I am currently reading through Beth Moore’s book, Jesus, the One and Only, which I would highly recommend. Yesterday was a beautiful lesson on the passage in Luke 7 when the “sinful woman” comes into the Pharisee’s house, sits at Jesus’ feet, and washes His feet with her hair and her tears. What a sweet sweet picture of humility, repentance, and surrender.
One thing that Beth pointed out that I haven’t noticed before is when Simon says about Jesus, “If this man were a prophet, He would know who and what kind of woman is touching Him.” Then Jesus responds with a parable, as He tends to do, of the two men who borrowed money and had their debts forgiven. He asks Simon which one will love the forgiver more, to which Simon responds, “the one he forgave more”. Jesus then responds with “You have judged correctly”, which is ironic word choice because that is exactly what Simon has been doing, judging. What Beth pointed out here is that never once does Jesus downplay her sin. Never once does He say, ‘Oh, she’s not that bad!’ or ‘Oh, if you only knew her story.’ Instead, He compares her to someone with a very large debt, yet He loves this woman because of her faith and act of humility, her act of love.
Beth also talked about that many times people living in habitual sin not only have to overcome the sin, but overcome the shame of their sin, which can be even harder. Shame is a very real state we face when we’ve done something wrong, just ask Adam and Eve. Rather than sowing fig leaves (covering our shame), I think the response Jesus displays is to not downplay or cover the sin, but to surrender every last bit of it at His feet. He is not afraid of us touching Him. He loves us as our Father.
Because of a world, an environment, a church where we all want to save face and seem perfect, I think we have come to a place where putting on a face is the most natural reaction to any “yuck” inside of us. I would like to first say that this is letting Satan win if the Church is yet another place where we are inauthentic, rather than being a true community and surrounding one another with support, accountability, and prayer. But also, we are in danger of being inauthentic with Jesus, and it is SUCH a shame. This is something Jesus called me out on a while ago, and being freed from needing to seem perfect from the very One who hears every thought and sees every action, is a sweet and fruitful liberation. Go with me on a metaphor here…
I have a very old dog, named Duke. He is now 13 years old. The biggest thing to go for him besides his body mass is his vision. His formerly black eyes are now blue with cataracts. He literally runs into cabinets and other objects that have never moved in our home. If you are a dog owner you know that your dog has that one person in your family that he or she loves most. In my family, that person is my mom. The dog will literally lay in her bed all day while she’s gone and not make a move or a noise all day until she comes home. Since I’ve been home from school, though, he has been very interactive with me. I thought this was abnormal, but then I realized, he thinks I’m my mom. I then begin to think, if he could only see who I really was, he wouldn’t dare interact with me. And I think, we’ve convinced ourselves of the same thought about Jesus. When we go to pray, we are sounding just like the Pharisess and using big words we’ve heard in church but never understood just to seem a little more pure, a little more righteous, a little more perfect.
Baby, hear me say and know, He has seen, is seeing, and will see it all. Jesus has gone to the valleys of the shadow of death with us. He has seen every single second, and my child, He has not cast you away. He has not said, who is this person who touches me?! Instead, he has liberated us from who we really were because He wants us to love Him deeply in return, which is a natural response. So, my sister or my brother, go to your Father. Embrace who you really are. Don’t cover yourself with fig leaves. Bring your alabaster jar to His feet. Wipe them with your hair, your vanity, that you know you’ve lost every right to. Weep before Him about who you really are. But in the midst of all of this know, your Forgiver has pardoned the greatest of debts, and He loves you so so deeply. He has called you his own while knowing every last thing about you, even the number of hairs on your head.