Have you ever read the story of Naaman?
He was the captain of the army of the king of Aram. Because of a little Israelite maid, Naaman heard that a man of God in Israel could heal his leprosy. What’s interesting about this little girl’s faith is that she had never seen someone be healed of leprosy before because it hadn’t happened within her generation:
And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.Luke 4:27
Now, I always went to the story of Naaman to show people that they needed to be baptized even if they thought it was silly, but there is so much more to it than that. In the story, Naaman is told to go wash in the Jordan river 7 times. Elisha’s command didn’t meet Naaman’s expectations:
But Naaman was furious and went away and said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place and cure the leper.’”2 Kings 5:11
After talking to one of his servants, he went and washed in the river. This amazing experience convinces Naaman to have faith in the God of Israel.
What happens next is incredible and shatters many of our preconceived ideas about God:
Naaman said, “If not, please let your servant at least be given two mules’ load of earth; for your servant will no longer offer burnt offering nor will he sacrifice to other gods, but to the LORD. 18 “In this matter may the LORD pardon your servant: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon your servant in this matter.” 19 He said to him, “Go in peace.” So he departed from him some distance.2 Kings 5:17-19
Let’s break this down:
Naaman recognizes the LORD as God; however, he had a problem:
When he went home, he would have to go to a temple of another god with his superior. When it came time to bow down, Naaman would bow as well.
How would you react to this request?
“Well, Naaman, the ten commandments forbid you do that.”
“Naaman, you must not really believe in God if you think that would be okay.”
But that isn’t what Elisha says:
“Go in peace.”
We need to learn this patience and grace towards others. We need to learn how to say, “Go in peace” to those with whom we don’t see eye to eye. Everyone is different, and not all even have the capability of agreeing with you (assuming you’re even right) because of where they are right now.
Learning to say “Go in Peace” demands that we let go the need to be right all the time and convince everyone else to agree with us. This attitude teaches that it’s better to be known by God than to know (1 Corinthians 8).
Go in peace.