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Browsing Tag: religion

Lepers and Freedom from Legalism

Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean…. Reflections on Luke 5:12-15 So, this just happened: Because I’m thorough in my research, I went to the source of all medical knowledge WebMD (lol) and looked up leprosy. Leprosy is an infectious disease that causes severe, disfiguring skin sores and nerve damage in the arms, legs, and skin areas around the body. The disease has been around since ancient times, often surrounded by terrifying, negative stigmas and tales of leprosy patients being shunned as outcasts. As I’m reading this information about leprosy, an ad for cold sore medicine came on. It featured some perfect model lady with a tiny little cold sore. The ad basically acted like she was now a hideous freak who should hide away in her room until their quick acting cold sore medicine kicked in.   So…I’m thinking, in our modern world, we may have lost sight of how bad things were for ancient people with leprosy. Imagine with me for a moment what life would have been like for an ancient person with leprosy:   You would have been an outcast in your society. You had to live in a leper colony. There were no jobs for lepers, just scrounging for food and begging. You lost contact with your family If you ventured out of the leper colony, you had to yell out “unclean” every time you saw another person so that no one would get too close to you. People wouldn’t even want to breathe the same air as you. In addition to the horrible, incurable disease and the isolation from society, some ancient Jewish religious leaders taught that: You deserved the disease because of sin in your life. There was no cure and no way for you to be cleansed from your unclean-ness. All that a priest could do was declare that you were indeed clean if you were somehow cured or had been misdiagnosed. (Oops sorry! It was just an allergic reaction. Turns out you aren’t damned after all.) In other words, if you have leprosy we can’t do anything for you. You have been judged unclean, it’s your fault and there’s nothing you can do to become clean.  We certainly can’t help you. Also, stay away from us! I find it incredibly interesting to apply that cultural context…