By Adam Chaney
My life dramatically changed a few months ago, while reading a book about Christian community development. A single sentence opened my eyes and spirit to an issue I had not seen before. The line read: “Serious mental illness is the leprosy of our day.”
Scripture reveals that lepers were required to live away from normal society, separated from the camp, or outside the city walls (Num. 5:1-4; 12:10-15). Theologically, the people of God considered leprosy to be a curse and punishment from God (2 Kings 5:7; 2 Chron. 26:20), making the infirmed person unclean and unfit for community living. No one was even allowed to touch them. Yet, in Matthew 8:1-4, Jesus defies the social standards and stigmas as he “stretched out his hand and touched” a man with leprosy, because our Lord chose to see the man and care for his infirmity.
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