Our family endured some sickness this past holiday season. Temporary sickness can be crushing and disruptive, and chronic sickness can be life-altering. Physical sickness has effects we don’t like to talk about–it brings up feelings of inadequacy, fear of being a “burden” on someone else, fear of economic consequences… and more.
The world is cruel to those who are sick, or those who can do nothing for themselves, because it does not count them as valuable. That is why we must care for the sick, visit the sick, and not forget them in prayer and in our daily lives. When we are sick (and this is easy to say) we give remarkable gifts of prayer and opportunity to others. Illness is a miserable, unfair, and unsatisfying place to be.
In Matthew 25, the sheep and the goats story tells us what God expects of us–to show love to the sick and vulnerable. We must make room for them, and do our best to treat them as honored guests. Whether their sickness is temporary, or something they carry with them every day, we must not leave them forgotten.