Four Bible Characters with Flaws That Fueled Their Faith

Many people attain to great character strengths in the process of dealing with their flaws. This is true, especially in the Bible. Here are the stories of four people who demonstrate that we can find purpose in our flaws. They show us how their flaws initiated and fueled their faith:

  • Naaman’s health flaw led him to healing from, and faith in, the God of Israel.
  • Rahab’s moral flaw introduced her to men who drew out her kindness, which was regarded as an act of faith.
  • Zacchaeus’ physique flaw led him to a personal encounter with Jesus, who referred to him as a son of Abraham.
  • Saul’s religious flaw showcased his passion which he transferred to new tasks God assigned him.


Naaman in the Jordan River.  Photo by Harry Anderson
Naaman in the Jordan River. Photo by Harry Anderson | Source

For Naaman's Complete Story

(1) Naaman and His Health Flaw

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 how badly he 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.


"Rahab Receiveth and Concealeth the Spies" by Frederick Richard Pickersgill
"Rahab Receiveth and Concealeth the Spies" by Frederick Richard Pickersgill | Source

For Rahab's Complete Story

(2) Rahab and Her Moral Flaw

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 men occasionally went in and out? Besides, the house on the city wall was easily accessible.

Rahab had the reputation of being a prostitute, even when she was listed among people who demonstrated outstanding faith. So how was the faith of this prostitute-turned-righteous woman fueled by her immoral habit?

Rahab’s habit of receiving men took on new purpose when she encountered men who were godly. When the king found out that the men in her house were spies and demanded that she put them out, she denied 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 received the men who showed her a better way to live.


(3) Zacchaeus and His Physique Flaw

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.

"Zacchaeus in the Sycamore" by James Tissot
"Zacchaeus in the Sycamore" by James Tissot | Source

For Zacchaeus' Complete Story

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.


For This Part of Saul's Story

(4) Saul (Also Called Paul) and His Religious Flaw

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 | Source

What kind of flaw (if any) has helped you develop good character?

  • Health Flaw
  • Moral Flaw
  • Physique Flaw
  • Religious Flaw
  • I haven't noticed
See results without voting

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.

© 2014 Dora Isaac Weithers

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54 comments

Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 2 years ago from Shelton

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 :)


lifegate profile image

lifegate 2 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

MsDora,

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!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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!


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

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.


word55 profile image

word55 2 years ago from Chicago

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


manatita44 profile image

manatita44 2 years ago from london

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.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


sheilamyers 2 years ago

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.


billybuc profile image

billybuc 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MG Singh profile image

MG Singh 2 years ago from Singapore

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 2 years ago from The Beautiful South

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 2 years ago

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.


HappyMikeWritter profile image

HappyMikeWritter 2 years ago

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.


einron profile image

einron 2 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Good illustrations of flawed people achieving success through faith.


Cgenaea profile image

Cgenaea 2 years ago from Illinois

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!!!


FlourishAnyway profile image

FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


denise.w.anderson profile image

denise.w.anderson 2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


MarleneB profile image

MarleneB 2 years ago from Northern California, USA

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


grand old lady profile image

grand old lady 2 years ago from Philippines

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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.


joedolphin88 profile image

joedolphin88 2 years ago from north miami FL

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


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

Joe, you said that very well. Thank you.


Ann1Az2 profile image

Ann1Az2 2 years ago from Orange, Texas

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 2 years ago from Dallas, Texas

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


mothersofnations profile image

mothersofnations 2 years ago

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*


MsDora profile image

MsDora 2 years ago from The Caribbean Author

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


Joyfulcrown profile image

Joyfulcrown 22 months ago

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.


MsDora profile image

MsDora 22 months ago from The Caribbean Author

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

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