that binds us in rejection and isolation.