Leprosy is used in the scriptures to help us understand the reality of sin. As obvious as leprosy is on the outside – causing the skin to have sores and take on the pallor of death – so real is the hidden sin within our soul. When we sin, even though we can’t see it or feel it, our soul develops wounds and becomes as though it were dead. What does it mean for our soul to have wounds? We understand physical wounds because they are usually discolored and cause pain. What is a soul-wound? What does it mean to be wounded in one’s soul?
Our soul is a principle of life. It is the deep source of vitality by which we are animated and alive. We understand what it means to be alive by all the various activities and operations that we have. We know what it means to be alive because we have our senses: sight, hearing, smelling, touching, tasting. We know what it means to be alive because we experience our ability to move around, to eat and drink, to talk to others, we grow and mature into adulthood etc. Our deepest experience of life is the use of our mind and heart – we are able to think about our lives and experiences and respond to them as we choose. Those choices that we make are what make us truly human persons, they are where we focus our vitality and inner strength.
When we sin, we are wounded in the deepest part of ourselves. When we sin, we become spiritually wounded. We become weaker in our choices and resolve to do the good and to think about what is true. Sin doesn’t necessarily cause us physical pain, but it causes us to lose our spiritual strength and can leave us wandering through life after vain pursuits and unhappy. Sin keeps us from receiving the peace that comes from communion with God, and so we waste our vital energy on what fails to make us whole.
Jesus responds in a remarkable way to this ailment of the soul. He offers forgiveness of sin which is healing for the soul. Receive God’s mercy often through Jesus that you may have the strength to endure the test. The healing grace of God’s infinite mercy is available to us at all times, when we reach out to him in humility – recognizing our sickness – He always wills that we be made clean. He strengthens us in our weakness, so let us often implore His aide.