Well Meaning Friends
Have you noticed when something good happens to you there are well meaning people who will question you in such a way that they make your good fortune seems like a bad thing? In the Gospel of John the same thing happened to a blind man who had received his sight. [John chapter nine] “Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him… When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay… So he went and washed, and came back seeing. Therefore the neighbors and those who previously had seen that he was blind said, “Is not this he who sat and begged?” Some said, “This is he.” Others said, “He is like him.” He said, “I am he.” Therefore they said to him, “How were your eyes opened?”
The man who had the good thing happen to him wound up defending himself later in this chapter from the very people who should have been happy for him; and eventually they got him excommunicated from the temple where he worshiped. Look at all the different people who got involved in this man’s good fortune. They are listed as his neighbors, some, others, they, and lastly the religious leaders from the temple where he worshiped and who brought what every one was thinking about his good fortune into a nice bundle by calling his miracle a bad thing because it happened to him on a religious day. Since it didn’t happen when they thought it should have, and it didn’t happen to them, it was a bad thing. It didn’t matter to any of these people that the man who received his sight could now find gainful employment to support himself instead of begging from others, or that he would stop being a burden on his family and become a productive tax paying citizen of Jerusalem. As long as this man was beaten down, a burden, a beggar, and a bum; the people were okay with that. But when something good happened to him, the first thing they did was question him about how it happened, who did it for him, and completed their selfishness by calling his good fortune a bad thing. Is the picture of the selfishness of man beginning to take shape now?
The picture that is portrayed in this story is how the devil operates in our society through people, and yes, even through well meaning people in the church. If we had an ounce of brains, we would understand there is a God who loves doing things for us, and there is a devil who literally hates our guts and will do whatever he can to hurt us through whomever he can because he simply cannot stand to see people blessed by God. We read stories like these and say, “How could any one be so selfish?” and then go down to the coffee shop where we gather with our friends and do the same exact thing by talking about people we know.
I have heard this comment about preachers who aren’t as poor as a church mouse, “How did that preacher get his money? He must be stealing from his congregation. It’s okay for a sinner to be filthy rich, but let a child of God get blessed and he must have stolen it. It’s okay for the sinner to live in mansions, but the preacher should live in a shack. It’s okay for a sinner to drive a Rolls Royce, but the preacher should drive a clunker with 200,000 miles on it and live on ‘Barely-Get-A-Long’ Street. There is definitely something wrong with this kind of thinking in the church. And the list of selfish statements never ends. People have a hard time understanding that God blesses whom He will, with what He will, when He chooses. And if they would honor Him for who He is, they too would receive some of the blessing. Instead, their selfishness won’t let them do what is right, so they complain and wonder why every good thing always seems to happen to other people. Dthrash