“Mommy, are people sick here?”
The young boy’s question caught my attention as we sat in the waiting room of the counseling center. I didn’t hear his mother’s answer, but I wondered the same thing myself the first time we went for counseling. The people waiting with us that day looked so normal, I remember thinking. If I’d met any of them on the street, I wouldn’t have thought they needed to see a counselor. People might say the same thing about my husband and me.
We’re not outwardly having problems, but we’re seeing a counselor to help us with our marriage. I don’t have to tell you that, but I want you to know that things aren’t always what they seem.
I forget that all the time. Never more than when I walk into my church building on Sunday mornings.
Honestly, I’ve never thought to ask my Father, “Daddy, are people sick here?”
Some people are more obvious about their needs, their failures, their weaknesses than others, but even if those things aren’t visible, we all walk around with some kind of sickness. In college, I remember interviewing a girl who used a wheelchair. I can’t exactly remember the reason, but I won’t ever forget what she said: “We all have handicaps. You can just see mine.”
We’re all sick with something: pride, envy, prejudice, lust, unforgiveness, worry, fear … you name it.
I’ve heard it said that churches are to be like hospitals where sick people get well. Instead, we walk around dismembered, disfigured and dying, figuratively speaking, pretending like nothing’s wrong.
I’m guilty of telling people I’m fine when I’m not, and I’m guilty of assuming everyone else has their lives all together when they don’t. And I forget to treat people with compassion because I can’t see their injuries, their sicknesses.
Are there sick people here? Oh, yeah. And I’m one of them.
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31-32, NIV)