Imagine this person’s story if you will …
My life had been anything but easy. My mother died when I was young. My father had abused me. I grew up starving for attention – and I realized men would give me that attention if I gave them what they wanted.
These choices, this lifestyle, was something I hated. But, I did what I had to do to survive. I knew my lifestyle was wrong, but I was in too deep and it seemed there was no way out.
Men passed by me staring out of disdain or desire. I know women talked behind my back and literally hated me. And the religious ones, don’t get me started on the vileness I received from them. Yet I know their hypocrisy, I know their secrets.
I was hurting. I was broken. I was trapped. And I was alone
Then one day, a new man came to town. A man teaching forgiveness, hope, grace … love. His words touched deep into my heart. And when he looked at me, the eyes weren’t ones of repulsiveness or ravaging thoughts, but compassion and tenderness.
For the first time in … well forever … I found a man who shared forgiveness, true love, and who gave me hope that God still loves me. Me – a sinner. Me – a broken outcast. Me – one who’s decisions in life had brought me pain, guilt, and loneliness. That man showed me real love – God’s love.
Later that week, I heard he was at a local Pharisee’s house. I really don’t know why I did what I did, but I grabbed the ointment that I treasured. The alabaster jar I was saving. I wanted to honor this man, to give him a gesture of respect that he deserved. I was not worthy to be near him, for I was such a sinner. But I had to.
I grabbed the jar, went to the house and snuck in, and there he was. And he saw me and looked into my eyes. Tears were rolling down my face. It was if he’d saw who I really was yet loved me all the more. I took the jar, broke the seal and anointed his feet. I was so unworthy. My tears fell on his feet, I wiped them with my hair.
Who was this man? Why did he bring out such brokenness yet hope in me. The voices began to rise and they jeered at me. The Pharisee wanted me thrown out. But this man defended me, cared for me, and then he did something I thought could never happen. He told me my sins were forgiven.
The freedom I felt. Who was this man? The joy I now had. How could this be? The love I felt – a love I thought I would never feel. Why would he do this for me?
Hurt – I was feeling healing. Broken – I was experiencing restoration. Trapped – no longer, he brought freedom. Alone – not anymore, I found acceptance in his open arms.
I left that house – a new person. He changed me. I would never be the same. And every time I worship God now, I am reminded of God’s love, God’s forgiveness, God’s amazing grace.
. . . . . . . . . . .
In today’s Ascent Psalm, 130, the worshippers is there at the Temple. He recognizes God’s presence and greatness – and his own shortcomings. Worship is not only praise, celebration, feasting. It is also recognizing our brokenness and hurts, our sins and unworthiness, and our need for Him.
Worship is both brokenness at the altar and praise for His steadfast love. It is recognizing our need and celebrating His redemption. For we should come to Him like the woman did – seeing our stains seeking His mercy – knowing our incalculable debt and receiving His immeasurable love.
And that should drive us to His nail-scarred feet in unbridled worship.
Today, worship from brokenness, receive the healing.
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleas for mercy!
If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
that you may be feared.
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
O Israel, hope in the Lord!
For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
from all his iniquities. / Psalm 130