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Naming Your Need for Mercy


No mercy story of Jesus may be more well known than the healing of two men in Matthew 20:29-34.

The need these men had couldn’t be more obvious – they were blind. What they needed was their sight to be restored. Everyone that knew them knew this, including Jesus.

So why does Jesus ask them to name their need for mercy before he meets their need for mercy?

And stopping, Jesus called them and said, “What do you want me to do for you?” (Matthew 20:32 ESV) 

Here are three reasons it’s important we name our need for mercy:

(1) It Makes Our Need Concrete

Naming our need can seem overwhelming, because we have so many needs constantly floating through our minds. Until we name our need, it is just another part of our head noise – something abstract that doesn’t get the time and attention it deserves.

The first step to finding help or healing with our need, is naming our need.

For some of us, naming our need out loud just seems too intimidating. If that’s where you’re at, start by journaling about your need. Talk about it on paper until you’re ready to talk about it with a person.

Journaling about your need will hopefully help you take a step towards sharing your need with someone you trust. Naming your need with words, out loud, is a big step in seeing that need move from the abstract to the concrete.

If you’re ready for a bold step in naming your need, consider sharing it in a group setting. This might be your small group at church, a regular gathering of trusted friends, or your immediate or extended family. This bold step could be the breakthrough you need in naming your need.

(2) It Opens Us To The Healing Process

All human beings have a need to be vulnerable, and to be accepted in that vulnerability. When we name our need to other people, and they still accept, love and care for us, we take a huge step toward the healing Jesus wants and has for us.

James, the brother of Jesus, said it this way about our needs that result from sin: “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:1 ESV).

Whether our need exists because of our own sin, or sin that has been committed against us, naming our need to others is a powerful part of the process Jesus may use to bring us the help and healing we know we need.

(3) It Frees Us From The Chains of Shame

When we name our need and are received and accepted anyway, we break free from the power of any shame associated with that need.

The power of shame is in its secrecy. When we don’t name our need, we keep it a secret, and the power of the shame associated with that secrecy can become downright debilitating.

When we name our need, we strip it from the power of the secrecy attached to it. People know, and they love and accept us anyway. This is often where the deepest healing occurs in our needs for mercy.

The two men in Matthew 20 named their need to Jesus, unashamedly:

They said to him, “Lord, let our eyes be opened.” (Matthew 20:33 ESV)

As they boldly named their need, they opened themselves to healing and released themselves from shame, and – they were healed by Jesus!

And Jesus in pity touched their eyes, and immediately they recovered their sight and followed him. (Matthew 20:34 ESV)

Will you name your need, and allow Jesus to use that in the process he’s using to bring you the help and healing you need?