When a wrong has occurred in the eyes of the public, the apology and corrective action for that wrong must be equally public. I saw this in an old Life Group I was part of. A man had cheated on his wife and this affair was with another woman in the church. (For you non-Christians reading this… we believers are not protected from sin or from the earthly consequences of sin, only from the eternal consequences… but that’s another blog).
This man was a leader at the church and knowing he had done wrong, sought the best course of action to correct that wrong. This involved not only an apology and repentance towards his wife, but also an apology to the other church leaders, to us in the small group and to the others who knew about the affair (this was not church wide but included 30 or more people). His apology was sincere and heart felt and he promised to make any changes necessary to make amends and save his marriage. This eventually involved them moving out of town to new jobs and environments along with counseling. But the end of the story is that now well over a decade later, they are still happily married and stronger than ever.
This public apology was vital to this recovery because his actions had negatively impacted the way others viewed him and his marriage. This public correction not only saved his marriage but restored other’s perception of him.
Jesus did this exact same thing to a woman who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. In Biblical times, this kind of unstoppable bleeding (which had been attempted to be treated by multiple doctors) would have scarred this woman as unclean. A title and reputation of unclean for over a decade would have brought shame and loneliness to her. To simply heal her of her bleeding would not have impacted her reputation for some time, so Jesus found another way to heal her.
As He was walking with all the disciples and through very large crowds that were literally pressing all around Him. Then very publicly “Jesus said, “Who was it that touched me?” When all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the crowds surround you and are pressing in on you!” But Jesus said, “Someone touched me, for I perceive that power has gone out from me.” (Luke 8:45-46) This was not subtle and got all of the attention of the large surrounding crowd. Now the actually healing had occurred that instant, but that was only the physical healing. The emotion healing would come in the following sentences.
“And when the woman saw that she was not hidden, she came trembling, and falling down before him declared in the presence of all the people why she had touched him, and how she had been immediately healed. And he said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace.” (Luke 8:47-48)
Jesus wanted everyone to see two things. First was that she was physically healed. Now He did not want people to confuse the fact that her touching his garment is actually what healed her so He stated that her faith is what healed her. Second, He wanted everyone to know that He was calling her “Daughter”.
Her ‘injury’ was both physical AND emotional and Jesus wanted to clearly demonstrate a healing of both. He wants this for you as well. When you receive the Holy Spirit, those around you will notice a change. Some will like it, some will be puzzled and others will even tease you for the change (although many of them secretly admire it). But the change is inevitable and public. Receiving the Spirit may heal you spiritually, but it’s His light shining through that goes on to make the changes in others.
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