When Emotions Get Ugly
"In you, O Lord, do I take refuge;let me never be put to shame! In your righteousness deliver me and rescue me; incline your ear to me, and save me! Be to me a rock of refuge, to which I may continually come; you have given the command to save me, for you are my rock and my fortress." Psalm 71:1-3
How does it make you feel knowing that God is your rock, your refuge? In what ways can this truth diffuse anger and calm an anxious heart?
Think of times when your worst comes out. Perhaps there is something in your life that is a constant battle to overcome. What if, when you look into the mirror of God's Word, your ugliness was reflected back? You can't hide it or use some sort of makeup to cover it. Instead, try running straight into God's presence. He will always accept you no matter what you look like.
In the Gospel of Luke, we read about an encounter Jesus had with a sinful woman (Luke 7:36-50). The setting is a Pharisee's house at mealtime. The Pharisee was curious about this so-called prophet and wanted to check Him out for himself. Just as they had situated themselves at the dinner table, in walks a woman. A woman of her sinful status was clearly not welcome in this Pharisee's house.
It took a boldness and deep trust in Jesus to come in this way. She had a deep sense that He would not send her away or be embarrassed to be seen by her. (I wonder if there is another story not included in Scriptures of how Jesus won this woman's trust.)
Christ knew, and the Pharisee knew, that she had some serious sin issues in her life. Maybe she was a prostitute? Maybe she was a thief? Whatever the sin, she was ugly with it.
Somehow, the woman found out Jesus was a guest at this Pharisee's house and seized her opportunity to confess her ugliness and sin to Jesus. She was overcome with conviction of her sins in Christ's presence--so much so that she began to cry. She cried so many tears that they dripped all over Jesus' feet. From the Pharisee's point of view, she was a no-good, trespassing sinner with no regard for tradition and rules of Jewish etiquette of the day. He probably considered this emotional charade truly offensive as it went against Jewish tradition.
But the woman didn't care about Jewish rules and neither did Jesus. She had something inside that needed to get out and be forgiven. She wanted to made clean and Jesus was the only One to do it.
The Pharisee, Simon, mumbled to himself: "If Jesus really was a prophet, He would know who this woman is and what sins she has committed."
Simon was working on the assumption that if Jesus was a prophet, an outwardly pious man like Simon, He too would be offended by her actions. In true Jesus fashion, He replied to Simon's musings with a hypothetical question. "Simon, say that a creditor has two men owing him money. One guy owes 500 bucks and the other 50 bucks. Neither of the men had the money to repay, and the creditor graciously released them of their debts. Which man is going to like this creditor more?"
Simon replies, "I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt."
"Correct," Jesus replied and goes further. "Simon, you didn't wash my feet with water when I arrived at your house, but this woman has washed my feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. You have not greeted me with the traditional greeting of a kiss, and she hasn't stopped kissing my feet ever since I came in. You have not even anointed my head with oil, and here she has brought her most expensive perfumed oil to anoint my feet."
Jesus then forgave her sins because he saw her heart was over-flowing with love for Him. He turns his attention to the woman and assures her, "your faith has saved you. Go in peace."
What the Pharisees deemed an offensive act of emotion, Jesus made into something beautiful and priceless. He replaced her sadness and turmoil with peace.
Lord, when my emotions get ugly, bring hope and healing. Replace sadness and turmoil with peace Make something beautiful out of my life. Amen.