This guy really was lovable

For a long time, I didn't think very highly of Naaman, the Syrian general who came to Elisha to be healed of leprosy (see II Kings 5:1-14). I thought of him as an arrogant, headstrong military man, completely lacking in humility, and quite prone to anger. Why, then, do I now conclude that he was lovable—and that, like him, each of us is lovable, too? It's all right there in the story.

Look at the Hebrew maid who "waited on Naaman's wife." She was a slave. She had been captured by a Syrian raiding party and forced to serve the wife of the commander-in-chief of Syria's army. She had every reason to hate Syria with a passion. Yet, she had so much love for her master that she yearned to relieve him of his illness. One can conclude that Naaman wasn't meanspirited at all. In fact, he must have been treating this maid with kindness. He must have been lovable.

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Listening, as never before
July 10, 2000

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