By Eddie Jones
"Naaman's servants went to him and said, 'My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, 'Wash and be cleansed.' So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy." 2 Kings 5:13-14
My Toyota Celica suffered from the shakes. Each time I hit the brakes the front end trembled and pulled to the right. I drove to our normal repair shop, walked in and asked for John.
“John doesn’t work here anymore,” the new manager replied. “How can I help you?”
I explained the problem. He put it on the rack and told me to wait. A few minutes later he told me the car needed over $3,000 in repairs. I balked. We’d already replaced the hubs, joints and a number of the other items listed on the repair order.
“Not on this vehicle you haven’t.”
I didn’t feel like arguing. Plus, I wasn’t going to spend that kind of money on a ten-year-old car, anyway. I thanked him for his time and went to my car. As I was backing out of my space the manager trotted out with a printout showing our repair history.
“Right here,” he said pointing. “This is all the work we’ve done on this car. And this sheet,” he waved another printout in front of my face, “are the repairs to your van. It shows where we fixed your van’s front end last summer.”
I told him thanks for pointing out my error. Then I shifted into first and drove away. Some months later I sold the car, but I’ve yet to return to that shop.
Often, the simple steps are the hardest to take. Stepping aside to let another take your place. Walking away from a fight. Saying, "I'm sorry."
I'm allergic to apologies. Can't hardly give one without shaking all over. Makes my cheeks go flush, my voice quiver. I'd rather have a tooth filled than say, "You’re right. My mistake."
Drives me crazy to back off and let someone else have their way. Takes both hands clamped over my mouth to keep me from getting in the first and last words, plus the ones in between.
Naaman suffered from leprosy of the skin but, as is often the case in Scripture, his condition also pointed to a spiritual affliction. Pride.
With a sense of pride we claim our rights, prove to others we are right, and hop onto our soapbox to waggle our finger in the face of others. “You can’t… You shouldn’t… You won't enter heaven if you…” Simple steps that lead others—not to Christ—but lead us away from God.
Leprosy begins when the bacteria, Mycobacterium leprae, multiplies. Muscles become weak, especially in the hands, feet and eyes. As the skin hardens, the victim loses feeling in his fingers and toes. He becomes blind. Severe pain grips his body. There is no cure.
Like the bacteria, pride spreads throughout our lives, weakening our resolve to put the concerns of others before us. We become numb to their pain, blind to the poor around us and hardened to souls perishing for lack of love. The only way to kill pride is die to self.
Naaman sought to spend his way to a healing, but God's man refused his money. Naaman thought his position would curry favor, but God's man turned him away. Naaman thought some grand and great effort would save him, but God's man offered a simple solution. "Go wash in the river Jordan and you will be cleansed."
Simple steps with large results. Go. Repent. Forgive. Ask to be forgiven.
Through Christ we receive the promise of new life, new skin. Wholeness and cleansing. This is not our “right” but God’s grace.
“Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.: Ephesians 2:9 NLV.
None is clean, no not one. No one is right except Christ. Today if you feel your rights have been violated, consider Christ. He stepped off his throne and down to your level for love. Go, and do likewise.
Copyright © 2012, Eddie Jones, used by permission.
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Eddie's young adult novel, The Curse of Captain LaFoote, won the 2012 Moonbeam Award in the Pre-Teen Fiction/Fantasy category and 2011 Selah Award in Young Adult fiction. Dead Man's Hand, Eddie's first middle grade novel in the Caden Chronicles mystery series, is now available from Zonderkidz. Eddie sails, surfs and writes in North Carolina.
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