When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
I don’t know about you, but that passage really challenges me. Why? Because I think, I can often be like Simon the Pharisee. I obey “the law”, I live a “good life” and even better, I’m Jesus friend. But I’m keen to forget the fact that by obeying the law, I often become legalistic in my lifestyle, that I only have a good life not a perfect one, and that Jesus is my friend because he was first my Saviour. But, that selective forgetfulness is an issue. By forgetting that Jesus Christ is my Saviour, I often feel I can start to love him less, because I also forget just how desperately I need him in my life.
By forgetting about my sinful life and by rationalising the sin in my life as only natural, I end up editing myself. I present myself to God as a better version, which is an issue in itself. But when I do that, I also reduce the debt that I perceive to owe God, and so like in Jesus’s parable my love for God decreases. Like Simon, I only love God a little. I don’t offer to wash his feet, or anoint his head with oil, or even give him a kiss. By rationalising the sin in my life, I no longer perceive my need for my Saviour Jesus Christ and become content with Jesus my friend.
In contrast, the sinful woman is fully aware of her sin, and by her very awareness of her own shortcomings, she enters Jesus’s presence with a much greater attitude of love. Yes, the expensive perfume that she poured on Jesus’s head would have probably been bought using the money gained through prostitution, but she is honouring and worshipping God where she is at.
Whilst we shouldn’t be living lives that embrace sin, we can (and should) as this passage shows celebrate and worship Jesus for coming to and dying for us in order to save us from ourselves. Regardless of our sin, whether we perceive it to be big or small, we need to be worshipping God because of what he’s done for us. I think it’s important to remember that we’re never going to be perfect enough to worship God on our own, because for God: sin is sin. There is no hierarchy, it’s just sin. The only way we can come to God, is through the purifying blood of Jesus.
So like the sinful woman, let’s get honest with God, acknowledge not justify our sin, and love him more because of our need for him.
When we’re struggling with our sin, let’s cry out in our desperation, asking him to come into the situation, rather than push him further away because of what we’ve done.
And in doing so, let’s worship God with all of our life, repent of our sin and embrace our Saviour showering him with our love from the bottom of our hearts because we know how much we desperately need him.
Jess Vaughan is a Student Forgee. She graduated from the University of York last summer