Very often we think we know our bibles well but sometimes you read a verse and think “I’ve never seen that before” even though you know you have read it many many times and probably heard sermons on it.
Today I read this;
Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled but rather healed (Hebrews 12 v 13)
Perhaps it stood out to me and I noticed it more because of my recent posts about our responsibility to be an example to other believers and non believers alike but the commentary note in my Bible say that this is a call for upright conduct that will help, rather than hinder, the spiritual and moral welfare of others, especially the “lame” who waver in the Christian faith.
My first thought was that the “lame” referred to new or young believers but as I thought about it, it occurred to me that not many of us are actually born lame. We learn as young children (or new believers) to walk through the love and guidance of those around us who encourage us and support us, hold us up until we become strong enough to walk on our own and grow stronger each day. They picked us up when we fell down, dressed the wounds and helped us to continue until we no longer fell down. They continued to guide us on how to walk safely, how to cross the road and make wise choices on which direction to go and how to negotiate obstacles safely. We don’t expect a new born baby to be able to walk straight away. Some learn more quickly than others but each of us usually learns eventually.
I realised that in most cases, we become lame. We make a bad choice and get hurt or we have an accident from which the wounds are painful and sometimes never fully heal – we have the scars which never leave to prove it. Sometimes we become lame simply through age and our feeble bodies wearing out.
In all these situations this verse highlights our responsibility to care for others, to support and love them when they find walking difficult, to make sure that there are no obstacles that will cause them to trip or stumble. Sometimes we get a wheelchair to help them to keep going forward either under their own strength or with help, but again the path has to be level. If there are steps, someone has to help get up that step so that they can continue to get to where they need to be. Sometimes a person who has been in the faith a long time becomes weary and worn out over time no longer has the strength to be able to walk on their own but needs people to come alongside them and hold them up in the way that Moses needed in the end.
Those that are born lame often need more support, their problems (eg someone who had addiction problem) never fully go away but they have to learn to live life in a way that enables them to continue to live life to the full.
I also noticed that the verse before this says;
Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and week knees (Hebrews 12 v 12 and Isaiah 35 v 3)
The responsibility is on us to make ourselves strong so that we can make the path level for others
We would never consider putting obstacles in the way of someone with a physical disability but we do everything we can to make life easier for them. We should therefore endeavor to do the same for those who may be “spiritually lame” and to be honest, every one of us will have something that we have a problem with so lets help each other.