“WHICH is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to
say, ‘Rise and walk’?” That was what Christ asked the scribes when
they thought he was blaspheming because he forgave sins instead of
just curing a paralytic. (cfr Mt 9,1-8)
The episode highlights the fact that it is always better
to have our sins forgiven than just to have some medical conditions
that we may have cured. It’s a truth that should always be on our mind
especially when we find ourselves in some serious ailment.
We obviously have to do everything to seek remedy for our
illnesses and predicaments in life, but that effort should not detract
from the fact that it is always better to seek forgiveness of our sins
than simply to have some cure and relief of our sicknesses.
Forgiveness of sins heals the soul that eventually will
enjoy eternal life. A medical cure, even in a miraculous way, gives
only a temporary relief to the body that eventually will die.
Forgiveness removes the sin which is the cause of all the
evil we can suffer in this life. The medical cure can only give some
alleviation of the effects of sin. The former takes care of the origin
of evil. The latter takes care only of the effects and symptoms of
Forgiveness heals us and restores the human wholeness and
integrity as persons and children of God that was lost due to sin. The
medical cure simply restores our health in terms of eliminating the
Forgiveness leads to an integrative process that
transcends the physical and includes mental, emotional, and spiritual
vitality and wellness. The medical cure only has a very limited
We always have to be concerned more about the forgiveness
of sins, both ours and those of others, than seeking medical cure for
our illnesses. It can also help us to appreciate this truth better if
we realize also that somehow the forgiveness of sins usually leads to
the curing of our illnesses which are the effects of sin.
In that gospel episode cited above, Christ forgave the
sins of the paralytic before he cured the paralytic’s predicament. The
miraculous cure was made to highlight what was more important in that
occasion—the forgiveness of sin.
As a corollary, we can say that we have to seek
forgiveness more than seeking a cure of our illnesses. We should not
be too fascinated by any miraculous cure that can happen to us as we
should when the miraculous healing of our being is made when our sins
Again, said in another, if we want to lessen our human
predicaments and illnesses in this world, we have to increase our
desire and practice in asking for forgiveness for our sins. Let’s ask
for forgiveness before we ask for a cure.
Let us therefore build up a culture of forgiveness. We
should continually ask for forgiveness, since we always have to
contend with our weaknesses, the temptations and sin itself in this
At the same time, we should also learn to be forgiving of
others. That’s simply because Christ himself said so. We cannot be
forgiven unless we also forgive others. Let’s remember what Christ
“For if you will forgive men their offences, your heavenly
Father will forgive you also of your offences. But if you will not
forgive men, neither will your Father for you of your offences.” (Mt
This truth is reiterated in the prayer that Christ himself
taught his disciples: “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin
We have to be clear that his injunction is meant for
everyone, and not only for a few whom we may consider to be
religiously inclined. That’s why when asked how many times we should
forgive, he said not only seven times, but seventy times seven,
That’s also why he easily forgave the woman caught in
adultery. And to those whom he cured of their illnesses, it was
actually the forgiveness of their sins that he was more interested in.
To top it all, Christ allowed himself to die on the cross
as a way to forgive all of our sins, and to convert our sins through
his resurrection as a way to our own redemption. What he did for us he
also expects, nay, commands that we also do for everybody else.
Let’s be convinced beyond doubt that if we build up this
culture of forgiveness, we will effectively lessen the evil of this
world. The cure of our ailments will have greater probability if we
seek forgiveness first.