Those who are familiar with the Old Testament are likely also familiar with the story of Naaman. He was a foreign army commander who was stricken with leprosy. At the suggestion of his Israelite servant, Naaman went to Elisha the prophet for healing. Elisha told him to dip in the Jordan River seven times and he would be healed. He did so and was healed. This is a tremendous story with a multitude of lessons about faith, the willingness to do what God commands, and how those who love God should be willing to help all people, regardless of where they come from or what they believe. As a result of this healing Naaman became a believer in God. However, there is an element of this story that is overlooked by many Christians. In 2 Kings 5:17-18 Naaman says, “[Y]our servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the LORD. But may the LORD forgive your servant for this one thing: When my master enters the temple of Rimmon to bow down and he is leaning on my arm and I have to bow there also – when I bow down in the temple of Rimmon, may the LORD forgive your servant for this.” Elisha tells Naaman to “Go in peace,” giving Naaman the assurance that he will be absolved of the sin that Naaman knows he will be committing by bowing to another god.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/11297