Wednesday, February 12, 2020

“Healed by Lavish Love” by Beth DeCristofaro

“Healed by Lavish Love” by Beth DeCristofaro

When Solomon was old, his wives had turned his heart to strange gods, and his heart was not entirely with the LORD, his God, as the heart of his father David, had been. (1 Kings 11:4)

The woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth, and she begged him to drive the demon out of her daughter. He said to her, “Let the children be fed first. For it is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.” She replied and said to him, “Lord, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.” Then he said to her, “For saying this, you may go.
The demon has gone out of your daughter.”
(Mark 7:26-29)


Have you ever been thanked by someone “for all you did for me…” yet your reaction was “I did nothing at all”?  To me, this comment is one of the most humbling remarks to receive – perhaps when I visited someone sick, or delivered something needed or ran an errand.  Usually, I am too aware of the indisputable facts that whatever I did was at my convenience, that there was way more needed that I did not contribute or (truth be told) that I did this kind thing with grumbling and reluctance. 

Henri Nouwen speaks of the attitude of abundance, pointing out that God’s love is overabundant, never stingy, never diminishing.  Therefore, our nature as Christians should be to share God’s love extravagantly.  In this Gospel Jesus models such abundant love.  God’s beneficence, he tells the woman, is for the Chosen not for unbelievers.  Her words of deep trusting faith asked Jesus to save her daughter if he but will.  Her faith touched His love as the hemorrhaging woman touched his cloak. Jesus bestowed His healing love. 

Another aspect of abundant love is that our awareness of its limitations is not necessarily how it is received.  A small gesture magnifies because God’s love bestows grace on it.  Our faith calls on us to be lavish in freely giving out our love as was Jesus, not accepting the sin but graciously including the sinner.  After all, Jesus did not throw the Pharisees out when he preached the Sermon on the Mount.  Jesus invited the greedy, rich young man to follow him. 

In the same way, Jesus asks us to graciously include those different or scary as Jesus touched and healed demoniacs and Romans.  It is God’s love we share and it is not ours to hoard.  It is God’s love we share and it is ours to squander even if we think the recipient does not deserve it.  It is God’s love we share leaving the judgment to God.

Pray today for someone whose sin I abhor the most, pray that her/his heart will be softened to accept God’s healing love.  Pray for someone whose political views most annoy me, pray that her/his heart will be softened to accept God’s healing love.  Pray that those hard places within my own heart will accept God’s healing love.

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