When I was 16 years old, I entered into an emotionally unstable relationship, during which around the same time I endured some heavy out of control thoughts like “Who am I?” “What’s my purpose here on this Earth?”. . . and “Why do I care so much about what people think about me?”
The relationship was one of those public ones — you know, where EVERYONE at church knows and sees you guys together. It was awfully too public for my standard at that time, more so, I was not really sure I even liked the guy.
The break-up happened 3 months after the relationship started, which means we dated from January to March. Just stating the time period makes it feel like those months are marked by a stain.
Since that relationship, the questions have still lingered, and I have to constantly turn back to the Word of God in order to find truth that will steady my walk and straighten my path.
What I’ve come to find about these thoughts and the moments that they come up, is that we have to give everything to God, the same way the sinful women who encountered Jesus did. Check out the story in Luke 7: 36-50.
Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman
36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 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.38 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.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a]and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
So many teachings have been told about this woman, and pastors have been brilliant about creating the perfect imagery for this story. The woman walked away with a radical encounter. She walked away devoted, even though her life previous to meeting Jesus was a mess. And even though people criticized her publicly for her disgrace, God stood behind her and he lifted her up.
In this same way, God lifts us up and He gives us himself, as the only hope – even through a public break up.
My struggle may have been in full view to God and others, yet He still did not deny me or let me crumble into pieces. He gently and passionately has spoken to me words to overcome, “your faith has saved you; go in peace.”