My Country Quest

Follow along our journey back to the land. This is where we will record our thoughts, musings and dealings with terrible dragons right here for your viewing pleasure.

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Location: Missouri, United States

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Jesus, Friend of Sinners


DISCLAIMER: I’m going to preface this little essay by making a couple of disclaimers. One) I’m not preaching to you. I’m talking to myself, or rather, regurgitating what Jesus has been telling me lately. So if you take offense at me personally, dig deeper. Get out the Scriptures, pray, seek God. Then feel free to throw tomatoes if you want to. I’m a really good spaghetti sauce maker. ;) Two) I am realizing the amazing ability God has of custom-creating an educational program for each one of us. So if this course I’ve been assigned doesn’t fit your needs, please show grace and allow it to be as it the Lord intended it: for ME. Now… with no further ado…

Jesus said, “Be ye holy, even as I am holy.” If holiness was illustrated in the life of Christ, and none of us will argue his holiness, what did Jesus do while he was here? While he was in the flesh? He was known as the “friend of sinners”. He was ridiculed for that, cast out by the religiously pious leaders of his community, frowned upon. Tongues clicked as He walked by, heads shook. Only the lowly and destitute, the really AWFUL people saw Him for what He was and loved Him. For He was and IS the bodily, flesh and blood epitome of GRACE and LOVE. And that was something the church of Jesus’ day had failed miserably to show them. I am of the opinion that many of us, I at least, have failed in that endeavor as well. I am resolved to be right where Jesus would be if He were walking the earth today. Among the lowly. The cast-offs. The lost and undone. Jesus was holiness in the flesh. And I want to be holy - to keep that command to be holy. So I have to look deep into what holy IS. It’s not what I thought.

In all of my “well-doing” as home school mom, Proverbs 31 Wife-Wanna-Be, I forgot the most important call on my life. To show God’s love and grace to anyone and everyone who would hear it. And I’m ashamed to admit that I was so busy trying to create perfect, cookie-cutter children, molding their flesh and not their hearts, that I didn’t show these things to them either. I delegated “ministry” to men. I sat back on my laurels and consoled myself that making myself, my appearance, appear holy I could be a witness. No. I was wrong. Dead wrong. And I’ll tell you why.

The harder I tried to “look holy” or set-apart, look like a “light” , etc. the more I lose credibility with the world as a bringer of light. Either I’m a light or I’m not. Why am I trying so hard to “look” like something? The world isn’t fooled. Doesn’t matter at all whether I’m a candle, an incandescent light bulb or a florescent tube. If I am in Christ and have His light, then I’ll shine. I will attract the bugs. (sorry, couldn’t resist) The package doesn’t matter unless it dims my light. And I don’t think pants dim my light. In our culture, often I am finding, dresses do with regard to drawing sinners to myself so I can share that light.

When I ask an unbeliever (or someone who we judge to be an unbeliever based on their lack of church attendance) why they don’t want what “I” have. I am finding that many of them already have Jesus. They just don’t want the church. They don’t want the hypocrisy, the fake, the money hungry, the power-plays. Good for them. Jesus and His first disciples didn’t want the modern church either. They don’t want to see a woman in a dress and head covering yelling at her children (not that anyone I know does that) or ignoring and belittling her husband and then have that same woman try to pretend to be “holy“. No amount of calico, long skirts or batiste headgear can cover up the hypocrisy. Often, I am finding, people aren’t rejecting Christianity. Not at all. They are rejecting the church as it exists today. And I was doing more harm than good by trying to stand out, be a “silent witness”. Bunk. Where is that in Scripture???

See, here’s the problem with trying to “look holy”.

People don’t buy it. It’s just too hard of a sell. No one is that “pure”. That “untouched” by the world. No one. Jesus surely wore the clothing of His day, as did the women he was in contact with. Modesty was an issue then, there was prostitution then, and homosexuality, and cross-dressers and pimps. It wasn’t any prettier of a world that Jesus walked into then it is today. Yet he spent all of his time on matters of the heart. Not the flesh. I find it interesting that Jesus didn’t give one sermon on how to dress. Specifically. No. He didn’t. Modesty yes, pants vs. skirts? NO.

The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man,neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so [are] abomination unto the LORD thy God.
~Deuteronomy 22:5

When I quoted this Scripture (the only one I could find actually) for the “dresses only” argument…BOY! Forgive me LORD!!! I was so WRONG!!!! It is talking about men dressing as women! And women dressing as men! Transvestites!!! Because traditionally in Hebrew culture, men wore skirts. There are roughly a dozen references to men’s skirts. So according to this argument … logically, I am sinning by wearing a skirt!!! And even if one interprets it as is commonly done, then, it could be said that it is part of the old covenant. So do we really want to go there? I can’t even pretend to never eat pork again… goodness. What would I do without bacon? J Can’t obey one without obeying them all can we? (see James 2:10) I think, if it were important to Jesus, He would have told us. Don’t you? He had bigger fish to fry. People were going to hell. Not because of their clothes for goodness sake, nor even of their lifestyle. But because of their HEARTS being far from Him. And I have bigger fish to fry too, since I’ve been hit upside the head with the frying pan (lol).

So there you have it, MY MYTH #1 debunked. I don’t have to wear anything specifically, as long as it is modest, because Jesus judges my heart if He judges anything, not my denim skirt. Don’t panic, my dear dresses-only friends. I honor and accept and respect your position. And I would not for a second try to influence your conviction on the matter. That is the HOly Spirit's job. Not mine. I’m just sharing MY journey here. Not yours. I’m not pointing fingers. Truly. And don’t expect to see me in Levi’s anytime soon. I was raised Pentecostal for pity’s sake. lol But I no longer have an illogical and unproven reason for guilt over wearing them if I choose to. And I am toying with the possibility that they (dresses) may even hinder my ability to share the light if I wear them for the reasons I was wearing them for.

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