Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.
We were sitting in Bible study going around the circle and updating the group on answers to prior prayer requests. One young man, who was still in high school, was asked about a classmate of his who had been giving him problems. The classmate’s issue with this young man was not his demeanor or his appearance or his friends. The classmate simply did not like him just because he was a Christian. The young man updated us by saying that everything was fine, which of course prompted us to ask how things had been resolved. The young man said, “He wouldn’t leave me alone, so I invited him to church, and now he comes to church with me.”
I am sure that we all can list the various ways the world might direct someone to respond to a bully. Some will say that the best response is to ignore the person until he or she goes away. Others will say it is best to act with courage and hold your ground, showing the adversary that you are not afraid. Regardless of what social convention dictates, we know when God directs someone because his style is much different. He directed this young man to engage his enemy and show him love. The invitation to come to church was not about what the young man needed but about what his bully needed. His focus was on bettering and blessing his enemy instead of just trying to find a way out of his circumstance.
Jesus touching the leper was a great social faux pas. I can imagine the audible gasps in the crowd at that moment. The leper himself might have been taken aback by this gesture before rejoicing in his healing. The thing about God is that He has no concern for appearances or social conventions. There are many times that my behavior has been obviously directed by God because it is so far from what I would think to do. He makes me still when my flesh tells me to speak up or act. He gives me boldness when fear tries to stifle me. God moves not how we think He should but how He knows is right. Father, remove our self-consciousness so that we would be open to move as You would have us move, no matter how it looks.