The Healing Power of Kindness
"On hearing this, Jesus said, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: "I desire mercy, not sacrifice." For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.’" Matthew 9:12-13 (NIV)
For several years I struggled with daily headaches. Sometimes mild. Sometimes debilitating.
The headaches affected every area of my life. I hesitated to make long-range plans with friends for fear of having to cancel. I hesitated to make day-of plans because by 6 p.m. I could be holed up in a dark room with only enough strength to lie down and whisper a prayer for relief.
I couldn’t even serve in church the way my heart desired. And although I loved my job, it was a chore to get out of bed and get the day started.
I’d grown accustomed to the pain, so I lived with it until one day my boss sweetly bossed me into a doctor’s appointment. She even offered to go with me.
It turned out the headaches were a small symptom to a big problem that was going on internally. My doctor immediately changed my diet and started me on several natural supplements. Some weeks I did great, but most weeks I struggled. Big time.
One day I didn’t take my supplements because I left them at home. Another day I would eat a slice of cheesecake because … well, it’s cheesecake. Then I would replay my shortcomings in my mind and be terrified for my next doctor’s visit.
Each week I just knew it was the week my doctor would say: "Kenisha, I’m sorry, but I can’t continue to work with you. Come back and see me when you’re ready to get better."
One day, on the verge of tears, I walked into my doctor’s office and fessed up. I was shocked when he said: "Kenisha, you are making a lot of changes all at once. It’s okay if you messed up. You’ll get there, but cut yourself some slack. We will help you."
Later, as I reflected on his words, I wondered, Why on earth didn’t he bash me, or at least give me a stern lecture about the molecular structure of sugar and its effect on the human body? He’s the picture of health and he’s so knowledgeable. He really could’ve let me have it.
That’s when the words of our key verse came to mind: " … It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick" (Matthew 9:12b).
Jesus said these words to the religious leaders of His day who hated that He and His disciples spent time with sinners and tax collectors — the latter of which had a terrible reputation for being dishonest. Even one of Jesus’ disciples, Matthew, had been a tax collector before he left that life to follow Jesus.
Later that evening, I read Matthew 9, verses 12 and 13 together. I sat and cried. Instead of sacrificing me on the altar of his knowledge and experience, my doctor chose to reflect Jesus, the Great Physician, with his kindness toward me. It was that kindness that left me encouraged and feeling better about my journey to health.
The truth of this verse is something Matthew knew then, and we can know today: Before Christ, we were spiritually ill and dying. But when Jesus came into our lives He healed our sin-sick souls. His kindness melted our hardened hearts. He showed us The Way, because if we could do it ourselves, we wouldn’t need the One who is called the Great Physician.
Father God, thank You that You have never turned me away, but instead You sent Your son Jesus to show me The Way to You. Help me be patient with myself as You continue Your work in me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Isaiah 53:5, "But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed." (ESV)
Romans 2:4, "Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?" (NIV)
Ever wonder about your value to God, or if God could really use you for a divine purpose? Get your copy of Your Life Still Counts: How God Uses Your Past to Create a Beautiful Future by Tracie Miles and embark on a journey of healing, life transformation and the discovery of purpose.
If today’s devotion inspired you, you might appreciate Encouragement for Today: Devotions for Everyday Life, a book containing 100 of our favorite devotions.
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Take several moments to remember what your life was like before Jesus. Write a prayer of gratitude to Him for healing you, and cleansing you from your sin.
If you don’t already know Jesus, get to know Him today. It will be the best decision you ever make in your life.
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