Friday, November 1, 2013

Worthless Worth

  Tonight I found an old prayer journal from 2004. I was reading through it and kind of laughing at some immaturity, thanking God for answered prayers, marveling at things I wrote then that still surface in my life now. I am in awe at the things that seemed so hazy then are now clear as day. 

  There was one particular entry that jumped out at me. It's subject is one of those threads that I see has woven itself in my life through every season, every change of location, every storm. And every time I look at it I see something different. I see with more clarity than I did the last time I looked at it. 
The Journal entry starts with the story from Luke 7:36

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a] and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet.47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
 my journal entry after wards reads on: 

" The woman in this story, a sinner, went in and began to wash Jesus' feet with her tears and anointed His feet with oil. The Pharisee who had invited Him got upset and said to Jesus " Don't you know who she is?!" Jesus told the pharisee, " This woman has not CEASED to kiss my feet, to worship me". He forgave the told the woman that her sins were forgiven her

  This woman KNEW who she was. She had done things she wasn't proud of. BUT... she knew who HE was. She recognized her Lord, her deliverer, and she begin to worship Him. Whether we are worth or not ( none of us are), HE IS WORTHY!"

  This dilemma of worthiness is one I have come face to face with time and time again. And every time I hear Him say.. " But I AM WORTHY". Regardless of who I am and what I have done...He is worthy. 

  Tonight as I read again, I saw things through the lens of a friend and pastors wife who has seen countless people who are struggling with their worth. I have sat across a table at coffee shops from women who were despairing and depressed, I have hosted families in my living room who are dealing with the aftermath of controlling and spiritually abusive leaders from their past. Teenagers and adults alike who have made mistakes and have been condemned by the authority figures in their lives. All struggling with their worth. 

 And I have ZERO experience with what they are going through. 

  Here's what I say to them, as a christian, as a sister in the Lord and as a pastors wife... Jesus loves you. Jesus knows you and He loves you. 

   Let me just tell you right now... any person I have ever talked to or counseled that was struggling with sin... they knew they were sinning!! No one had to tell them so. Though, people did anyway and instead of driving them into the arms of Christ, I saw many people covering and hiding in shame. 

   I believe STRONGLY in accountability and speaking the truth in love, but that's referring to brothers and sisters who are in Christ. This scripture is referencing "sinners", those who do not acknowledge Jesus as their Lord and savior.  

  When we tell people who Jesus is, it doesn't matter who they are. The woman in the story did not worship at Jesus feet because she was clean and pure and Holy. She most certainly did not have her life together. She knew who she was... AND SO DID HE!! She poured herself out to Him because, upon recognizing JESUS, she could not contain herself. She did not do it to attain worth, she did it because she recognized His worth. Right there before all of the snooty, self-righteous religious jerks, she found herself totally abandoned in worship of the One who had the power to cleanse her and forgive her. She worshiped not out of religious ritual or compulsion... she worshiped out of deep gratefulness. God saw her, HE KNEW! Yet He received her worship because "a broken heart and a contrite spirit He cannot deny". Psalm 51:17.

  The greatest day of my life was the day that I finally accepted that Jesus knew me..REALLY knew the ugly, bitter, twisted, depressed, despairing, striving me and He accepted me any way! He could see the darkness in my heart and He STILL received my worship. He said to me " Monica, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE. Do you know who I am?" 

 There is no need to shame and condemn a sinner. Chances are great that they know they are sinning ( I know I do) and are struggling under the heavy burden of guilt. Rules and harsh restrictions never changed a person. But I tell you from personal experience, the Love of Jesus will reach into the deepest darkest soul and touch them in an eternal way. If we will only present the Jesus of the Bible, push people to a relationship with Him, then there is no need for mans words. They ( we) know who they (we) are, but do they (we) know who HE IS!! When people see Jesus in us, when we live in such a way that our selfish motives don't get in the way, they too will worship in gratitude and abandonment. They will bring their best, they will come as broken and cracked vessels and lay it all at His feet. Oh how beautiful is that picture! 
Just give them Jesus. 

1 comment:

Dana Burns said...

Just logged in to blog myself and saw you had a new post. I was so blessed to read this! I love your blogs! I love your heart!