The Faith of Friends

Written by Kim Hardin
Luke 5:17-26
The scripture tells the story of how a group of friends set out to help their paralyzed friend. They had faith that Jesus would cure their friend if only they could get him to Jesus. The crowd was so large that they couldn’t get the mat that the paralytic was lying on in through the door of the house where Jesus was teaching. So, the friends went to the roof, removed some of the tiles, and lowered the paralyzed man into the house in front of Jesus. When Jesus saw the friends’ faith, He was impressed with them and He responded by healing the man. Jesus said to the him, “your sins are forgiven.” At that point the man was healed, stood up, picked up his mat and went home, praising God.

Seven years ago, my faith was at an all-time low. My daughters and I were struggling after the recent death of their father, my husband Steve. I was upset at God and feeling alone. However, remembering Steve’s unwavering faith even as he dealt with ALS, a paralyzing, fatal disease, I went on the search for a church family. I started attending Wesley Chapel, and the friends I made there helped me begin my journey back to a relationship with Jesus. One of my first experiences at Wesley Chapel was attending GriefShare. This Christ-centered support group not only helped me find peace amidst my grief, but I also made my first friends at Wesley Chapel. As my participation at church increased, so did the number of my friends, and in equal measure so did my support system.

This support system became like a mat carried by my friends so that they could lower me in front of Jesus. Because of the friends I’ve made at Wesley Chapel through classes, the Hospitality Team, the Praise Team, worship, the trip to Israel, and the friendships that thrive both inside and outside of church, I have been able to repair my relationship with Jesus. Of course, He was always there to forgive my sins and love me, but I needed my friends to remove the roof tiles and let me in to be set at the feet of Jesus. Forgiveness leads to a renewed relationship with the God who loves us and desires to be in relationship with us.

We all need friends who have faith enough for both us and them, but we also need to be that faith-filled friend for others. When we see the people we care about struggling, it is our turn to be the friend carrying the mat. It is our turn to be the one with the faith to get that friend to Jesus. It is not up to us to judge that person or to be the Pharisee who knows best. We don’t forgive sins and heal; that authority belongs to the Son of Man. Let’s be that friend who has faith enough for our friends. Our faith impacts our actions and attitudes. When others see Christ-inspired action and compassion, that shows them the way to a relationship with Jesus. That is how friends help our faith.