Lustful Looking – Woman at the Well

In the Book of John, Chapter 4 we read a story of Jesus hanging out with a Samaritan woman at the well of Jacob. Jesus, being Jesus, knows more about her than she realizes upon initial interaction. Whether by divorce or adultery, which are debated, this woman is no stranger to men. And likely also no stranger to reeling men in.

So here is Jesus, solo with this woman, in a potentially precarious situation. Let’s get down to brass tacks here – he could have flirted with her. He could have fantasized about her naked. He may have been tempted to look down her shirt when she leaned over to grab her bucket of water!

But Jesus wasn’t a lustful looker.

He was more concerned about her soul; her present life and her eternal destiny. He wasn’t interested in the flesh she wore – he was living with the perspective that his life was short, his purpose was redemption, and his call was proclaiming the love of God.

Here’s a tip to stop lustful looking – be more concerned with the soul of a female human than the flesh that soul is covered in. Focus on our greater call of reflecting God’s glory rather than being so simple and shallow as to be lulled into the temporal temptation of flesh.

The next time you’re at Starbucks waiting on your super soy, light whip mochanilla frappawhatever, I encourage you to take a bird’s eye view and see the many souls in line around you in need of a Savior, rather than the people waiting to pick up their orders. Be mindful of the brokenness on the inside, and fight the urge to objectify the body on the outside.

 

 

Empathy Barrier

One of the biggest challenges in the relational recovery process is for a husband to have empathy. I wrote another post about that recently here. I think its important to understand a key barrier to empathy. That barrier is a lack of self-intimacy; knowing our own hearts and our needs.

As we navigate life, our emotions are stirred and we are impacted by the world around us. We have good days, and we also have those days where we wish we had a mulligan. Those tough days, especially, affect us. Our car breaks down and we feel powerless, disappointed and angry. Our stocks go down and we feel the same. Our boss yells at us, or we yell at employees. Or kids. Or our wives. And we feel guilty and remorseful. A deal falls through, a vacation gets canceled, etc. Or perhaps we act out again and relapse with porn, strip clubs or cross-dressing. You name it, the emotional impact of life can leave us feeling hurt, disappointed, ashamed, guilty and fearful to name a few.

Unfortunately, many men don’t give credence to these emotional impacts. A lot of us will  cruise through the day, trying to let this stuff roll off our backs, knowing tomorrow we’ll just start over and hope it goes differently. Wash, rinse, repeat for many of us. But along the way, our hearts are hurt. We end up with legitimate emotional needs that never get addressed. Needs like reassurance, affirmation, validation or perspective. And those needs build, functioning like a kettle on a stove. They heat up and heat up, then eventually when the kettle whistles we’re at critical mass and we’ll move into a reactionary posture. At that point automatic processing kicks in and old habits show up – angry outbursts, shutting down, acting out, acting in. All the while, we’re denying our hearts by ignoring them.

Think about it for a second – how can I have tenderness and compassion towards my wife and honor her heart, when I’ve locked my own heart in a vault? If I don’t allow myself to feel then I’m not going to know my own needs. Nor will I get those needs met in healthy ways. Thus it’ll be nearly impossible to be available for someone else’s needs. Especially those we love the most.

So if you’re struggling with empathy, chances are high that you’re not dealing in self-intimacy; knowing your own heart and your own needs. I don’t mean this in a selfish way, I mean this in a serving way. I am responsible to protect and nourish my own heart in order to have gas in the tank to protect and nourish the hearts God has entrusted to my care.

If you are wondering what that even means, I encourage you to talk to your support guys, your counselor and/or your pastor.

 

Hey Jesus, your sacrifice was wasted

I’m angry today. I’m frustrated. I’m hurt. I’m feeling overwhelmed and a little beat down. More than all that, I’m feeling a sense of resignation. Like giving up.

On what…you might ask…

On us.

I was on radio yesterday for 3 hours and story after story, caller after caller had the same situation. Someone in their life has basically looked Jesus in the eyes and said, “Hey, Jesus, your sacrifice was wasted on me. That whole ‘full life’ thing you talked about…nah, I’ll pass.”

Rather than resolve to live in humility, under God’s sovereign wing, surrendering to what he may be calling us to, we’ve allowed ourselves to fall into a dull, mediocre life justified with Scripture, rationalized with the realities of life’s difficulties, medicated with sex, money, alcohol, entertainment, sports and even church. We succumb to the gravitational pull towards brokenness, revenge, entitlement, greed, selfishness and perhaps worst of all, mediocrity.

I just can’t get my head around that Jesus came to earth, was beaten, abused, rejected, kicked out of his hometown, insulted, ridiculed and then murdered. For us. How many times during his life, especially in the 3yr period of his main ministry, did he think about cashing it in? So much easier to have been a fisherman. Or a tax collector. Or a pharisee. Anything other than following God’s call. Anything other than the way of pain and persecution.

But he didn’t give up. He didn’t resign. He didn’t give excuses for why it was too hard. He didn’t sit around pointing the finger at others, complaining about Peter being a hothead or Thomas being a whiner. He didn’t spend his time playing the victim card, trying to make some psychobabble justification for a mediocre life today based upon the fact that his parents forgot about him as a kid. He just, as best I can tell, woke up each day, looked it in the face, and adopted a posture of willingness to be led by the Spirit and committment to faithfully following the Father. He didn’t give up on me. Or you.

So I can’t resign or give up either. Because He didn’t. Hopefully, if you’re struggling with resignation, you won’t let it win the day. If nothing else, as an act of worship and a response to the model before us. Maybe today you decide to stop letting the past define your present, and ripoff your future. Perhaps today you decide to own your junk, and apologize to the people whom you love and have hurt the most. Maybe today you decide that it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, but you’ll be the one to take the first step towards fixing it. I hope so.

**UPDATE**

Strangely enough, after I sat down to write today, I saw Shelley’s latest post. I wanted you to see it too. Turns out we’re channeling the same wavelength – https://rlforwomen.com/whats-breaking-my-heart-today/