The Choices of Friendship
“I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
- Mark 2:11-12
When Jesus healed the paralyzed man in response to the faith of the man’s radical friends, a bunch of different people had a bunch of different decision to make.
The man who had been paralyzed had the first decision to make after the healing. He had spent time on his mat, relied on his mat, and was being commanded to get up off of his mat. Would he get up?
Some of us have had friends pour into our lives and have seen God give us opportunities to forgive, to recover, and to heal. But the way we were wronged, the wound we endured, the sickness that’s held us in place … all of that has given us our sense of who we are in the world. Who will we be if we get up off of the mat?
Getting up off of the mat isn’t as easy as it looks. The man would have to find a new means of support. He would need to deal with the whispers and odd looks that would swirl around him in the months ahead. He would have to reconnect with the God he was now being invited to worship.
His friends would be with him. If they would carry him to the roof and engage in some benevolent property destruction, they wouldn’t abandon him in his newfound health.
And as the man gets up and walks out of the room he couldn’t have walked into, the crowd also has a decision to make. How would they respond to the miracle of friendship. Jesus responded by healing the paralyzed man. The paralytic responded by getting up and walking. The crowd responded with amazement and worship.
People are amazed when they see spiritual friendship on display. And it’s natural, in those moments, for these people to turn and give praise to God, for their hearts to soften toward Jesus, and for their voices to raise in worship.
What choices do you have to make when you see radical friendship on display? Do you need to get up off of a metaphorical mat? Do you need to give God some praise? What is God inviting you into today?