Mark 2:5

When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man,  “Child, your sins are forgiven.”

faith is audacious
climbing where angels fear to tread
expecting what is needed is present

faith is hopeful
never seeing until it is accomplished
a way through a multi-dimensional maze

faith is loving
for if a life were not actually endangered
we’d find a way to put off engaging

faith is sin
a golden Jesus calf discounts agency
an intermediary becomes goal not helpmeet

faith is trust
a last outcome is not determinative
our only question is how we will play

Where is the locus of faith or trust located? Everywhere and nowhere is here an appropriate paradox. This construct can include the paralytic, or not. Would you include them, or not?

“Child” here is not age oriented. Read it as a term of endearment or a reduction in status by paralysis or occupation.

Translation is always tricky. Here, the passive construction of “are forgiven” is not available in every language. Some cultures require active agency. Arguments about inerrancy and over literalized denotations of words as if there are answers in life, rather than responses, are beside any point to be made.

If you were to try to put this response about forgiveness into Tzeltal, it might come out, “your sins are lost”. This is a less judgmental way of dealing with “sin”. Even lost sins lead us back into the wildness of a wilderness where, having missed the goal of a whole life, we are tempted into choices that incrementally increase the distance between what we aimed for and the actual result. Rejoice that our disorientation can be lost beyond the horizon even as we receive a blessing that re-creates an everyday wilderness of an unformed deep or paralysis into a relational garden.

Even without a scriptural recording of Jesus saying, “I forgive”, we are invited to join in acknowledging a new reality for ourselves and others—that the sins restricting the fullness of our living are now lost. This frees us to attend to the filling of lives with broader wisdom.