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Four Bible Characters Whose Flaws Fueled Their Faith

MsDora, a former teacher and Christian counselor, presents practical Scriptural principles for joyful everyday living.

Four Bible Characters Whose Flaws Fueled Their Faith

Four Bible Characters Whose Flaws Fueled Their Faith

Many people attain to great character strengths in the process of dealing with their flaws. Here are the stories of four people who demonstrate that we can find purpose in our flaws. We will see how their flaws initiated and fueled their faith:

  • Naaman’s health flaw led to his healing and his faith in the God of Israel.
  • Rahab’s moral flaw introduced her to men who extracted her kindness, which was regarded as an act of faith.
  • Zacchaeus’ physique flaw led him to a personal encounter with Jesus, who considered him a son of Abraham.
  • Saul’s religious flaw showcased his unbridled zeal which led him to an encounter with God, which resulted in true spiritual passion.

1. Naaman's Health Flaw

For Naaman's complete story, see 2 Kings 5: 1-15.

Naaman was an accomplished soldier in the Syrian army. Yet, whenever his story is told, his military achievements receive just a mention, and the focus is on his leprosy. Sometimes, one flaw becomes the identification of an otherwise good person.

In Naaman’s case, there is good reason for remembering his disease. It teaches a lesson, namely:

No man's greatness, or honour, can place him out of the reach of the sorest calamities of human life . . . Every man has . . . something that blemishes and diminishes him, some allay to his grandeur, some damp to his joy. - Matthew Henry's Commentary

There was no cure for leprosy in Syria. The expected outcome was that Naaman’s health would gradually worsen and cause his death. The suggestion for his healing came from a little maid (captured in one of his raids on Israelite territory) that he should see an Israelite prophet in Samaria. The prophet sent him a message to go dip in the river Jordan seven times.

Namaan expected a healing process befitting his social and military stature. Either the prophet would come out to see him and deliver instant healing, or at the least, send him to a more prestigious river. He fussed and was tempted to walk away. In the end, the issue was whether or not he really wanted the cure for his leprosy.

His desire for healing fueled his humility, his obedience, his faith in the prophet and in the prophet’s God. He followed the instructions, received his healing and expressed his personal belief in God.

2. Rahab's Moral Flaw

For Rahab's complete story, see Joshua 2: 1-22, 6: 1-23, Hebrews 11:31.

Joshua, the Hebrew leader, sent his men to spy on Jericho in preparation for his destruction of the city. Where was the best place for the spies to go without being conspicuous? What about the home of a prostitute where the sight of men entering and leaving was familiar? Besides, the house on the city wall was easily accessible.

Rahab’s habit of receiving men took on new purpose when she encountered men who were on a mission for God. When the king found out that the men in her house were spies and demanded that she put them out, she denied (in her effort to save them) that she knew where they were. The record gives neither praise nor condemnation for her lie. Her act of saving the men’s lives was considered as an act of faith.

She expressed faith in the God of the Hebrews, for she had heard of the victories He had won for His people. She asked the men that on their return to destroy Jericho, they spare her life and the lives of her relatives.

Rahab is commended for her faith which led her to abandon her old lifestyle when she was kind to the men who showed her a better way to live.

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Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua

Rahab and the Emissaries of Joshua

3. Zaccheus's Physique Flaw

For Zacchaeus' complete story, see Luke 19: 1-10.

Zacchaeus’ position as IRS chief was no compensation for the short stature he inherited. When he heard that Jesus was passing through town, he realized that his physique flaw would prevent him from seeing the phenomenal Master Teacher.

Fueled by his determination to see despite his limitation, the short man began to think tall. His thoughts might have progressed like this:

  • Short legs can walk--walk ahead of the crowd to gain an advantage.
  • Legs that can walk can run--run ahead for an even greater advantage.
  • Legs that can run, can climb-- climb up into that sycamore tree.

Zacchaeus advanced from not getting a view, to getting the best view. Would he have put forth such effort to see Jesus, if he were average height? His limitation fueled his faith and for that, Jesus gave him personal attention by going to his house.

In the company of Jesus, Zacchaeus promised restitution to any tax payers he might have robbed. He received salvation—a growth spurt in character.

4. Saul's Religious Flaw

Later, Saul became known as Paul. For this part of his story, see Acts 8: 1-3, 9:1-17.

Saul, a member of the religious sect called the Pharisees, was highly opposed to the followers of Christ. He sought and received permission from the high priest to persecute, even to imprison any Christians he would meet during his travel to Damascus. Near the end of that journey, he had an experience which changed his passion from self-willed and ignorant to godly and inspired.

A blinding light from heaven struck him suddenly, and he fell to the ground. He heard a voice say, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

His response was surprising, “Who are you, Lord?”

Struck down on the Damscus Road-Illustrated by Paul Mann

Struck down on the Damscus Road-Illustrated by Paul Mann

Why did Paul think that it was God’s voice? Is it possible that his gut feeling told him all along the Christians were doing the will of God? Or perhaps, because of his zeal to please God, God revealed Himself to Saul. The self-assured bigot realized that he was wrong, after all.

No wonder that the lessons burned in on him in that hour of destiny became the centre-point of all his future teaching! - MacLaren's Expositions

With the same zeal that he persecuted the Christians, Saul, later called Paul, become one of the greatest promoters of Christianity. His epistles to the churches he planted have become Scriptural sources for many Christian doctrines.

"Helpful" Flaws Poll

© 2014 Dora Weithers


Robert Sacchi on July 05, 2020:

Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 05, 2020:

Robert, well put. "Because of a flaw rather than in spite of one." Applicable to all of us.

Robert Sacchi on July 03, 2020:

A good article that points out how people can become outstanding because of a flaw rather than in spite of one.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on March 26, 2018:

Thanks, Rodric, for sharing your observations and insights on this topic. You made me smile but, of course, you know that you don't have a monopoly on flaws.

Rodric Anthony Johnson from Surprise, Arizona on March 26, 2018:

I have so many flaws that I should have the best character! Seriously, I believe that God gives us weaknesses so that we can learn how to depend on Him to make those weaknesses strengths. Sometimes we overcome the weakness and other times we learn to live with them and thrive. I am still in the process of learning how to live with some of my weaknesses.

I love your take on how those weaknesses we have can give us insight that we otherwise would not have.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on January 21, 2015:

Joyful Crown, so happy to be an inspiration; also glad for a God who sees our value beyond our flaws.

Joyfulcrown on January 21, 2015:

MsDora. I loved your perspective on these bible figures. It is so good to be reminded that God can use anything even our flaws. Thanks for the inspiration and encouragement.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on August 04, 2014:

Mothers, you encourage me so, when I notice that you've been filling up on my articles tonight. Thanks for your support and inspiration.

mothersofnations on August 04, 2014:

So beautifully written. I love how you're able to give these men & women life in today's world. So many view them simply as characters, forgetting all the men and women in the bible really existed, unperfect in the eyes of the world, but so perfect in God's eyes - like so many of us. God bless you*

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on July 28, 2014:

Peg, glad you like the article. Thanks for reading and commenting.

Peg Cole from North Dallas, Texas on July 28, 2014:

This teaches us so much about learning from our flaws. I loved your examples and explanations about how these people overcame their shortcomings through faith. Great stories with deeply meaningful outcomes.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on June 03, 2014:

Ann, I am very pleased that you like the article. Thanks for your input.

Ann1Az2 from Orange, Texas on June 03, 2014:

MsDora, this was very well thought-out. I enjoyed your choice of character flaws. I think most of us can relate to one or all of them at one time or another. Thanks for sharing their stories. It's always nice to hear about people from the Bible.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 29, 2014:

Joe, you said that very well. Thank you.

Joe from north miami FL on May 29, 2014:

Great Character analysis and awesome look at how learning experiences are everywhere

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 28, 2014:

Mona, thank you very much. Someone else just mentioned the problem. I will look in the forums to see what's going on. Like you I hope they fix it fast.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 28, 2014:

MsDora, I tried to share it again and failed. Those buttons are not working well at all. It used to be so easy to share. I hope Hubpages will fix the buttons up, or at least go back to the old way, which actually WORKED.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 28, 2014:

Hi Mona, thank you very much for your kind words about the article. I'm not sure, but the problem with sharing my have been caused by those new buttons were installing. Hope the problem does not persist. Thanks for letting me know, anyway.

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on May 27, 2014:

I love this hub very much. It shows how powerful God is, and he loves the least of us, and our flaws can be healed and can lead us to our point of strength. Thank you. Voted up and shared.

Ms. Dora, I tried to share your article, but it seemed to be blocked. I don't know if that is an HP flaw or if you don't want your hubs shared? At any rate, I thought you may want to know about this.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 27, 2014:

Marlene, thanks for dropping by and making a contribution. This article is a kind of sequel to the one before it, although I have not spelled it out.

Marlene Bertrand from USA on May 27, 2014:

Wonderful stories of how flaws can lead us to great accomplishments if we identify them and not let them bring us down.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 27, 2014:

Denise, you give a perfect illustration of faith fueled by a flaw. Thank you. So glad the event turned out well.

Denise W Anderson from Bismarck, North Dakota on May 27, 2014:

It is interesting that our flaws and imperfections give us the most incentive to change. Just this weekend, I had someone give me a compliment about an event that I had planned and carried out. I noted that my anxiety (mental health flaw) had given me the faith to plan and prepare extensively. As a result, the event was successful.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 27, 2014:

Nell, everything stems from our thoughts and attitudes. If we think we can change, we will. Thanks for your comment.

Nell Rose from England on May 27, 2014:

So much food for thought here Ms.Dora, its amazing how something, or someone can change a persons personality in this way, whether religious or not, and what a great question you put at the end, I had to sit and think about it! I chose health, nell

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 26, 2014:

Flourish, special thanks to you for reading and commenting. I appreciate you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 26, 2014:

Genea, thank you for the clear, brief summary. I appreciate your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 26, 2014:

Einron, pleased to meet you too. Glad that you enjoyed the article. Thanks for your comment.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 26, 2014:

Michal, glad to meet you. We share a love for Bible reading. I really appreciate your input.Thank you.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 26, 2014:

Teaches, you said it very well. The flaws are part of our temperament; we can control them and reap the benefits. Thank you for your input.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 26, 2014:

Although not a traditionally religious sort myself, i think the general message shines through here. You're a good storyteller.

G from Illinois on May 26, 2014:

Lovely hub MsDora! :) There is only 1 who is good. All the rest of us ARE flawed. It is the cover of faith that cleanses and makes us acceptable. Yes!!! The messages are comforting and assuring; blessedly so!!!

einron from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA on May 26, 2014:

Good illustrations of flawed people achieving success through faith.

HappyMikeWritter on May 26, 2014:

My favourite Bible character is Thimoteus. As a young man he had to teach Bible and talk about God and I am sure it required a big courage and strength to achieve what God wanted from him. Naaman and his faith in God helps him to heal himself. You have chosen very nice characters. I love reading Bible dailly and I am soo glad there are people as you. People who helps others understand Bible . Thank you so much for sharing it with us. May this article be read by many.

Dianna Mendez on May 26, 2014:

I loved your reflection and telling of these stories. Yes, our character comes with flaws. As we discover how to overcome them, it makes us stronger. Excellent message. God bless you, Ms. Dora.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 26, 2014:

Jackie, thanks for the encouragement. Your summary questions are very powerful too.

Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on May 26, 2014:

One of your best Dora. How much more thankful are those who have been forgiven much? If we think of ourselves as more perfect then how much do we cheat ourselves?

Hope you give us more of these! So interesting and great bible lessons.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Lori, thanks for your encouragement. I really love Bible stories, and I have found that there are some different perspectives we can have on them.

Lori Colbo from United States on May 25, 2014:

Dora, this was excellent. I agree with Lifegate that you approach these from a unique perspective. And I thought Naaman, Rahab, and Zacchaeus interesting choices. It's nice to hear about the more obscure. I figured I'd hear about David, Peter, and Abraham. I've always been impressed with the fact that Saul's passion and zeal was turned onto Jesus. All very powerful stories. Great work here Dora. Blessings.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

MG Singh, I'm not sure. Does the man have faith in God? Either way, God can initiate contact. Thank you for reading and leaving a kind comment.

MG Singh from UAE on May 25, 2014:

How does this relate to a man who has no faith in Bible. Niceinformative post though

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Bill, I also like the way you say it. Thanks for your input.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Sheila, I couldn't have said it any better. Thanks for your right-on summary!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 25, 2014:

I think flaws make us interesting and define us as human beings. To deny them is silly. To not learn from them is a horrible waste. :) Well done, Dora.

sheilamyers on May 25, 2014:

This is a great lesson! God loves us even when we're flawed and if we accept him on faith, he'll change us for the better.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Faith, I can relate to the the daily trials which help our faith to grow. I appreciate your input, as always.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Manatita, I did mention "the one on the tree" in my article about the path downward. The only repeat is the picture because the lesson is entirely different.

Thanks for following, and for being so observant.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 25, 2014:

Excellent hub, dear MsDora! I love all of the examples of how each one's flaws grew their faith in God. We are all certainly flawed and I know my faith grows by leaps and bounds, especially during those daily trials of life and seeing just how much He continues to love us despite our many flaws.

Voted up and more and away

God bless you always

manatita44 from london on May 25, 2014:

Feels like I have seen this one before. At least the one on the tree.

Great stories with great morals. We have many like this in Sri Chinmoy's writings.

Great examples.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Word, what is truly amazing is grace, which is the reason our flaws turn out for the best. God is so awesome! Thank you for your kind support.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Eric, I appreciate your sterling application of the message in this article. You encourage me. Thank you.

Al Wordlaw from Chicago on May 25, 2014:

Amazing MsDora! Simply amazing! Thank you for this spiritual enlightenment. Flaws can turn out for the best.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 25, 2014:

2 cor 12:7 "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me-- to keep me from exalting myself!"

This wonderful hub reminds me well that my character defects are there for a reason.

Many thanks for a great Sunday morning read.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Jodah, thanks for your kind thoughts. Happy for you, that I picked Zacchaeus. I relate to him too because I come up short in so many areas.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Lifegate, thanks for your encouragement. I believe that every Bible incident has some application for us,one way or another. That Holy Spirit does a great job of showing us how.

Dora Weithers (author) from The Caribbean on May 25, 2014:

Frank, I appreciate your loyalty. Wish I could help un-complicate matters for you, but I'm glad there you show some interest. You have such good heart. Thanks!

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 25, 2014:

This is a wonderful hub MsDora, even for those wo have not read the Bible. There are lessons in each of these flawed people for us all. I have always related to the story of Zaccheaus the tax collector.

William Kovacic from Pleasant Gap, PA on May 25, 2014:


You always approach your subject from a unique viewpoint. And then turn it into very practical teaching - things that we all can use to grow. Thank you for your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit as He leads you. Have a great Sunday!

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 25, 2014:

wow interesting... religions at least for me are so complicated.. and this hub didn't help.. but very well presented.. voted awesome and still interesting :)

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