Here is an encouraging thought: God might be showing us more grace than we are accepting.
I used to think that most humans’ only mistake was denying the sins they committed, or their need for forgiveness.
Then I grew up, learned to be hard on myself, and realized that we also fail to fully accept the grace God is offering.
When I mess up, it’s a hard battle to not let it wreck my day. Many of us, whether parents or single, pastors or congregants, inhabitants of any job, could say the same. Our competitive world rewards perfection. We’re competing for scraps of success, love, and security. We intuitively sense that any flaw will get us lapped, so we drive ourselves. Hard.
It spills over into our relationship with God. We never think we’re good enough to enter his presence. (And by ourselves, we’re not.)
And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house. She brought an alabaster jar of fragrant oil and stood behind Him at His feet, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears. She wiped His feet with the hair of her head, kissing them and anointing them with the fragrant oil.
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him — she’s a sinner! ” (Luke 7:37-39)
Even before we go any further into this rich passage, we get a stunning lesson in God’s grace from the simple fact that Jesus does not drive this woman away.
It’s established that she’s a sinner. The obvious Jewish expectation is that Jesus would repel her for her past. He does not.
The feet of Jesus are exactly where we belong after we have sinned.
I briefly had a Muslim housemate in college. During a conversation, he admitted that he had no way of knowing whether his fastidious adherence to the Five Pillars of Islam was getting him anywhere with God. Every time he sinned, or even forgot an observance, he feared eternal destruction. Zero assurance.
We can strut about how awful that existence sounds, but are we any different? Do we “approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time” (Hebrews 4:16)? Typically, no. I think we hold off until we’ve “shaped up” (itself an unreliable assessment) before we feel God is near.
But the Cross and the Empty Tomb were given so that we could approach him. Relying on our own effort would preempt his credit. Jesus’ sojourn in the Pharisees’ house is meant to foreshadow this new and living way.
If you’re “in” with Christ, yet being hard on yourself today, remember the torture and effort God went through so that you needn’t. His grace is greater.
I’m glad you tuned in today. If you found this post to be of value, please feel free to share it on social media. Thanks a bunch!