My favorite compliment Yeshua, Jesus, ever gave a person is “loves much.” Why? Because according to the story of the prostitute that finally FELT FORGIVEN, she was memorialized in scripture not for her sin, but for her thankfulness to God for being healed of a broken heart.
She was so changed that showed her adoration to God by pouring out a small fortune in perfume on the feet of the Savior that was finally able to help her see how gloriously valuable her life was to God. To have your heart deadened through a life of prostitution is an agonizing journey into a living hell on earth. Even now – having your body used as a garbage dump and your unwanted offspring used for pagan temple sacrifice is an unimaginable fate. Would any father want that life for their own daughter? I know my husband wouldn’t. But, living with the regret of a lifetime of bad choices is NOT written in stone.
In fact, though the huge list of curses in this weeks’ Old Testament verses can leave you with a terrible concern for how desperate the future can be for those who walk away from God, these chapters can also give you a needed wake up call. Curses are not brought on by God, they are the reward for generations of poor choices and the consequences – the bad fruit – for disobedience to the way your Creator formed you in the secret place.
Let me be clear – you started as a unique and wonderful seed created by God. Seed is filled with the power of potential. Activated by God’s love for you, the seed that formed you was absolutely perfect and NOT EVIL. Seed is not evil, but what you do with it can be. Bad fruit requires time and seasons and HELP to grow. Great parents don’t guarantee great kids. Rotten parents don’t guarantee rotten kids, either. The God factor is the passion of God – ALIVE, and hopefully growing, in each person. When a seedling is young and tender, it needs to be cultivated to grow healthy and strong. It needs to be pruned and watered, protected and cared for. Regardless of humanity’s inherit iniquity, children are not born doing evil. Over time, with bad examples and lackluster discipline, children learn to participate in evil. And confusing children with choices that God does not grant us is just poor parenting.
Let me give you an easy example. Parents teach their children what to eat by what they serve them. Children who don’t eat sugar don’t crave sugar. Sugar is addicting. Our bodies just plain LOVE IT! Why? Because it is a trigger for insulin – a chemical our bodies need to process food to stay alive. But, processed cane sugar is a short cut to energy, not a sustainable energy source that can fuel you for longer periods between meals and the catalyst necessary to breakdown proteins that feed good brain development. So, if you leave your child to choose between eating a raw carrot or a cookie – how will they know which one feeds the body and trains the body to desire the helpful choice? The truth is that they won’t know unless you TEACH them!
Parenting is a lifelong responsibility, not only for them, but more so for you!
As a mother of adult children, I thank God that reading the Bible became my daily parenting guide. I chose to follow the guidelines in the teaching of Moses through the eyes of Yeshua, Jesus, because I knew I had been forgiven for my past and I needed a better future for my kids than what I was taught. My mom taught me to love deeply, take care of my little brothers, and work hard. When I was a child, she told me that someday I would go to college and that taking care of her children, even if it was alone as a very young widow, was now her highest priority. As an adult woman, she taught me I could do anything a man could do. She taught me to be strong and fearless and determined. But… She never taught me to pray. And she never showed me the value of having a husband who would wholeheartedly love and build a life with me.
So, here is what God can do with people like me: People who have been forgiven much like that woman Yeshua called “loves much.”
When I was orphaned at 33 years old, after my mother’s tragic passing from cancer, my Savior’s words were no longer enough to carry me through the sorrow of learning how to be without my Mom. Even though His words were GREAT and LIFE SAVING, I needed more! I needed to not be so alone. I needed my Father.
As a young mother of a seven year old girl and a four year old boy, married to a sweet husband (also orphaned) , our little nuclear family suddenly had to start over like Noah. With little else to do, I went back to the beginning. To Genesis. And I began to tread the well-worn paths through the Torah that the Jewish people had been walking for centuries. The Jewish life that I was adopted into brought me back to the earliest Bible lessons about family. Cain and Abel, Jacob and Esau, Rachel and Leah, Joseph and his Brothers, Moses and Aaron… each story filling in the gaps in my own education about Godly relationships. And in those examples I discovered the deep and endlessly faithful love of our Heavenly Father. It’s the Old Testament lessons of Moses that are JUST AS IMPORTANT to Godly living today – unmatched by simply applying the bandaid some call “grace” to every situation. And while God’s grace is available through Yeshua for forgiveness – it doesn’t give us a free pass to participate in what God calls sin.
His rules are pretty simple. Don’t lie. Don’t steal. Don’t have sex with people you are not married to. Don’t eat things that are bad for your health. Rest every seven days. Obey your parents for your benefit. Love your neighbor by not cheating them. Don’t owe people money. Be generous to the poor. Be kind to the stranger. Don’t eat your children! Stop killing each other!
God’s commandments are so helpful. Yeshua Messiah, Jesus Christ, just makes them easier to follow by breaking them down to their simplest common denominator.
Accept the forgiveness that His death paid for and His resurrection proves.
Let God love you. That is the truest key to healing a broken heart. We have to have a healthy heart to follow Yeshua’s command to love God and love one another. But believe me, it can take a lifetime to figure out the “AND” part of that.
Don’t worry, though. We’re all on this journey together. We’ll talk more about the “and” next week!