Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Woman I Aspire to Be

Every now and then, I start thinking about the kind of person I want to be perceived as, or the kind of woman I want to grow up to be. It’s interesting because I am kind of getting to live out my childhood dreams as I am working toward becoming a doctor, am living internationally, have worked in Africa among the people most of the world has forgotten, and am looking forward to living in Africa permanently one day. It’s seriously been such an amazing blessing from God to see how He has accomplished—and is accomplishing—the dreams that He put in my heart even before I knew Him. But the thing is, at the end of my life, I don’t want to be identified primarily as a small-town girl turned international doctor, who worked hard to serve God.

The kind of woman I ultimately would want to be known as is the kind of woman in Luke 7:37-38. Jesus had been invited to eat at a Pharisee’s house, and while they were dining, it says “a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at the table in a Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask filled with ointment, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet and anointed them with ointment.” The Pharisee continued by rebuking Jesus, saying that if He was truly a prophet, He would have known what kind of a woman it was that was touching Him. However, Jesus did know what kind of a woman was kissing and washing His feet, and it pleased Him. She knew her sin, and knew that she had been forgiven of much by Jesus as He allowed her to worship at her feet. Jesus said, “’Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave no water for my feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little’” (Luke 44-47).

I hate to admit it, but I think we—myself included—are often much more like the Pharisee than we are like the woman at His feet. We don’t realize how much we have been forgiven in order to be able to dine with Jesus, to commune with Him. Our perceptions on sin and holiness are skewed. We don’t see our small sins as repulsive and we don’t understand the purity and inapproachability of holiness. Instead we take communing with Jesus for granted. We, like the Pharisee, don’t approach Him with worship, or even common decency. Instead we come to Him with our laundry list of what we want from God, with our kingdoms ultimately on our minds instead of His kingdom. And when we see people who understand the amazing debt they have been forgiven and live a life of unashamed worship before Him, we shake our heads in disgust.

But that’s the kind of person I want to be known as—a woman who knows she’s been forgiven, and out of that worships unashamedly. I want my entire focus to be on worshiping and loving Him. That woman didn’t care how out of place she was in the home of a Pharisee, how she was “wasting” her ointment by pouring it all out on one man’s feet, or how she was making a fool out of herself by crying on, kissing, and wiping with her hair the feet of a traveling Rabi. I want to worship like that, so wrapped up in Him that nothing else around me matters. I want to know how much I have been forgiven of, and as a response I want to love much. Ultimately, at the end of my life, I want to be known as a woman who could boldly approach her King and Savior to worship Him in unashamed love because, knowing her sin and knowing His ability to forgive, could fathom no other response.