Leprosy

Leprosy

Introduction

Throughout Jesus’s life, he met and healed lepers. He had compassion for them, because they were the outcastes of society. There was and is a stigma attached to leprosy. Christians continue the work of Jesus by caring for those who have leprosy and bringing healing to them.

The Disease of Leprosy

Leprosy is a nervous system disorder. It eats at the peripheral nerves of a person. According to WebMD, “The main symptom of leprosy is disfiguring skin sores, lumps, or bumps that do not go away after several weeks or months. The skin sores are pale colored.”[1]Leprosy is easily cured through multi-drug therapy.

The Stigma

Lepers are misunderstood by society. By most people, leprosy is thought to be highly contagious. According to The Nepal Leprosy Trust, “People showing signs of leprosy have traditionally been shunned, as community members have feared infection through contact.”[2] Lepers have traditionally been known as the outcastes of society, even though the disease is not easily caught.

Sisters of Compassion

Gospel for Asia supports Sisters of Compassion. The Sisters of Compassion dedicates their life to the Lord for a minimum of three years. They take care of the poor and needy including lepers. One such leper was Rabia. She was shunned from her family at the age of 30 and after 18 years of marriage. One day after getting remarried, she met someone from the Sisters of Compassion. Hearing the story of Rabia, the Sisters of Compassion dressed and bandaged her wounds. According to the report by Gospel for Asia, “As they dressed Rabia’s wounds, the Sisters of Compassion sang songs of praise to God and prayed for her.”[3] She slowly healed from her leprosy and she started attending the church.

American Leprosy Mission

One day, Shyam couldn’t feel his foot or anything that he stepped on, including sharp objects. Eventually, his hands and eyes got infected with leprosy and he could not close his eyes. One relative told him to go to an American Leprosy Mission hospital. There he started getting multi-drug therapy. According to the American Leprosy Mission, “’I took multi-drug therapy without fail,’ Shyam said. ‘Gradually I felt better, but even then I was worried about my clawed fingers and eyes.’”[4] Shyam got an amputation on his left eye, so he could close his eyes. Finally, Shyam was fully cured of leprosy.

Conclusion

Jesus healed and showed compassion to the oppressed and rejected of society, including lepers. 2000 years ago lepers were known as outcasts and that perception hasn’t improved much since then mostly because of ignorance. Just as Jesus reached out to the lepers, organizations today are doing the same seeking to restore health and dignity to any that suffer from leprosy.

[1] Leprosy Symptoms, Treatments, History and Causes. WebMD. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/guide/leprosy-symptoms-treatments-history

[2] Background-The Stigma of Leprosy. Nepal Leprosy Trust. http://www.nlt.org.uk/about/background/

[3] Christ Glorified Through Woman’s Healing from Leprosy. Gospel for Asia. http://gospelforasia-reports.org/2016/01/christ-glorified-through-womans-healing-from-leprosy/

[4] Shyam: ‘Today I Can See the Positive Results.’ American Leprosy Mission.

http://www.leprosy.org/patient-stories/shyam-today-i-can-see-the-positive-results/