Friday, January 13, 2017

Compassion and Strength

Like I mentioned in another post, I identify with Martha a great deal. I see a lot of me in her. That’s why I dare to call her behavior, an adult tantrum. As a grownup who has been known to throw hissy fits upon occasion, I know a tantrum when I see one. “You tell her, Lord!” Martha's tattletale on her sister to Jesus is a typical sign... But I’m not interested in delving into Martha’s behavior today. I want to take another look at Jesus’ response.

Of course, Jesus did what every responsible Father does when one of his kids comes to him telling tales: He stopped it. He showed compassion and great care, but He did not indulge Martha’s desire to tell on her sister.

Jesus acknowledged Martha’s situation. He did not dismiss her hurt. But instead of encouraging the behavior, He did the hard thing. He showed her that she was wrong. In a most compassionate way, Jesus pointed out to Martha the need for her to reprioritize. “Only ONE thing is needed…” and that thing is not household chores or publicly exposing your sister’s potential character flaws. “I’m all you need Martha…I should be number one in your life…choose wisely.”

Jesus is teaching us an important lesson here. He is showing us how to be loving, but strong. How often I face situations where loved ones come to me with complaints and/or plain, good-old gossip and rather than steering away from that muddy path, I basically throw in more dirt only to make it messier. In this passage, Jesus is showing me the need to balance being sensitive to my loved one’s legitimate issues, while at the same time stopping the slippery slide into open gossip.

Before I wrap up today’s thoughts on this subject, I would like to quote what I read in one of my devotionals. Perhaps, it will allow us to meditate on these thoughts through the lenses of Thanksgiving and Hope rather than of depression and guilt:

“God’s motivation for surfacing the destructive parts of us is so we will face them and cooperate as He uproots and heals them.” (Beth Moore)

I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide us as we dwell in Martha and Mary’s house with Jesus for a while.

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