What If Someone Knew Every Single Thing You Ever Did?

Well, What Have You Done?

It could be a very intimidating thing, thinking about “Everything You Ever Did”. I mean, stop and think about how you’d feel if someone knew everything you’ve ever done– not just the good, sweet things, and the highs and lows, but every single lie, every bit of secret pride, all your bad choices, the times you cheated or gossiped, or the hateful thoughts… How would you feel when you realized they knew everything?

John tells us about a Samaritan woman who was told “everything I ever did”, and yet still saw it as a positive experience. When she spoke to Jesus and he candidly acknowledged the mistakes she’d made and her sinful lifestyle, you’d think she might be offended, and accuse him of being insensitive; but instead, this is what she did:

“The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men, Come, see a man, which told me everything that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:28-29 KJV)

everything she did

Not Just the Good Things…

Hmm, what if someone knew everything YOU have ever done? Are there things you regret? Things that no one else knows about? For me, I have often thought that if people knew the real, evil me, they would not, could not look at me the same way. (Would you see him in that light? Would you, could you? If you might—surely you would get a fright! You would say, “That’ boy’s not right!”) But, really, if anyone was aware of “everything I ever did”, they would certainly reject me. And I would be terrified that they were going to turn around then and tell EVERYONE ELSE all of the bad stuff I’d ever done.

I feel sure if you knew EVERYTHING I’d ever done, you wouldn’t be reading this and you wouldn’t like me. (Ha, but it’s funny in a way–I know you’re thinking, “So what has he done that he is so ashamed about?”, but at the same time if you stop and really apply the inverse of that to yourself I bet you’d feel the same way, and I bet if all of us knew, nobody would like YOU, either…)

No Condescension or Condemnation

Jesus had never met this person or been to this place before, but he told the Samaritan woman accurate details about the sin in her personal life. But the way he did it was very matter-of-fact, not condescending or rude. The woman responded fearlessly to what Jesus knew, and when she went back to the village she described Jesus in a unique way: “come see a man who told me everything I ever did.”

The Samaritan woman made poor choices in men. She failed in several marriages and was “living in sin” with a guy, which are just the obvious things Jesus told her about. I’m sure there were lots more seedy details. Here’s my point: if Jesus knew some of the bad things, it stands to reason he knew ALL of them. Yet, he never chastised her, never condemned her… He engaged her, intrigued her, and elevated her.

It’s not about her

Her life, and that of her entire village, was changed by an encounter with Jesus. That’s great, you say, but what does this have to do with me? Well… Jesus knows all the things YOU ever did. Not just the big stuff, but all of the seedy details. He does not chastise or condemn, but looks at you with a mixture of both love and disappointment, forgiveness and grace. As he offers himself, are you engaged and intrigued? The Samaritan woman found forgiveness, acceptance, and something worth telling her whole world about! What about you?

Through Jesus’ Eyes

The Scarlet woman snuck out to the well,
Because the other women put her down;
They’d all decided she was going to hell,
And no one even wanted her around.
She’d slept around with men, she lived in sin,
And the village women wouldn’t let her in…
One day a man discussed her wayward life,
And she could only look at him and nod…
As she saw the love in Jesus’ eyes,
He introduced her to the Living God.
What if everything you ever did
Was talked about, and none of it was hid?
What if God just opened up the lid?
Jesus would look directly in your face,
And say: “Don’t feel alone or out-of-place;
Rejoice, my child, in God’s Amazing Grace!”

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

Abide in the Truth. Because, Wherever You Go, There You Are

Unless you’ve seen The Big Lebowski, abide is a word you don’t hear much anymore. I always think of it as coming from someone like Lonesome Dove’s Gus McCrae, who might have said, “I can’t abide a surly barkeeper.” Folks in that era still said “abide” from time to time… It was also used more frequently in Biblical times. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in my word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32, NIV) More recently, in “The Big Lebowski”, Jeff Bridges famously described his state of being by saying, “The Dude Abides”. By his definition, if we abide we are chill, content, and at one with the universe.

abide Lebowski

We don’t use the word “abide” very often today, but at its core it means to accept or go along with something. In a Biblical sense, a disciple not only learns the Words of the teacher, but they ABIDE in them.

It’s All Greek to Me

The Greek word for “abide” is also translated “continue in, to dwell, remain, endure, or stand.” By encouraging his disciples to abide in him, Jesus is basically saying that they need to reconfigure their lives to listen to him and to apply what he said. He is asserting that you find freedom not from Google, not in sound bites or tweets, but by being disciplined in the truth. In today’s culture, the idea of being someone’s disciple seems a bit old-fashioned. Why follow a teacher when you have the internet?

If I were the devil, and could not destroy the Truth itself (even though I’d been trying for over 2,000 years) then I would take another tack and try to change the way people HEAR the truth. If ABIDING in a teacher’s words was the most effective way to receive life-changing wisdom, then I would distract and diffuse… I’d emphasize individual freedom so that people would question every set of teachings, and then I’d send them many messages from many sources to keep them from following the words that could help them the most.

The Opposite of Abide is All. Around. You.

Our culture is moving so rapidly that the idea of abiding and remaining seems really old-fashioned, doesn’t it? Perhaps the closest equivalent we have today is in the world of sports, where athletes will follow a coach and abide in his words, but I don’t see that kind of disciple-producing progression happening in church. I wonder if the current generation could disconnect from media long enough to abide in something…But then everybody abides in SOME thing.

What do you abide in? I know guys who abide in sports or cars, I know women who abide in crafts or Pinterest, and people who abide in music or Snapchat or Instagram, but I don’t often meet someone who ABIDES in Jesus. Guys can remember how they played number 13 at such and such a golf course two years ago, but they don’t remember last week’s Sunday school lesson. Women talk about what they saw on Pinterest more often than they share the gospel. (Yeah I know, I’m trying to step on everyone’s toes, how am I doing?) There are darker things to abide in, but I don’t need to tell YOU, do I?

Jesus said, “if you abide in my word, you are my disciples indeed.” What does a disciple look like? Well first of all, they are familiar with what Jesus taught, and they embrace and inhabit his words. If, as Jesus claimed, he was “the Way, the Truth, and the Life”, and if his words are truth, then it is only logical that Satan makes it his full-time occupation to try to replace, rewrite, or distract from what Jesus said.

So, What is YOUR Distraction?

The Father of Lies works in every generation to destroy the truth. Is anybody else but me concerned that truth is in such short supply these days? It’s not in advertising, it’s not on the internet, it’s not on TV, it’s not in journalism, and it’s not in politics…. We do not find freedom in liberties, but in Truth. As truth diminishes, so does our freedom. Perhaps as we celebrate our freedom, we should remember to spend more time with the one who gave up His so that we could find ours. Abide. Remain. STAND.

A One-word Change

Try this simple word, you’ve heard it said, it’s in your head,
But understand that this command makes a demand upon your time:
It wants your mind and if you see, then you will find it sets you free
To be who you were meant to be by hearing what the Master taught–
It can’t be bought, though it is sought, it must be heard and truly caught–
He brought the truth to give us freedom,
fought for us when we were beaten,
bought our hearts so he could free them…
Without him, we would all have died, but he renews our hearts inside,
And simply asks us to reside in this one word: Abide. Abide.

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

Dirty feet means Big Debt. How Dirty Are YOUR Feet?

A Story About Debt

Jesus had been invited to a dinner party at the house of Simon the Pharisee. A woman (some say Mary Magdalene) came in and began anointing Jesus’ dirty feet with oil. As the aroma of the oil filled the house, he posed this scenario to Simon and asked him a question.

“There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarius, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.”

Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. Simon, you did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” (Luke 7:41-47 NKJV)

That Uncomfortable Moment at Dinner

As I mentioned, Jesus told this story to Simon, a Pharisee who had invited him to dinner. Luke tells us that it was “a sinful woman” who brought expensive perfume and used it to anoint Jesus’ feet during the meal, weeping as she applied it with her own hair. Such behavior was scandalous in a wealthy Hebrew household. (Not the foot washing itself—what was inappropriate was 1] having a sinful woman in the house and 2] her touching a man’s feet and 3] using her hair to do it!)

In Middle Eastern culture, the head was considered honorable and the feet were dishonorable, so for her to touch Jesus’ feet with her hair was an act that technically made her unclean, and caused her most honorable feature to be abased. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:15, “if a woman has long hair, it is her glory”, and in this case she was willing to use her glory like a dirty rag in order to honor Jesus.

Apparently Simon did not extend even the common courtesy of foot washing to Jesus even though he had him over to dinner. The New Testament mentions foot washing as a form of expected hospitality several times. It was customary for wealthy homeowners to have a servant who washed feet. In poorer homes, there was a bowl of water placed outside to rinse dirty feet on the way in.

Why Foot Washing?

Of course you’ll recall that foot-washing took place at another dinner party, at the Last Supper in the upper room. Jesus himself washed the disciples’ feet, humbling himself as a servant and giving them clean feet. “What a quaint custom!“, you say. “But why all the fuss about feet?” Think about it.

These folks wore sandals, walked on dirty roads, and stepped through the village or town to get to someone’s house. There were animals like goats, horses, and cows who also used these same walkways, and this was also before the days of indoor plumbing. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture what people may have stepped in as they walked across town. I was in a couple of refugee villages in Africa, and trust me, when there is no indoor plumbing, you need to be careful where you step.

dirty feet

The washing of feet was not just a quaint custom, it was a housekeeping necessity. It was certainly nice for weary guests, but it made a lot of sense from a sanitary point of view. The sanitary conditions also help explain how significant it was for anyone to wash someone else’s feet. Washing dirty feet was a true act of humility and love.

So, Who’s the Debtor?

In this case, Jesus pointed out that the woman, a sinner who had been forgiven much, could not refrain from honoring him, while Simon, a man who assumed his own righteousness, failed to do so. Have you ever stopped to think about how much sinful debt you accumulated over a lifetime? If every sin cost just a little, have you ever reckoned the size of your debt? Think about that, and celebrate how much you’ve been forgiven today. Trust me, it’s way more than five hundred denarius’ worth.

Feet of Strength

The custom in the Bible was to wash your visitors’ feet;
You never knew what kind of grime they’d pick up in the street!
But it meant more than simply keeping entries clean and neat,
It had to do with honoring the people that you’d meet.

Simon was a Pharisee who asked the Lord to dinner;
A woman anointed Jesus’ feet: this woman was a sinner!
No one would have honored her, or even would have been her;
But Jesus told a story where this sinner was a winner.

He saw how Simon judged her! Jesus knew he was upset;
He told him that the Lord’s great love forgave the greatest debt;
The greatest debtors claimed the greatest Grace that they could get:
Jesus loved them dearly then; I know he loves them yet.

Sometime, in the kingdom after many, many years,
We’ll meet the woman who anointed Jesus with her tears–
Who took her proudest feature and abased it with her touch;
And she will say, “My sins and my eternal debts were such
That I required forgiveness. I have been forgiven much.”

We’ll all smile a bit about the etiquette disaster
She caused by bringing oil and tears to serve her Lord and master;
Jesus said our sin was great, but that his Grace was greater:
My friend, if you believe He’s right, then I will see you later!

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread