Walking down the street, Jesus saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked, "Rabbi, who sinned: this man or his parents, causing him to be born blind?"
Jesus said, "You're asking the wrong question. You're looking for someone to blame. There is no such cause-effect here. Look instead for what God can do. We need to be energetically at work for the One who sent me here, working while the sun shines. When night falls, the workday is over. For as long as I am in the world, there is plenty of light. I am the world's Light."
He said this and then spit in the dust, made a clay paste with the saliva, rubbed the paste on the blind man's eyes, and said, "Go, wash at the Pool of Siloam" (Siloam means "Sent"). The man went and washed—and saw.
Soon the town was buzzing. His relatives and those who year after year had seen him as a blind man begging were saying, "Why, isn't this the man we knew, who sat here and begged?"
Others said, "It's him all right!"
But others objected, "It's not the same man at all. It just looks like him."
He said, "It's me, the very one."
They said, "How did your eyes get opened?"
"A man named Jesus made a paste and rubbed it on my eyes and told me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' I did what he said. When I washed, I saw."
"So where is he?"
"I don't know."
Jesus heard that they had thrown him out (of the Synagogue), and went and found him. He asked him, "Do you believe in the Son of Man?"
The man said, "Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him."
Jesus said, "You're looking right at him. Don't you recognize my voice?"
"Master, I believe," the man said, and worshiped him.
It turns out that when you start the process of healing there are going to be costs. Often in our day and age we are not looking for the kind of healing that the man in this story experienced. We are most often looking for the kind of healing that leads us towards a greater flourishing. Becoming the best version of ourselves comes at a cost.
Why must there be a cost to flourish?
I think it’s because when we start the process of healing two things happen. First, we recognize the areas of un-health in us. Second, we recognize a greater need for boundaries.
As we begin to recognize our sin-sickness we realize that things must change. For example, when the alcoholic realizes they are an alcoholic they stop drinking and stop going to the bar. It’s a behavior change that must happen. The recognition of their sin-sickness results in an active change of behavior, of action. This change in action comes at a cost. Often alcoholism is a practice of self-medication to bring about a numbness to avoid experiencing the pain of life. Some of us do this with food (the Quarantine 15 anyone?) and some of us do with other things. So, the cost is now the addict must feel the pain and the hurt and the negative emotions. They must deal with them. This is a huge cost.
Then there’s the cost of new boundaries. The alcoholic that no longer goes to the bar loses relationships as a result. Their social network is broken. The cost is high. New boundaries are often necessary when we seek to grow and flourish. Often this means that we will pay a cost in relationships. Many friends I know have stopped using social media. There was a loss and a cost in some of the digital relationships that they had cultivated. But, their long term health and flourishing was worth the cost.
The man in the story was healed. Not only his physical blindness but his spiritual blindness as well. What did it cost him? It cost him his community. The Synagogue put him out because of it. But, it was worth it. It was worth being healed inside and out.
He was a new man.
What are some steps you need to take to flourish? What is the cost? Is the cost worth it to you?