Thursday, June 20, 2013

Who's the Master of Your Heart?

At the end of chapter 7 of Luke’s gospel, Jesus is the guest in the home of a Pharisee.  Jesus is reclining at table, when a woman, a reputed sinner, enters the home and bathes Jesus’ feet with oil.  The Pharisee is, of course, appalled.  We all tend to wag our finger at the self-righteousness of the Pharisee, but there’s another level to this story.  This is the story to the brokenness that is in each of us, and a key that helps to unlock the grace of God’s healing.
In each of us, there are parts of our hearts that we have given to the Lord…and places we haven’t.  Where we carry hurt, where we’re wounded, where we resist God, where we are out of communion with Him, these are places we have not given to the Lord.  These are places of pain that we all experience- fear, abandonment, rejection, despair, hopelessness, hurt from others.  To protect ourselves from this pain, we build structures around our pain to protect ourselves.  Those structures often look a lot like the Pharisee in our story- rigid, hardness of heart and skepticism.  So, this story is the story of God’s redemption and healing, and how to get there.
As I read the story, I found myself asking, “Why is Jesus at the Pharisee’s house?”  It doesn’t appear that Jesus has a particular affinity for this Pharisee, and the Pharisee has no affinity for Jesus at all.  The Pharisee thinks to himself, “If this man [Jesus] were a prophet….”.  So, he is testing the proposition that Jesus might be a prophet.  But, when he speaks to Jesus, he calls him by the rather generic term, “Teacher”.  Yet, Jesus is “reclining at table”, apparently relaxed and quite comfortable.  Then, it hit me.  Jesus is waiting.  He is waiting for HER.
Jesus could have met her anywhere, in the street, in her home, anywhere.  Why here?  Not, as you might be inclined to think, to shame or humiliate her.  Instead, Jesus was drawing out her heart, to help her desire Jesus (healing) more than anything else, to press through shame, self-condemnation, rejection, isolation into healing, into the presence of Jesus.
The Pharisee, and what he represents, stands between the woman and Jesus the healer.  The healer was in the house, waiting, reclining at table.  When we pray for healing, we sometimes say, “Come Lord Jesus, into my hurt and pain.  Heal me.”  We might do better to realize that He’s already inside the house, reclining at table, waiting for us to come in.    It is we who have to step into the interior of our own house, walk through the door of condemnation, rejection, or abandonment, whatever that door is for us.
And waiting on the other side, right there, is Jesus, the healer of my heart and the lover of my soul.  He embraces my brokenness and ministers to my hurt and pain.  As we bring the abject brokenness of our lives to Jesus, he gives us a new identity, the truth of who we really are, the value of our relationship to Him.
In each of us, there are parts of our lives and hearts that belong to God.  And there are parts of our lives and hearts that belong to a Pharisee who we may think is protecting us.  But he is not.  And in each of us is the woman, sinful and hurting, with only a Pharisee standing between us and the grace of healing.

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