If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him. 1 John 3:20–22
Our hearts can be misled—but God knows all! He is wonderfully greater, much greater, than our hearts! We must trust God regardless and not trust our feelings. He knows we are not perfect. If we are walking in the light, the blood of Christ continually cleanses us even though we may not feel perfect. Good news, eh?
Yet some preachers suggest that if our hearts condemn us, our prayers will not be answered and so we are not healed. But John is assuring us that God is greater than our feelings. He sees all where we see only in part and his love and grace are freely offered to us. And we are assured that our hearts need not condemn us, John making this plain for us who: believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
Again some writers will say that forgiveness and healing were “potentially” provided in Jesus’ sacrifice for us, but go on to suggest healing is somehow dependent on the sick one confessing their sins. But an examination of the Gospels shows that Jesus healed countless people without them having to confess their sins or repent.
There is no record of Jesus requiring anything from people whom he healed. For example he did not look at the epileptic boy and ask if there were any sins standing in the way. No, he spoke the word and the boy was healed after sharply scolding the disciples’ failure (Mat 17) of unbelief. At least the disciples didn’t blame the boy.
Neither is there any record of the spirit-led apostles demanding a clean slate from people before their healing.
One Australian writer on healing the sick asks the question with reference to James 5:15: “How did those praying know if the sick person had sin in his life?” He then claims the next verse “tells us”— as if James writes that this is so. But James is in no way here suggesting that the elders will know if the sick person had sin.
And who is without any sin anyway? If that was a pre-condition for our healing, no one would be healed or saved.
But in fact, James says “IF they have committed sins . . . . . .”. This makes it clear that James is not saying that the sickness is the result of sin. It is also clear that the healing of the sick one is described as preceding the forgiveness of sins, if any, and not as a condition for healing. Note also, that here James does not even mention repentance.
James seems to simply take it for granted that the person’s sins will be forgiven when the elders pray the prayer of faith. This sounds like the good news and is remarkably like Jesus’ declaration to the paralytic “Take courage, son your sins are forgiven” (Mat 9).
Sometimes in our desire to help people, to see them healed, we might think there is some unconfessed sin that prevents their healing, especially when our efforts seem powerless. We might even say to the sufferer “there’s sin in your life that stops your healing”. That of course usually adds substantially to their suffering and sends them on a futile quest to find what that sin could possibly be. That is very hurtful.
For us to make such an assumption, we are thinking it must be something in the sufferer that renders us disappointed with the outcome. Are we perhaps trying to hide our failure to heal and to shift the responsibility from ourselves? If sinlessness was a condition for healing, no one would be healed or saved. But this is not about us and “our ministry”! Jesus calls us to heal the sick person, whatever their condition—it is the love and grace of God, for not one of us deserves it. As disciples, we have the responsibility—he commands us to do it. We obey Jesus because he deserves it, not because the sick person deserves or the one ministering healing deserves the blessing. Still, love, patience and kindness for the sick is never out of God’s mind . . . . . .
Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails . . . .