Tuesday, November 20, 2012
I've always been captivated by the sinful woman in Luke 7. She went to the Pharisee's home, she wet Jesus' feet with her tears, dried them with her hair and anointed them with expensive perfume.
She loved Jesus with such abandon... such courage... such boldness...
I have to admit, I've often wondered (with longing) what inspired her to love Jesus so freely? What compelled her, in the face of those who judged and condemned her (the Pharisees), to pour out her love so extravagantly?
Verse 47 gives us the answer, "Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." She loved much because she had been forgiven much.
But I am like the woman - I came to Jesus when I was older, my sins were many, I had been forgiven so much, and still my love felt restrained... It was confined by my fears of what others would think... It was limited by something I was missing in the story... Something that is not explicitly spelled out, but it is part of the essence of what Jesus did for her... He loved her... He forgave her... He accepted her.
She didn't have to fear the rejection of the Pharisees (or anyone else for that matter) because she had the complete and total acceptance of the one who created her!
Acceptance... the act of receiving something that is offered. Please know that I am not in any way suggesting we condone sin, but the sinful woman offered Him all that she had at the moment. She didn't wait until she was cleaned up... perfected... or worthy by the world's (or Pharisee's) standards. She simply went to Him in all of her sin and Jesus accepted her, she was enough... He received what was offered without a demand for more (or even better). He knew that what He offered would eventually transform her. Transformation is a journey and, like Jesus allows us, we need to allow people the grace for their own journey.
As I'm coming to understand more and more that Jesus loves and accepts me right where I am... that I cannot do one... no, not ONE thing... to make myself more loveable or acceptable to Him (He did it all on the cross), I am freed to love Him with abandon... without fear of what others will think... And I am freed to live by His grace, trusting the journey, that He will be faithful to complete the good work He began in me. I have to wonder though, how well do I reflect that acceptance to others?
As we enter into this wonderful season of Thanksgiving and Christmas, let's consider...
1. Has there been someone in your own life that offered you the gift of love, forgiveness and acceptance and showed you Jesus? For me it was my grandfather, Pop Charlie... (Feel free to leave a comment in honor of them.)
2. And... are we willing to offer the same gift to others? To family that we may not get along with? To those who disagree with us politically? To one whose sins we think are many? Are we willing to give the gift of acceptance in gratitude for what Jesus did for us? Maybe, like the woman in Luke 7, that's all that someone needs to begin their journey of experiencing the love and transforming grace of Jesus!