One of the biggest lies we tell ourselves is that whatever pain or brokenness we’re facing is unfixable and not our fault. That “this is just the way it is, and there’s really nothing that can be done.” Actually, the lie is far more subtle than that, but it becomes our reality the longer we believe it.

An article by Author jason aten about the story in John chapter 5 where jesus asks an invalid man “Do You Want To Get Well?”

I mean, sometimes we actually tell ourselves it’s “not our fault” that we’re sick, or that our marriage failed, or that our kids are rebellious, or that our boss is a jerk, or what we can’t kick that addiction. (FYI - just because something isn’t your fault, doesn’t mean it isn’t your problem.) But most of the time we tell ourselves a lie that begins with three little words: “I can’t because.”

Maybe you’ve had a conversation with someone that started out “I have this problem in my marriage.” As you seek to offer wise counsel, each suggestion is met with the lie.

“Yeah, that’s a good idea, but I can’t because....”

It sounds a lot like a rationalization or an excuse, but in reality, it’s a lie. Most people don’t know they’re lying, but they are. They think they’re simply explaining why their situation is different, and can’t be changed or fixed. They’ve bought into a lie that will destroy your soul one day at a time.

“I can’t fix my marriage because my spouse is evil. I can’t fix the problem I have a work because my co-workers are impossible to work with. I can’t get a better job because there aren’t any good jobs around here. I can’t change because this is just how God made me. I can’t lose weight because... I can’t overcome this addiction because... I can’t because...”

There’s a story in chapter 5 of John’s gospel that begins with Jesus headed to Jerusalem for the feast of the Jews. As He approaches the temple, he passes by a pool called Bethesda where the Bible says “a great number of disabled people used to lie.”

It was at this pool that Jews believed you could be healed if, at just the right moment - when the water was stirred up by angels - you were the first into the water. So a crowd of disabled people would come and wait. The blind, the sick, the paralyzed would all come and wait by the pool for the right moment when their miracle would appear.

On this day Jesus approaches a man who had been sick for thirty-eight years. The Bible doesn’t tell us how he got sick. Maybe he was born sick, or perhaps something happened to him when he was young. It’s interesting to me that the Bible doesn’t say. I think it’s because how he ended up that way isn’t the point. What matters in the story is that today, thirty-eight years later, he had legs, but they didn’t work.

So every day he came and waited at the pool.

On this day, as he waited, Jesus approaches and asks him a question. “Do you want to get well?”

Seriously friends, this is the most soul-piercing question in maybe the entire Bible. There’s a choice. You can be sick, or you can be well. But you won’t get well until you’re tired of being sick. I think that what Jesus is really pointing out is that far too often, we’d rather be sick.

Getting well is hard. Getting well means acknowledging that there’s something wrong, and then doing the hard work of changing that something. It can be excruciatingly painful, especially if we’ve been sick for a while.

Imagine that there is something wrong with your leg, and walking your entire life with a limp. It’s been like that for so long you’ve just gotten used to it. You’ve adapted. You could fix it, but to do that, they’d have to break it and re-set it and wait for it to heal. That’d be really painful, so you just keep limping.

Besides, it wasn’t your fault that something happened to your leg, so why should you have to change? Good point, except here’s the thing. If I ran into your leg with my car, that would be my fault. But it’s still your broken leg. You still have to get healed. There’s nothing I, or anyone else can do to be healed of your broken leg. And yet, we often limp because the thing that caused the pain wasn’t our fault.

Never mind that it’d only be more painful for a short period of time, and then you’d be healed. We are so conditioned to avoid pain, even temporary pain, in favor of the dull ache that we’ve just accepted as part of life.

Especially emotional pain. There are a lot of people walking around with an emotional limp. I don’t mean to sound insensitive, because pain is real. It really is, and some of you have experienced pain at the hands of a spouse, a parent, a friend, or a predator. That pain is devastating and shouldn’t be understated, but that’s not the issue. This isn’t an issue of what caused the pain.

The man at the pool was legitimately an invalid. People legitimately get hurt in relationships, or experience losing their job, or their marriage, or their child. None of that changes what has to happen next.

No one chooses to experience pain, but only you can choose to stay in pain. No one chooses to be victimized, but only you can choose to stay a victim. That’s the difference between a victim and a survivor. People who chose to stay victims, create new victims. Survivors decide that they are going to get well.

The issue is whether or not you want to continue to live with the dull ache in your soul, or do you want to get well?

Back to our friend at the pool. The man responds like we so often do. “I do, but I can’t because I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred.” He was still waiting for his miracle to show up.

Jesus is having none of it and says “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk!”

Stop for a minute. The man has a choice. He can choose to be sick, or he can choose to pick up his mat and be healed. He had to do something hard, something he hadn’t done for thirty-eight years. He had to do something that might hurt. His legs were probably weak, which means the chances are good that he might fall down, which might hurt.

Imagine if the man had again said “I can’t because,” while waiting for his miracle to show up. Imagine if he’d have explained his “truth” to Jesus and how his life experience means that even though he was sure Jesus meant well, the normal rules of “getting well” don’t apply.

Instead, he was cured. He believed. He stood up and walked. Now that he knew, he chose to no longer be a victim. He did the thing he was told he needed to do to change his situation. He recognized that it was in fact beyond his own ability to heal himself, but that wasn’t what Jesus expected. Jesus just expected him to stand up. And he believed. He stood up.

And he was well.

Whatever you’re facing, you can see change in your circumstance. Your outcome can be different, no matter how long you’ve been walking with a limp. No matter how deep the hurt, no matter how great the pain, no matter how powerful the addiction, no matter how devastating the sickness, you can be well.

Do you want to get well?


Truth is quite popular these days. Actually, it isn’t, but we like to think it is. At least the notion of truth based on how we feel, or what we want to believe. That’s popular. It’s just not real. Real truth isn’t popular at all, because real truth often requires me to acknowledge that the way I feel, or see things, or understand the world might be wrong.


You see, as much as we’d like to, we don’t get to define truth. Truth exists on its own, without any need for anyone to believe it in order to keep being true. Truth isn’t about me, or what I think or feel. Truth is truth regardless of me, or you, or anyone else. 

Of course, something doesn’t have to be true for me to keep believing it. That’s free will. You are free to believe anything you want. Just don’t confuse belief with truth.

Sometimes the things we believe are true. Sometimes we believe the truth, but most of the time, we just believe what we believe and we call it “my truth.” Which is also not a thing. There is no “my truth,” or “your truth,” there’s just truth. You don’t get to define truth, you just get to decide what to do with it.

I think what people mean when they say “my truth,” is really “my experience.” It certainly is true (no pun intended), that our experiences inform the way we view the world, but they do not inform the truth.

You see, truth is a real thing, and it happens to matter.

There’s a fundamental law, as unbreakable as gravity, that says this: truth is truth. By the way, about gravity... mankind has defied gravity. We have learned to fly. We’ve sent men to the moon. But gravity is still gravity. It still holds us to this earth, and it requires enormous effort and resources to overcome the reality of gravity. And none of those efforts change gravity. We still can’t do that.

Like gravity, truth does not change because we resist it. It does not stop being true as a result of our efforts to overpower it. It is still truth, and it pulls us back to itself regardless of our attempts otherwise.

Just to be clear, telling someone the truth isn’t malice. It isn’t intolerance. It’s telling the truth. The scriptures are quite clear that we should speak the truth in love. We should always speak it in the context of love, but we should not back away from truth. In fact, we should tell each other the truth even when it’s uncomfortable.

That’s love. Being willing to tell the uncomfortable truth is often the most loving thing you can do, especially when living a falsehood can destroy you. That’s why truth matters, because the lie will ruin you.

And it does. Believing a lie will destroy your soul, and telling someone it’s okay to believe a lie because it’s “their truth” is the cruelest thing we can do. It’s cruel because it ignores the fact that our lives are governed by truth whether we accept it as true or not. It’s cruel because it allows people to justify and rationalize decisions in their lives because of desire, not truth.

By the way, none of this is to say what you should believe. It’s not my job to tell you what you should believe. I will, however, always tell you what I believe to be true. Is it possible that it’s not true? Sure. I don’t have it all figured out, and no one has a monopoly on the truth.

 In fact, all truth is God’s truth.

What’s not possible is that something is true simply because I believe it, or because you believe it, or want it to be true, or feel that it’s true for you.

And we can’t both believe something on opposite sides of reality and call them both truth. I can’t believe something is true, and have you believe it isn’t true, and have both of those things be “truth.” Truth isn’t subject to interpretation.

That’s not how truth works. There’s no such thing as “my truth,” or “your truth.” There is only truth. And truth matters.

”I am the way, the truth, and the life.”  - John 14:6


There are a lot of things that as Christians we are supposed to be against, I suppose.  We're supposed to be against things like abortion, and gay marriage, and premarital sex, and drugs, and cursing, and transgender bathrooms, and I guess democrats. 

Jason Aten is an author and creative director writing about More Grace.

The truth is, it's hard to keep track of all the things Christians are supposed to be against. I've tried to find a list in the Bible. I found one instead that said this - 

"Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience." (Colossians 3:12).  

Interestingly, it seems like Paul, the guy who wrote that list, knew we'd have trouble with it.  It's like he knew that it would be tempting to notice when the people around us aren't living up to the list, so he goes on to say,

"bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you." (v13)

It's true, Jesus was certainly against some things. There were definitely some things that really bothered Him, and there were even things He took a stand against. What's most interesting to me is that the things that really got Him worked up were usually the faults of the religious leaders, not of the sinful crowd. 

The problem with the list of things that the religious leaders of today often come up with for us to be against, is that it's all about what's wrong with the "sinful crowd."  I remember reading Jesus' command to the woman who had been caught in adultery, when He tells her "go and sin no more." Jesus definitely was against adultery, but I don't think it's insignificant that He says this to her only after He had literally saved her from being stoned to death.  

Before He said anything to this member of the "sinful crowd," He dispatched with every single member of the righteous brigade that was ready and waiting to execute their personal brand of religious rule enforcement. The religious leaders were against not only her sin, but against her.  

Jesus certainly wasn't for her sin, but the difference is that Jesus was FOR her.

In fact, it seems to me that Jesus was "for" a lot more than He was against.  As I read the Bible, I find a Jesus who was for compassion. Quick aside, it's not an accident that the very first words used by God to describe His own character to Moses include the word compassion (Exodus 34:6).  It's the first thing He says about Himself.  

Jesus was for abundant life.  He was for forgiveness, and for truth.  He was for holiness.  He was for love.

But mostly, Jesus was for grace.

Grace changes things. It changes things now, and it changes them eternally.  Grace is the pathway that allows us to be forgiven and experience eternal life. Grace is the oxygen of relationships, which is why it's the foundation of our faith. Without grace, we would have no relationship with Christ. It's precisely because of the grace He extends to us that we are able to be in relationship with Him.

It was grace that moved Jesus. It was grace that motivated Him to heal. It was grace that motivated Him to embrace those who had been rejected. It was grace that motivated Him to raise the dead. It was grace that found him at a dinner party with a bunch of society's worst - a sinful crowd. It was grace for us that moved Him step by step towards the cross.

It's also grace that allows us to experience the beauty of relationships here on earth.  It's the pathway that allows us to forgive and experience community. Grace is what allows us to sit down and share compassion with those who are different. Those who disagree.

Grace is what reminds us that our value doesn't come from our positions, or place of birth, or job, or status. It reminds us that it comes from what was done by the one who is for us.  It comes from our identity in Christ - which is the result of, well, grace.

Imagine what a little grace might look like in your life, in your family.  Imagine what it might look like in your conversations on social media (yikes).  Imagine what it might change about your relationships at work, or in your marriage. Imagine what it might change about the way you are raising your children. Imagine how grace might change the way you think about that person you disagree with, especially the one that's a Democrat.

As Christians, we are called to be for grace.  We are called to be for far more than we are to stand against. If you are a Christian leader, you are accountable for what you are for. If the only thing you are for is pointing out what Christians should be against, I think you're doing it wrong. 

Don't get me wrong, personal holiness is a real thing. Sin is a real thing. But the Gospel isn't a list of what to be against, it's a story of grace. The Gospel compels us to share that story - and that grace - with the world around us, even when the world around us makes us uncomfortable. Even when the world seems to be against everything we believe. Even when the world around us is broken. Even when it's surrounded by a sinful crowd, or maybe Democrats.

(Just to be clear, I like plenty of Democrats just fine, but it's saying something that many Christians would much rather spend time with a sinful crowd than with a crowd of Democrats.)

Grace allows us, actually it commands us, to be for each other. That's something we could all use a little more of right now because there are a lot of things that need changing, and grace changes everything.