I’ve had a Bible story stuck in my head the last couple of days because of my wife going through a Rob Bell reading spree. In one of Bell’s books, either Love Wins or Jesus Wants To Save Christians, he talks about the paralyzed man being carried by his friends to Jesus. There are so many people surrounding Jesus that the friends end up digging a hole in the roof, lowering the man down to Jesus: “When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralyzed man, ‘Son, your sins are forgiven.'”
Bell says that the man is forgiven not because of his faith, but because of the faith of his friends. I’m blown away. If this is true, that a man can be forgiven because of the faith of his friends, then it must matter who your friends are.
Looking at this story, the friends love the paralyzed man so much that they carry him, they dig a hole in a roof, they lower the man to Jesus. Do you love your friends enough to do that for them? Do your friends love you enough to do that for you?
What are you willing to do for your friends? Will the faith and love that you have for your friends be enough that they would be forgiven if they were the paralyzed man in the story?
Regardless of whether you are religious or not, the faith of our friends does matter. If they love us and are willing to do anything for us, then the storms of life can be weathered in ways that are incomprehensible. However, if the friendships that you claim are nothing but a collection of acquaintances and surface-level relationships, you might just find yourself all alone: dragging yourself alone to the healer, pulling yourself up step by step, digging the hole in the roof, only to fall into the middle of an empty room that has long cleared, hurting yourself even more than before.
I’m inspired to be there for my friends, new and old. When everything else falls apart, I want to be there for my friends, and it is my hope that they would be there in return for me.
Now, how about a round of Kumbaya and some smores?