I’m posting a shortened version of this on a men’s discipleship site… but it’s something that I wanted to explore in more detail here.
About a week ago, I wrote a post on a men’s discipleship site about how, as followers of Christ, we have to work to emulate Christ by washing the feet of all we see. Today I’d like to talk about the flip side of that, us letting Him wash our feet.
I’ll start with the need for us to be honest with ourselves about who we are, and just how nasty we can be. The gospels are full of stories of people falling on their faces before the Lord, proclaiming that they’re wicked sinners. Christ always comforted them, lifted them up and showed them just how invaluable they were to Him. The way He expressed this to His disciples was by getting down on the floor, and washing their feet.
Can you imagine that? The God of all creation kneeling before you, holding your nasty, dirty foot in His gentle hands… and washing them. And then from there, He goes so far as to die, to show you just how far He’ll go to see you completely and totally free from the bondage of sin and death, to let you be part of something so much greater… to call you His friend.
I think that many of us miss out of this experience. I know that I have. I think a lot of times we try to plug along as Christians, doing the ‘right thing’ whatever that is, and we end up with a much higher and faker view of ourselves.
This fake view of ourselves keeps us from friendship with Christ, and it keeps us from being able to give real and true Godly love to anyone else.
When we are not in reality about our own nastiness, we only become more and more like the fake and phony Pharisees that placed heavy burdens on people’s heads; lacking in understanding, compassion and eyes that tell everyone we see, “You’re worth everything to me!” That’s the message that everyone needs to hear.
I’ll clarify this a bit further. I believe that it’s true that history is in the eye of the beholder. Quite often, as prideful people, we shape our own histories to meet our needs, or to settle our own consciences. The fact is, most of us, if not all of us, lie to ourselves about our past.
For example, about 10 years ago, my marriage started with a courtship in a Christian community in the mid-west. To keep a very long story short, things were happening fast, and there were good people around us, Godly people, trying to help us to stay connected to the Father’s will, and not end up making mistakes that we’d regret.
Well, I wanted what I wanted. (what man doesn’t?) And I took it. (what man doesn’t?)
Basically, I ended up bold-faced lying to many that I loved, convincing myself in my mind that I was doing the right thing… I even accused a good brother of something downright horrible in the mess of it all.
And then, we ran.
We left late in the evening, and drove off and eloped.
I got what I wanted.
Like I said, that’s a very brief telling of the tale. To be honest, to actually tell the whole thing tears me up right now. I’m ashamed of it.
But you see, only a few days ago, I wasn’t.
A few days ago, I would have told you a different version of this story. It would be a sad tale of us having to run from this oppressive community where we were being manipulated and coerced… Most who heard my telling of the tale usually met it with an, “Wow, I’m glad you were able to get out of that situation.” or something of the like, as though we were fleeing from some oppressive cult.
But the fact is, I’d been lying to myself. I had written my history to ease my mind and put it behind me. These people were amazing to us, and I was a dumb young man. Person after person tried to talk to me about these things, but I couldn’t hear a thing.
And what’s even more revealing, is over the years, settling in here at Rose Creek Village, and being a part of things… I find myself saying some of the very same things to young men and women. I find myself faced with me over and over again. In fact, I would get so frustrated at the stubbornness of some people, and their resistance to hearing the truth. But as time goes on, (and maybe this is obvious to everyone but me) I see that the things I get the angriest at in others, are not just my own flaws, but sin, blatant sin that hasn’t been dealt with.
Our God is very good. He leaves no stone unturned. He doesn’t want us to go on judging and being frustrated with people. He desperately longs to give us His amazing love, and with that, the eyes to see the worth of others. To do this, He has to reveal our sickness to us, so that we can be healed, and truly come alive.
So for months, this whole thing has been on my mind. I hadn’t spoken with that particular brother this whole time. That bugged me. It should bug us if there’s a part of the body of Christ that we’re divided with. I wanted reconciliation. I wanted freedom, both for him, and me.
I thought, “He did this thing… He’s totally in the wrong. If I write him, what can I even say?”
I’ve asked God for answers for months, and the other day, I felt God saying that it was time to write him a letter. I also felt God saying something else… “Are you so sure of yourself? Did you really do the right things?” Though it’s not always pleasant to hear that from God, when you feel His piercing eyes searching your depths, it’s always going to set you free in the long run.
So I set out to do it. And out it all came. I knew what to write… and it hurt like you know what.
It was like the whole facade fell my mind. I had wronged this man terribly, and the only path to reconcile with him, was to let the Father pick apart my mind and heart, and show me what had truly happened, and take the steps to own up to it.
It’s not fun to realize that you were (and maybe still are) a truly rebellious liar and a fake. It’s not fun to see that you blatantly deceived people who wanted to show you God just so you could get what you want. It’s not fun to look Christ in the face and say that you’re a wicked sinner, in whom nothing good dwells.
But I wrote it, sent it… and now the real healing can begin.
After writing it, I went in the shower and wept more than I have in years. And for about half an hour, I just totally felt the Spirit of the living God ministering to me. Christ was staring me in the face, and loving me. I kept wanting to turn away inside, but He wouldn’t let me. He loves me. And He was so proud of me. I began to feel a new freedom coming, and a weight lifting that I didn’t even know was there.
He was washing me.
I could totally feel that indignation that Peter must have had, not wanting Christ to touch his filthy lying, hypocritical feet. But our Master persists, saying, “If you don’t let me do this, you can’t follow me.”
THEN WASH ALL OF ME MY LORD! WASH ME CLEAN!
And He will. Day by day He will.
We can’t wash the feet of others, until we let Him wash us.
Sit before Him. Let Him kneel before you, and make you clean.