I prefer to consider myself a good person. I like to think that I am loving and accepting, and that I don't prejudge a person. But, there have been times that prove that view to be inflated. There was the time in a crowd, when I moved away from an unwashed, rough looking person. And, at work, there are a few people I haven't made an effort to get to know because it is obvious that we have nothing in common.
Matthew chapter 15.
A Canaanite woman found Jesus and his disciples in a place where they had gone to be alone. Jesus had been teaching about the difference between clean and unclean - between traditional methods of cleansing as taught by the Pharisees and true cleanliness in God's eyes.
The woman kept calling after them. She wanted healing for her demon possessed daughter. The disciples wanted her to go away. After all, she was a Canaanite - a Gentile - not one of God's chosen people. The woman persisted. She called Jesus, Son of David. She knew Jewish prophesy and believed him to be the Messiah. She knelt before Jesus and said, "Lord, help me." This woman believed Jesus to be the Savior. She had great faith in his ability and in his compassion.
This Canaanite woman didn't look like one of God's chosen. The disciples were pretty sure she had no business bothering Jesus. He was teaching them important truths of the Kingdom of God.
Jesus hesitated. He didn't immediately grant the woman's request. He required her to tell more of her faith. I wonder why, since we know that Jesus could easily see her heart. I think Jesus used this opportunity as one more teaching moment for the disciples. They had relied on Jewish traditions to make their decisions as to character. Jesus taught them that it isn't as easy as looking at the outside of a person. Cleanliness is a condition of the heart. Believing and trusting in Jesus as God and Savior had made this woman clean. Her request was granted. She left with the assurance that her daughter was free of the demon. The disciples saw that even a Gentile could be one of God's chosen.
Not many of us look like one of God's chosen. Fewer of us consistently act like his chosen people. I thank God that he see's my heart and hears my often used prayer of "Lord, help me."
My prayer: Lord, I know that to some Christians, I may not look like a Christian. Thank you for accepting me with all my faults and would you soften my heart so I can see other people through your eyes?
Matthew 15:21-28, Isaiah 9:7, Isaiah 16:5, Romans 15:8
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