Girlies, do you ever feel like you have to put on a perfect public persona whenever you leave the house? I recently was reading Luke 5:27-39–where Jesus calls the tax collector, Levi (Matthew), to follow Him–and realized something new about the verses.
After calling Levi, Jesus goes to his house for a party and eats with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees start complaining, asking His disciples why Jesus is eating with sinners. Jesus overhears their complaints and answers them.
Jesus answered, ‘Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick; I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance’ (Luke 5:31).
Jesus wasn’t telling the Pharisees that He saw them as righteous. He was telling them that if they wanted to spend time with Him and be a part of what His Father was doing, they first needed to admit they weren’t the perfect examples of righteousness they made themselves out to be. They would have to admit they were sinners who needed Him.
People often tell others who struggle with addictions that admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery; this is essentially what Jesus was telling the Pharisees. The Pharisees had become addicted to everyone thinking that they were perfect. They felt safe behind the “I’ve got it all together” persona they showed to the world. Jesus told them that to be with Him, they needed to admit that their true situation was different than what they let people see.
Before you run off and “encourage” others to get real about who they are and what their lives are like, I want you to keep something very important in mind: When the Pharisees were encouraged to get real, Jesus was doing the encouraging. Jesus loved them despite the stuff they didn’t let anyone else see. If you’re going to encourage others to get real about their lives, then you need to be prepared to show them the same kind of love, grace and forgiveness as Jesus Christ.
You should never encourage someone to get real and then judge them for doing so. That defeats the whole purpose and makes us just like Pharisees. I suggest you start by praying for God to make your heart overflow with love, grace and forgiveness, just like His. I can promise, God will never answer a prayer like that with a “no.”
Girls, is your public face one that’s “got it all together,” or is it a “real” face that reflects the love, grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ?
And He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself’ (Matthew 22:37-39).
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