From the time we were little girls, we have had to defend ourselves from something. The whispered lies of self-seeking childhood playmates. The gossip of our neighbors, or women at church … even friends. A coworker who misconstrued a comment to the boss, or a boss who didn’t have the time, patience or grace to hear our side of the story. Our boyfriends and husbands during literally every argument we’ve ever had with them.
Defending ourselves is exhausting. And complex, a reaction to emotion that is stirred by perceived injustice and fueled by past wounds and a motive of self-justification, perhaps even self-preservation.
That’s why we love the overwhelming beauty in the story of the woman with the alabaster jar. The disciple Luke tells us that Jesus and His disciples are at the house of a Pharisee, and that this Christ-compelled woman is a “sinner.”
She must have been petrified to go in the door.
She must have seen only Jesus.
She pours her expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, and wipes them with her hair while her tears fall uncontrollably. She is overcome with her love for Him, as pure as human love for God can be. Immediately, according to Matthew, the disciples start complaining that she has wasted her valuable perfume, which could have been sold to support their ministry. (They frequently forgot Who they were with!)
It is the disciple Mark who reveals the radiance of the Savior’s heart for a woman’s soul:
But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”
Jesus defends her.
The next time someone utters something untrue, ugly, or even slanderous about you, pour the alabaster jar of your frustration on Jesus. The next time you feel the need to prove you are right, stop. Be still at His feet. Jesus is your defender – for what has happened in the past, what is happening now, and what will happen in the future. Your wounds, and your need to defend yourself, were taken care of on the cross. When we have done nothing wrong, when our motives are pure but misconstrued, He defends us like He did the woman who emptied her most valuable possession – and her heart – on His holy feet. Let Him defend you – make a conscious choice to close your mouth and release the issue into His loving hands.
That is a beautiful thing.