Naaman, the mighty soldier of Aram, looked sadly out his window.
You would think Naaman would be the happiest guy around. He was the king’s man, a hero to the people, and they all thought, Naaman is awesome! There was this one thing—Naaman had leprosy. He looked down at his arm and noticed an oozing cut but didn’t feel any pain. That’s how leprosy works. Inside Naaman, things were broken. Instead of telling his brain, “Hey, you’re hurt! Put some medicine and a band-aid on that!” there was only silence. Naaman’s skin was full of bruises, cuts, and other ouchies, but he couldn’t feel them. Those hurts would slowly grow until his flesh would rot and his fingers or toes would fall off.
More than anything Naaman wanted to be free of his leprosy, but he was out of ideas. There just wasn’t any hope until, one day, a slave girl living in his house had an idea. She said, “Go to Israel and see the prophet of God. He will heal you.” Naaman was ready to try anything, so he went. Elisha the prophet saw him and said, “Go wash in the Jordan River if you want to be clean.” What?! Just wash in the river? That made Naaman angry. After travelling so far, he wanted the prophet to shout to God or wave his hands in an abracadabra way, but Elisha just said wash. Maybe it seemed like a simple order, but it was hard to obey. Naaman would have to make his proud heart low. He would have to stop commanding and instead obey a command. For Naaman to do these things, it would take a miracle in his heart. “Fine!” Naaman finally shouted. “I’ll wash in this stinky river!” He lowered his heart, obeyed Elisha’s command, and washed. As he rose from the water, his skin gleamed beautifully in the sun. Inside Naaman, God fixed the broken parts. Outside of Naaman, everyone could see the changes.
Our sin is a lot like leprosy. It’s hidden inside where our eyes can’t see but it shows up on our outsides—when we don’t listen to God, when we are mean to our siblings, or when we steal or lie. Like leprosy, sin wants to kill us. It doesn’t want us to feel anything as it slowly rots our hearts. We may try to fix it on our own, to heal ourselves, but we can’t. Only Jesus could. “Come, I will wash you and make you clean,” He says. It seems simple, like it would be an easy thing to obey, but to come to Jesus takes a miracle. It means our high and mighty hearts have to come down low. It means we have to stop being in charge of ourselves and instead obey all that God says. When we do, God cleans the brokenness inside of us and on the outside, we shine and begin to look like Jesus.
Discuss and help your child apply this truth to his or her own life.
Pride says, I can do it myself! Trusting in Jesus means we realize that we could not pay for our sin, that we couldn’t do it ourselves, and that we can only be right with God because Jesus did everything for us.
* Corresponding Jesus Storybook Bible story: "The Little Servant Girl And The Proud General"