Monday, 26 May 2014

A warning against spiritual OCD {pouring out love}

Have you ever read the account, in the scriptures, about Simon the Pharisee, and the woman who washed Jesus' feet?

It heard a deeply challenging message about them, whilst on holiday, about an issue I see cropping up all too often.  I see it amongst Christians, in a general sense, and I see myself doing it as a mother, too. 


Being so worried about the externals, and how things are done, that you lose the passion and heart of the Lord.

Simon, as a Pharisee, was obsessed about the outward appearance, and particularly about cleaning rituals. They had hand washing routines that were almost ridiculous. Always concerned about the outward, yet the Lord likened them to whitened sepulchres...white and clean on the outside, rotten on the inside.

Simon had huge issues with the woman who was in his home. Having let her hair down (which was culturally frowned upon in public), she cleaned his feet with her hair, watered by her tears - pure joy and emotion upon being with Jesus. Despite the fact that she was in the home of a Pharisee, surrounded by many, she "wore her heart on her sleeve" and willingly displayed her love. 

Simon didn't like it. 

Ironic, really, since (as Jesus pointed out) HE had omitted to extend the courtesy of washing Jesus feet himself, as custom dictated he should have! All his obsessions about washing, yet he hadn't done it when he ought to have.

It's so easy to hear about this incident and frown upon Simeon, and see ourselves as ever the one washing Jesus' feet.

"*I* would never have been the one that was neglectful - I would have done the right thing.  NO judgement from me, only love"



Oh, my sinful heart - I see myself, upon deeper reflection, as the Pharisee.

You see, it's all too easy to have spiritual OCD. To get caught up in the "hand cleaning" - rules, and rituals - in the "if you don't do it my our way, you must be wrong, because we MUST be right" attitude.  As much as Simon was ridiculous worrying about washing rituals, our judgements and legalism about the issues that we get bound up in, are equally secondary, so often.

Similarly to Simon, we tend to look at things in the light of tradition, and man made opinions, rather than carefully weighing things up beside God's Word. If the Bible clearly says something is sin, that's one thing.  If the scriptures are silent, we need to wisely make choices for ourselves, and graciously allow others to make their own choices.

Just as Simon caused a bad atmosphere, by his outburst, we do exactly the same if we start to argue, disagree, and judge, over the minutia of life.

It must be said, as much as the Internet can be a tool for blessing,  that it can equally become a breeding ground for spiritual OCD.  Pointing the finger at the differences of others, and criticising them for not following certain "rules",  instead of showing love.

Where's the love?

Look at the woman who washed Jesus' feet.

THAT'S where the love is.

Being so caught up with our love for the Lord, that all else fades away and is forgotten.  No legalism - no judging the hearts and motives of others - no bickering and complaining about the choices that are made differently from our own. Pure, perfect, love for the Saviour. Savouring His presence, and seeking His approval, over the approval of the world, and fellow believers.

The woman brought a costly box of oils, and anointed Jesus with it - she brought her best to Him. This box was one that had to be broken, in order to spill its contents.

Am I coming, BROKEN, to Jesus.  Opening up myself, to be filled up with His love, and His spirit. If I come, willing, to be broken, with that kind of love, I won't even be THINKING a legalistic thought.

Is that how I am?  Bringing my best to the Lord - the best of my attitudes and actions? Bringing the best, because I love the Lord more than I love the desire to talk other's down, and criticise and judge?

I pray the Lord would help me to be less of the spiritual OCD, and more love to Him, and those I meet in my life.

1.     More love to thee, O Christ, more love to thee! 
 Hear thou the prayer I make on bended knee. 
 This is my earnest plea: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

2. Once earthly joy I craved, sought peace and rest; 
 now thee alone I seek, give what is best. 
 This all my prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

3. Let sorrow do its work, come grief and pain; 
 sweet are thy messengers, sweet their refrain, 
 when they can sing with me: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

4. Then shall my latest breath whisper thy praise; 
 this be the parting cry my heart shall raise; 
 this still its prayer shall be: More love, O Christ, to thee; 
 more love to thee, more love to thee! 

(Elizabeth Prentiss)

1 comment :

  1. Thank you for this :) . I never, ever tire of reading of this wonderful act of love, done from a heart overflowing with love to her precious Saviour.

    Wishing my own heart was bubbling over with this kind of love ....
    ~A x