Reading: 2 Kings 5:1-14
Reflection: Today’s story of Naaman’s healing is almost comical in the way it is told. To begin with, there is the cryptic note sent from the king of Aram to the king of Israel, which seemed to imply that Israel’s king was supposed to do the healing. This results in confusion, panic, and all sorts of assumptions that could have led to very serious consequences if Elisha had not intervened.
Then, there is Naaman’s national pride and personal arrogance which almost prevented him from following Elisha’s instructions and receiving his healing. Fortunately, this military commander had servants who were wiser than he was, who convinced him to choose healing over his offense at Elisha’s dismissiveness. Notice again how it is Naaman’s assumptions about how he should have been treated, and how his healing should have been performed, that got in his way here. It was similar assumptions about who the Messiah should be and how he should behave that tripped up the people of Nazareth, as we saw on Sunday.
It was these same kinds of assumptions that prevented many people in Israel, including the religious leaders, from recognizing who Jesus was. And, if we’re honest, it is our tendency to make assumptions about God that keeps us from a truly transforming faith. It is our assumptions about other people and their motives that keep us from deep and intimate relationships. It is even assumptions about ourselves that keep us from truly knowing ourselves and doing the work of transformation and growth. One of the most powerful spiritual choices we can make is to distrust our assumptions, and to approach God and others with an open heart and mind, curious to know what they really feel, think, and desire. How can you let go of your assumptions today?
Practice for Today: When we become aware of habits of thought and behavior that are unhelpful, it can be tempting to deny what we see, and pretend that we’re doing just fine. But this only drives our worst selves into the shadows, where our brokenness continues to hurt us and others. Today, use confession to acknowledge your assumptions and their negative influence in your life, and then ask God to help you to release them and be healed.
Prayer for Today: When my assumptions keep me from truth and life, O God, forgive me and heal me, I pray.
Communion with Christ