I have parts of it memorized, I have taught out of it. I even wrote a song from the text.
It's the story of the sinful woman anointing Jesus' feet.
It's a powerful story for me. Mostly because I can see myself as that sinful woman who was forgiven of much.
I am One who would be totally lost and utterly broken in pieces if I wouldn't have met Jesus.
I love him and am not ashamed to let people know it. He reached out and grabbed me when He could've let me fall. He's real to me and I know that he paid the price for my sins once and for all.
So why is it that sometimes I act like the Religious Pharisee from the story who was self righteous and quick to draw conclusions about the short comings or sin of others?
How is it that I can be like that man Simon, who had a cold heart toward others not like him, even though I know that I too have been forgiven.
Several weeks back our family took a road trip to Iowa.
We had stopped at a Cracker Barrel for breakfast.
There's just something about taking a trip that requires at least one stop at a Cracker Barrel.
So there we are with our kids in tow browsing the shop waiting for our name to be called when out the window we observe 4 men walking to the front door. But these men were not dressed in suits or Jeans and tee's. Instead They were dressed in Drag. All in dresses. Some were obviously new to heels. Several were balding. With their heels on they were extremely tall and completely out of place. And what was super intriguing was that they were holding hands with their significant other, which were women. Several children followed behind.
I was shocked. And wanted to stare. I'm from small town, Mayberry. I had never seen anything like this before. I was troubled at the idea that they may try to use my restroom. And frankly I was upset that I was forced to have conversations with my children about such non traditional broken people, including our 12 year old. I didn't want to talk about this particular topic on this lazy, Sunny Sunday Morning. I just wanted my pecan pancakes and grits.
And then as quickly as those thoughts passed through my head. The Spirit that dwells in me whispered..... "And Jesus looked over the crowd and had compassion on them."
I instantly repented from my Simon spirit and felt sad for these men.
And the old questions were replaced with new.
What Must their journey look like? How confused they must feel. What triggered this behavior? I wonder what Jesus would do if he were here?
See so often it's easy to think if we have compassion it means we okay any and all behavior. But the other ditch Jumps straight to judgment and disgust, instead of mercy. It's easy to convince ourselves that it somehow justifies our own lack of love. And maybe we feel a little better about our own secret sin when we can point out another's obvious one.
Sinful outward behavior is always just a sign of inward brokenness.
And that's the heart of the matter.
I can't fix the brokenhearted but I know someone who can. And my pharisaical attitude will never draw anyone to the healer.
We live in a time when we will be faced with things that disturb us. They may take us off guard at times.
And Sometimes we may be asked to say things that people don't like to hear. But lets always say it in humility and with love. Always with the remembrance that we too are forgiven of much.
Living with a heart like Jesus, who looked on the broken with love, is our calling.
And Not just to the lost but to our brothers and sisters who claim the same Savior.
We need to encourage each other to take off that baggage heaped on stooped and crooked backs and lay it at the Masters Feet.... The one who says, "Come to me all who are heavy laden.... And I will give you rest".
Rest from the running.
Rest from Fear.
Rest from the hiding.
Rest from the guilt.
Rest from the heavy load.
No political ruling. No taking down flags. No amount of waving Signs saying what we are for or against. No amount of arguing will change hearts.
Now is the time to fall on our knees and pray for one another.
Now is the time to love like we have never loved.
Now is the time to carry the fallen to the one who remains faithful.
Now is the time for the Church to arise with love.
And they will know we are his followers by our love.