Who Cares What Simon Says

photo credit: leo.jeje @ creative commons
photo credit: leo.jeje @ creative commons

My pastor talked a couple weeks ago about the story recorded in Luke 7 of the sinful woman who came to a party, uninvited, and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. She then lavished her expensive perfume upon his feet. Simon, the host of the party and a Pharisee (church leader of the day), assumed that Jesus must not be a prophet because if he were, he would know what a sinner the woman was. His assumption was that if Jesus knew this woman was a prostitute, he would reject her. Certainly Simon would have.

 

But Simon was wrong on all counts. Not only did Jesus know what she did for a living, he knew that her heart had been changed by her faith in him. He knew that she was a new woman on the inside and he forgave her for her sins. Simon had no idea what was going on in the woman’s heart. He never would have known because he absolutely would never have allowed himself to be seen with her long enough to find out.

 

As I thought back on this story today I wondered how many walking wounded we have in our churches every Sunday. How many men and women have messed up their lives, fully acknowledged their sin, been forgiven by God…but still feel wounded because “the church” in general still sees them as a sinner? (Aren’t we all?)

 

When we make a mess of our lives, the church should be the first place we find comfort but often times people like this withdraw from everything…including the church. Because if their sin has been made public or has spread through the gossip circles, they get the same side-ways glances and hushed tones there that they might get at the grocery store or the soccer field. Too often, they aren’t made to feel loved and welcomed. Because too many times “the church” acts like Simon instead of Jesus. 

Photo credit: Lel4nd @ creative commons
Photo credit: Lel4nd @ creative commons

 

Now, this is not true of all churches. When I say “the church” I mean it in a general sense…any organized religious group. But all churches have one thing in common…they are populated by humans. And humans will disappoint.

 

Has this happened to you? If it hasn’t yet it’s just a matter of time. At some point, a human in a church will let you down. Bank on it. We all mess up. But just because you have been hurt by someone in a church doesn’t mean you’ve been hurt by God.

 

We can ascribe God-like characteristics to the church. But we really shouldn’t ascribe church-like characteristics to God. We get all turned upside down when we do that. God sees the parts of us that no one else does. He knows if we are truly sorry for our sins even if the woman on the second pew doesn’t. God is Jesus, not Simon.

 

So, if you are being a Simon; stop it. You don’t know all that’s going on in people’s lives. We are simply called to love God and love others. If you’re showing Jesus’s love to people who have walked (or crawled) through life-altering lessons, keep it up! And if you’re the woman with the perfume; hold your head up, let Jesus dry your tears and don’t worry about what Simon says.

It’s all Good

My dear friends,

So I’m going to give a little clarification for yesterday’s Honest Post. I am truly okay. While I shared with you the empty, dry place I’m in, I should tell you that I see it as a good thing. Because I recognize that I need to allow God to heal the broken parts of me and I’m ready for that. I haven’t been. I’ve been in a place where I didn’t know what to feel. A place where I didn’t feel free to share what I was going through and that made me feel like I was trapped and not being real. And you probably know me well enough to know that I hate not real.

When I wrote that prayer in my journal yesterday I just had an overwhelming urge to share it with you all. And I’m glad I did. Because my heart for this blog is to be an encouragement for people…even when I’m not having a great day…or week…or year. Here’s the first of many comments and emails that came in:

“Rebekah your honesty is what keeps me reading your posts. I love how you just put it all out there. Also you may not know this but most of your posts I feel like are God using you to speak to me. So thank you for being God’s instrument in my life.”

I’m willing to be honest and vulnerable because I’ve learned that if I’m going through something, someone else can probably relate and may just need to hear they are not alone. So, if you are one of the people who said I struck a chord with you, stay in touch. Let me know how you’re doing. And I promise I’ll do the same here. I know God has great things in store and I can’t wait to tell you what he’s teaching me.

I appreciate all of you who have told me you’re praying for me. I’ll take that! But I also don’t want you to worry about me. I’m on my way back. I promise. It’s all good.

Photo credit: GreenLakeBlue Photography on Creative Commons

 

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