Master mistake makers, that's what we are. That's what my children are too. From spilled drinks, to potty training accidents, to forgetting to reign in their tempers, children make a ton of mistakes. You know what? As a parent, I make a ton of mistakes too. I make mistakes in dealing with my children's mistakes. Isn't that so silly?
What's sillier is when I forget that my children aren't perfect (usually when a mistake happens). What's sillier is when I get upset that they haven't learned this lesson we've been hitting on for the last x number of years. What's silly is forgetting that my children are learning and a big part of learning is making mistakes.
Mistakes. We all make them. We all make a LOT of them, even. Old, young, mature, immature, boy, girl, man, woman, no one can escape making mistakes. Even the Bible is full of people who made mistakes, big and small, these mistakes came in all shapes and sizes. But you know what the beautiful part of being a witness to these mistakes? Seeing how Jesus handled them.
Read Luke 7:36-50.
I just love this story. You have this woman who comes in with her alabaster box with the intention of interacting with Jesus. You have a crowd that reacts how we might expect. And we have Jesus who reacts in a way that I never saw coming.
You see, this woman is known as a sinner. Not in a joking sort of way, but in such a way that the crowd is visibly repulsed by her. Sinner = Master Mistake Maker. She's lived a life that doesn't reflect God or His values, yet she is so captivated by Jesus that she forces the issue. She comes in with her alabaster box. Let's stop for a second... SHE COMES IN WITH her alabaster box. Do you see it?
She came prepared to have this moment of worship with Jesus. She came prepared to see if what she had heard about Him was true. She came prepared to either make a fool out of herself or receive that forgiveness that she so longed for. SHE CAME PREPARED. When we enter Jesus' presence, are we prepared with our gift of worship? Are we prepared to ask His forgiveness for our many mistakes? Are we prepared to accept His forgiveness and love?
She came in and immediately noticed (how could she not?) the crowds' reaction to her presence. She saw them leaning to each other to whisper unkind words that didn't reflect God's heart. She saw them visibly repulsed by the person she was. And she didn't care. It didn't stop her from her mission to encounter Jesus.
She came in and fell at Jesus' feet. She wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. She kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment from her alabaster box. She poured out her worship. She poured out her love for Him. She reached for the One who would forgive her of her sins.
And did you notice how Jesus reacted in the midst of all of this? He wasn't ever put off by her response. He wasn't repulsed by her presence, even knowing of her "many sins." He was eager to defend her to the religious leaders. He was eager to forgive her of her sins. He spoke to her lovingly and not harshly. He spoke to her with grace and not hate.
So many times we think to ourselves that we've "done too much" to be worthy of the new life that He offers. We think that we've "done too much" to be loved by Him. But that's not what Jesus thinks! If He ever thought that way, He wouldn't have treated this woman with the compassion He did. He wouldn't have defended her. He wouldn't have lifted her face to meet His eyes and pronounced His beautiful words of forgiveness and salvation.
No, when we get lost in our thoughts of having "done too much" to be loved, accepted, or forgiven by Him. That's not from Jesus, that's from our enemy! Lean in close on this story. See how Jesus accepts this woman and changes her life completely. See how He shows her respect when the crowds only showed disgust!
When we approach our own children in the midst of their learning mistakes (like spilling a drink) or in the midst of their sin (lying, stealing, etc), what is our own demeanor? What do our words reveal to them? Do our words in the midst of their mistakes reveal a God who is as disgusted as those crowds were? Or do our words in the midst of mistakes reveal a God who is gracious, compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love? Do our words reveal hope or hopelessness? Forgiveness or complete condemnation? Love or hatred?
We're all human. We're all looking for genuine representatives of God. We're all looking for people who will respond to our own shortcomings with the compassion and grace and forgiveness that God shows us.
Can we strive to be genuine representatives of God for our own children? Can we strive to reveal Him to our children through our own words and actions?