Sin and Sickness


All physical illness is not a result of sin. Although, sometimes, with proper spiritual guidance, it could be determined that there is a connection. For example, the Gospel of John states that the man who was healed from his blindness (John 9) was not blind due to his sin but rather he was blind for the glory of God. In the Gospel of Luke chapter 13, Jesus healed a woman who had a bent back, which was due to a “spirit” of infirmity. How she got the spirit of infirmity is unclear but we can infer that it might have been due to sin. Whatever the case, the Bible teaches us that sickness can be due to our sin, that is, active participation with sinful behavior, or it could be due to our fallen nature, that is, because to us being born into a world of sin we consequently get ill.

In the Gospel reading today, we are introduced to a paralytic man, who is brought to Jesus on a mat, by his four friends. Jesus first forgives the man of his sins. And upon objection from the Pharisees and other Jewish authorities, because as they claimed, “Only God can forgive sins,” Jesus goes ahead and heals the paralytic to show that he not only has power to forgive sins but also power to heal creation. The interesting point here is that Christ is showing that there is a connection between sin and sickness, as well as exerting his power.

When we think of our physical bodies, there are a few notable sins that result in sickness:

1) Sexual promiscuity: the love that is shared in a special way between a man and woman is only permitted within the bonds of marriage. Anything outside of that is considered sin. This is because God wants to protect us. When we engage in behaviors that are sinful we will eventually (or possibly) get sick, or get ourselves into circumstance that puts us in a place of great struggle. Such sickness is tied to sin and it is something one should avoid. Anytime we do something that is outside of God’s natural design, we end up in a mess.

2) Alcohol or smoking: alcohol, if consumed without control, can destroy the body, especially the liver. Smoking can cause great damage to our lungs. One can see that here sin can definitely lead to sickness.

I’m not saying that the paralytic man had anything to do with the aforementioned problems. What I am saying, though, is that anytime we are sick or ill, it is a moment to reach Christ. Sickness can bring us closer to God. The paralytic was most likely in a state of hopelessness, despair, and probably depression, but when he reached Christ, he was healed. But note what was primary for Christ was not the healing but the forgiveness of sin. This is exactly what should be happening to us when we are sick, that is, we should want to come closer to God and seek his forgiveness and ultimately his love, which in turn, may or may not result in healing. The truth is when sickness hits us we are ultimately brought to the stark realization that life is finite. Meaning, we won’t live forever, or that life could be cut short. It is especially true if we are considered “young.”

Let us pray that through the experience of sickness that we grow closer to Christ and experience his love and forgiveness, and God-willing his healing.