Another step down into the hazy, deeper, covered parts of our hearts where words are better to be whispered intently as to let them escape into normal conversation. This is new, hallowed ground for all of us to be treading together. Grace like a scandal frees hearts held unknowingly in much more than innocence - in ignorance.
Child, you are not free. Since our eyes first witnessed life and day, sin holds both you and me. Liberty, a mirage vanishing in the heat of day burning hot and older.
As we moved into the second week of Lent together as a family, I read aloud a story in Scripture that moved my daughters’ hearts (Luke 7:36-50). In the story, a man named, Simon, who was a righteous man known by good deeds and effort invited Jesus into his home for dinner. Jesus accepted and reclined at table as Simon’s guest. Upon hearing of Jesus’ presence at Simon’s house, a woman enters into the story and not with little disturbance. Her affection interrupts Simon’s dinner conversation as she kisses Jesus’ feet washed in her tears and expensive perfume and wiped clean not with a towel but with her own hair.
In judgement, Simon, the right doer, reduces the woman to a dirty sinner unfit for their company and Jesus to a disproved prophet fooled by the woman he allowed to care for him. How could this woman share a table with Simon who deserved a seat with Jesus? Why wouldn’t Jesus correct her and send her away?
He must not be all that He claims to be, not by my standard or god I know. This is what raced through Simon’s right doer mind.
How often we judge right and wrong by our own hand and effort. And how wrong we are with repetitive regularity.
Last night we read through this story again and the question still hung between us.
“Dad, did she really kiss Jesus’ feet and use her hair to dry them? Why would she do that? Seems kinda inappropriate.”
And maybe that’s the best description of grace: inappropriate. Appropriately, we should be accused called guilty for the sin we harbor within - the anger, the hatred, the lust, the lying, the selfishness - but we are not.
Together we talked about the gift of God, grace, and like the shameless woman, our response to God’s inappropriate love of us.
My challenge as a parent is to lead us into the undoing of our hearts bound by sin and marred in two dimensional right and wrong; to allow grace room enough for its roots to press deep down and break heavy soil loose and free. For my daughters to know God as a plenteous giver of grace and acceptance is to set their hearts free ready for their days ahead. One day they may find themselves marginalized by their decisions, dirty in their doing, cornered in by mistakes and rejected by all right. Grace will be there and I want them to recognize its fearless reach.
::::::: He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. [Psalm 1.3]