She dresses inappropriately. Seriously, you don’t wear those kind of clothes to church, nor do you move like that.
Every time I saw her, she seemed to raise the annoyance meter in my chest. Worse than that, she was distracting. I couldn’t take my eyes off her odd display during worship.
No one should act in a way that pulls your attention off of God, especially at church.
If I could have complained to a friend, I would have. She wasn’t honoring God. Plus, everywhere I went, she was pulling my eyes away from God with her inappropriate behavior. I explained to my husband that I didn’t like her.
And then it struck me: “Who’s the sinner here?”
She is worshipping; I am the one ready to gossip. She has eyes on God; I am the one distracted because I only see her. She is being herself; I am judging and whispering mean things about her to my husband after church.
I knew my heart was in the wrong place. I was acting like a Judas. One who said to the extravagant outpouring of Mary’s perfume on Jesus, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold? Why wasn’t the money given to poor people? It was worth a year’s pay.” (Jo. 12:5)
My heart sank. I knew, “I must get to the heart of her story, rather judge her outward appearance.”
So I did. And as I spent time with her, I uncovered her story. I learned of her hard-knock-life background, her years of tears, her hiding of her true self, and the shame that came with all her pain. Now, in Christ, she doesn’t hold back that she is a hundred percent free. She explained how she’s now an extravagant lover of Jesus’s heart.
Am I? Am I a lover or a scoffer?
Jesus replied to the naysayers of Mary’s generous outpouring. “Leave her alone, she has done a beautiful thing to me.” (Mk. 14:6)
I want to do a beautiful thing to Jesus. Don’t you? Perhaps it begins at the place of letting go of others, so we can let ourselves go in new, surrendered ways to Christ.*
*I recently read the book, Unseen, by Sara Hagerty. So much in the book resonated with my heart, but especially her story of judging a person for their love of Christ. She told of Mary and the extravagant outpouring. This similar story was largely inspired by her story and her beautiful words about Mary. I highly recommend Sara’s book. If you are in an unseen place or a place of searching out God, her words will bring life and light to your soul.
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3 CommentsLeave a comment
Love this, Kelly! It us so easy to judge, and even easier to miss getting to know the beautiful souls underneath the less-than-perfect exteriors. Glad you took the step to get to know her. Beautiful story.
I was like that too, I don’t like for people to get caught up in worship like a rock concert, and then go on living the same sinful way, but He knows hearts not me, and we are all different, with one thing in common,needing Jesus.
Hi Kelly! I love that phrase “letting go of others” I want that more in my life also. I caught myself describing a new acquaintance as “upity” in her behavior. I based it on only a couple of short meetings with her. I did not like my judgmental behavior and began to look at myself.
My mother made a very interesting statement that really put me in my place (as a human with my own flaws). She said, “I wonder how we would describe our clone when we met her?” Well this one right here (me) is quite the critic based on my judging someone I barely know.
Funny thing is I would judge my clone as a critical person – the last thing I want to be. After considering my clone, I strive to now “give them a chance” or as you put it so wonderfully “let go of others.”
Thanks for the new mantra as they like to call it today!