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.
~Luke 7:37 NIV~
I used to wonder sometimes, will there ever be a time when I don’t feel like this woman? Having come through a long period of self-destructive behavior and found grace at the feet of the Savior, it would seem that I would be able to let go of the guilt and the shame that once defined my life. For the most part, I am. But the devil is sneaky. There are still some days when I’m haunted by things that I’ve not completely reconciled and though much healing has taken place, I’m just not where I need to be yet. Today, has been one of those days. Thankfully, the grace of my God makes the knowledge of my former brokenness bearable.
Our pastor mentioned something in a recent sermon that stirred a memory. When I had a quiet moment today, I went back through my notes to find a passage that I had written a couple of years ago. The pastor had re-written a passage of Scripture to capture the reality of today’s church. It wasn’t exactly the same subject, but the thought process was similar to some therapeutic writing I had done a while back when I was struggling with grief and trying to make sense of loss. In any case, I had the idea that if I were to write a story about myself for the Bible, it would look something like this:
1 And there was a woman named Rebecca who had lived a sinful life. 2 Once taught the word of God by false teachers, her knowledge of the Savior held no real understanding of the love He had shown by sacrificing His Son on the cross. 3 She wandered away from her faith and for a period of twenty years lived in darkness. 4 God placed in her life a man who became her husband, and the two lived in darkness together. 5 Having been blessed with one child, they tried in vain to have another, but in that time lost five children before they ever saw the light of day. 6 For ten years, she remained in that place before her brokenness became so unbearable that she called on Him. 7 “God, why have you allowed me to hurt in this way?” she cried out. 8 And she was consumed with sadness. 9 He answered her, saying, “Come home, daughter,” 10 And she found her way to Him, walking away from all that had constrained her. 11 Yielding to His love, she found truth and healing and finally received the beauty He had promised for her ashes.
The purpose of this writing was to help me figure out why I was still experiencing periods of grief when my life had been so completely restored. What I found was that my tendency is to reject God’s love because I feel so unworthy. And we are…unworthy…but not in the sense that we cannot and should not accept His grace and mercy. We will never be perfect and He didn’t create us to be perfect. He created us to love Him and to love one another with the same perfect love that He shows us.
Having been through a great deal of trauma in my life, some of which was self-inflicted and some the result of another’s brokenness, at times it has been difficult to see through the tears. But through forgiveness, prayer and faith, I have been learning that my purpose is to accept His love and to then give that love as a gift to others who are broken so that we each become a reflection of the Savior’s unchanging love for all of us.
The farther I walk with Him, the more the devil pursues and attempts to turn me around so that all I’m looking at is what lies behind. If I still feel like the woman with the alabaster jar, it is not God who is bringing about this condemnation. It is Satan’s attempt to keep me from receiving the great gift that he once rejected and continues to reject. So, with eyes forward, I take my steps confidently and with the knowledge that my future will not be like my past. He has made me new and what the devil doesn’t realize is that now, even if I turn to look back, I’m doing so through new eyes and with a new vision. And so, he cannot win.
Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
~Luke 7:48 NIV~