8.10.12

The Sinner

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     "If this man were a prophet, He would know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner..." -- LUKE 7:39

She's an outcast. A nobody. Probably a prostitute. Despised by all except her employers. She's a disgrace to society, worthy of stoning. No one who was respectable associated or looked upon someone of her filthy trade.

To top the icing on the cake, she randomly shows up at a private dinner party and falls at the feet of Jesus. What's even worse, she grabs the feet that not even John would untie the sandal throngs from. She didn't just grab them and spill her torrent of tears on them - she kissed them.

The pharisee watching exploded - this woman is a sinner! Is this Jesus too blind to see that He is associating with this woman? Jesus should have sent the blubbering wretch away from His presence seconds before.

Humans see people. When I look at you, I automatically come up with my opinion of you before you utter a word. We, as humans, love the lovable - the ones we can get along with. We're attracted to the attractive. We avoid the dimwits, the hygiene deficient, and the "questionable" characters we meet through life. The broken, the "naughty" the filthy, dirty, scraggly-bearded homeless - we'd choose to ignore. Everyone knows that most (therefore all) homeless people can't be trusted! Everyone knows that the street prostitutes are despicable! We don't enjoy the company of ex-convicts, or tattooed folks with language stinkier than a garbage bin. The girls who dress like goths or beach bums, with the gaudy makeup and ten-foot stiletto heels do not associate with proper folk.

And then God says: He looks at the heart. He said Himself that He didn't come for the righteous white-washed pillars, but for the unrighteous. That's broken-hearted and the repentant, folks. He didn't condemn the filthy rotten to leave Him alone and go find another Savior. He sought out the sinners, the outcasts, the ugly, even the demented. To the broken He gave healing, and to the stupid He gave wisdom. The ones the world categorizes as least worthy of love received it. The prostitutes were not ignored. The heathen were not destroyed. Contrarily, the pious-righteous were passed by as He reached His hand to the garbage.

Naturally, red flags go up. W-a-a-a-a-i-i-t a minute, God! What about all the folks who are really good? God doesn't really ignore the good people in this world. We know the Pharisees were arrogant, but not like the good, righteous, Christian girls - we're not like that! We're better than the prostitutes who gave up their dignity. We're more comely than the make-up drowned fashion models!

Somewhere in the Bible it is said it's harder for a rich man to get into the kingdom of God than a camel going through the eye of a needle. I would argue, it's even harder for a righteous person to get into the kingdom of God. Actually, it's impossible. Because somewhere else in the Bible it is also said that there are none righteous.

How easy for me to rationalize that so-and-so can't be saved, because their life proves it. To prove that I must assume no one can sin after they're saved, or else they're not saved. I hope you agree that's a stupid statement and that's impossible. I remember seeing a man tattooed completely all over his face, but referred to as "our brother". I was thinking, "ummm??" If you think you're righteous (you can get by with those daily "little" sins) - there's something seriously wrong with your theology.

I don't know about you, but do you ever have those moments when you are like super spiritual? It's not like you're super spiritual but you know that you're deep down better than - say - your best friend. Or that new Christian girl who still dresses like...a Christian wouldn't dream of dressing. (It probably didn't occur to you that the way you treat your siblings can be just as despicable as how she dresses, so you both are in error but are still saved).

Thoughts like that alone prove that you're not.  If we, as Christian girls come to that period of self-righteousness, we completely dumb down the whole gospel, repentance, God's grace and inflate our image, reputation, and a works based salvation (which is non-existent). We open the door wide for gossip, arrogance, and twisting the gospel for who we think Jesus can save.

I remember complaining to my blogger friend Kendra about not feeling spirituality strong. I really wanted to be a strong Christian and I just wasn't. All I could see of myself was my miserable existence my frequent mistakes, and my incredible weaknesses. She responded, frankly telling me she didn't think anyone was a strong Christian. Their strength is not themselves but God in them. Which we, after all, know that is true.

I guess for me, I never really thought about it much. To me, it's very disappointing that I'm not righteous or strong, hopelessly weak, making mistakes 24/7, and barging into the throne room weeping at Jesus's feet. 

On the other hand, isn't it exciting that even though we are weak, miserable, ridiculous, cowards, and sinners by trade - that God can pour His strength and demonstrate His power through creatures such as us?

I think it is.

3 comments:

  1. This was an epic blog post. You hit the nail right on the head.

    And I AM going to reply to your email. soon.

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  2. I agree with Kendra...epic. Powerful. And just what a bunch of college girls were talking about yesterday.

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  3. Bethany —
    I read that passage (Luke 7:36-50) this morning and was thinking about that same thing - how if you (think) you are righteous, you can't really love God like you should, because you won't really understand how much He has forgiven you. You are being proud.
    This is illustrated in the story Jesus told — “There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most.” And he said unto him, “Thou hast rightly judged.” (Luke 7:41-43)
    And remember this verse (one of my favorites!):
    2 Corinthians 12:9
    “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
    This was an excellent post! Amen and amen.
    Saved by HIS blood alone,
    Katelyn

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