A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, ‘Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.’ Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. ‘I am willing,’ he said. ‘Be clean!’ Matthew 8:2-3
Though we rarely hear about it in the Western world, diseases like leprosy still blight and mar many lives in developing nations. The disfigurement of leprosy, as you have no doubt heard, happens when people lose their sensation of pain. And so, with no pain to warn them, people badly damage their fingers or feet, ultimately destroying them.
In the book of Hebrews, the author writes: “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” (Hebrews 3:12-13). Right there you have a diagnosis of spiritual leprosy. It’s when your soul becomes hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. It is when you spiritually lose all sensation of pain, especially things that pain God. It’s where you become actually dull and deadened to sin – when your sensitivity to wrongdoing becomes so numb that you end up ripping your soul apart and don’t even realize it. You sin – even blatantly sin – and you don’t feel it. White becomes black, black becomes white (or at least gray), and you end up thinking that what others call rebellion in your life isn’t really all that bad.
My friend, leprosy is something you don’t want to fool around with – spiritual or otherwise. If it’s a lie, go back and make it right before you become hardened. If it’s a fantasy, shelve it! Don’t let it fossilize your conscience. Don’t turn away from the Lord, as it says in Hebrews 3:12. Let me encourage you today… do a double-check to see if you’ve got any leprous spots on your soul.
Touch me, Lord Jesus, and clean my heart, just as you willingly touched the leper and made him whole.