Weekly Reflection (NEW!)
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Please read Luke 7:36--49 in your Bible.
As I was sitting on a van waiting to be taken to the airport, I overheard a conversation that might be of some help to all the men who read this. These two women were talking about this couple they knew who were in new relationship. One of the women said, "I can't believe he's talking baby talk to her. Why is he doing that? You really know you have a man whipped when he'll talk baby talk with you." There it is. Remember that.
That whole conversation caused me to think about relationships and how much too often they are unhealthy. One person wants to dominate the other. One person wants to be in control of the other. This can take the form of maybe getting the other to talk baby talk, restricting other relationships, controlling the other's time, or even more abusive behaviors. Why do we want to be in charge so badly?
This leads me to consider our relationship with God. Does God want us to be whipped? Does God want to dominate us? I really struggled with this. Immediately I thought of the prophet Hosea and how God commanded him to marry a prostitute to show God's faithfulness to the people of Israel. God was shown to be as a lover wooing the people to fall in love with him. I thought of the beginning of the Ten Commandments where God says, "I am the Lord your God." Then the "do's and don't's" are listed. I read through the Song of Solomon, but really didn't find a good description of our relationship with God there either. The problem had become that I had this preconceived notion and was looking for a scripture passage to support.
In our relationships with each other we are equals, and treating each other as equals is how it should be. I was trying to work it out in my head somehow that we are equals with God in our relationship to God. The Bible kept me honest, however. We are not equals with God even when it comes to our relationship with God. The woman who kept weeping and washing Jesus' feet with her hair knew this.
Her sins had been many. She had lived a life filled with wrongs, but Jesus, God among us, loved her anyway. This broke the woman. All she could do was show her gratitude. All she could do was weep at Jesus' feet. Jesus had her whipped, right? Jesus could have left her there in complete adoration of who Jesus is. Jesus could have kept her under his thumb. But that is not the relationship God wanted with her. Jesus tells her, "Your sins have been forgiven; your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Jesus didn't want her left paralyzed at his side so he spoke the words we all long to hear, "Your sins are forgiven. Your faith has saved you. Go in peace." Jesus sent her out to tell others of the great love of God. Jesus sent her out to show the same kind of love to others that had been shown to her. That's the relationship God wants to have with all of us. God doesn't want us whipped into submission. No! God forgives our sins and sends us out assured of God's love and full of Good News for others. We are not God's equals. God is in charge, and God sends us out in peace gratefully forgiven and miraculously healed.
Pray that God will forgive you of the sin in your life. Pray that God will bring forth tears of gratitude. Pray that God will give you assurance and peace. Pray that God you will send you out for the sake of others.