What Do I Do When I Am Surrounded By Accusers?

Then he put his hands on her and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
— Luke 13:13

If you missed last week’s post about the crippled woman, catch up here and then come back and read on.

Jesus healed this suffering woman and she turned her gaze towards heaven and praised God. All the glory went to the Almighty. This story in Luke 13 makes me so happy and I want to emulate this amazing woman! I want to accept the ways God loves me and praise him immediately. But that isn’t the end of the story of the crippled woman.

Not everyone was so pleased at this turn of events. The synagogue ruler became indignant because this healing happened on the Sabbath. Once again, the religious leaders held people to rule after rule after rule. The beauty of the moment was completely lost on them. The synagogue ruler didn’t hesitate to set out his rebuke. But, his rebuke was NOT directed at Jesus.

The synagogue ruler directed his rebuke at the woman. He is speaking to her and the people who had come to the synagogue on the Sabbath seeking healing. He was accusing this woman of breaking the rules.

Even though Jesus himself was not addressed by the ruler, he comes to the defense of the woman and the crowd. He turns the rebuke around on the leaders and it was humiliating for them.

He calls them hypocrites! They would break Sabbath rules to save an ox or a donkey (possessions) on the Sabbath, but didn’t care about people.

And then Jesus gives her a name…daughter of Abraham.

What an amazing name. With this one statement, he includes her in the chosen people. He points out that she is one of them. He elevates her value to that of the religious rulers. He claims her as one of his. He values her.

I like to call the religious rulers the accusers. We all have accusers around us. They are those people in our lives who are watching our every move to see where we miss the mark. They are those people in our lives who have strong opinions about how we need to live. They are those who think our behavior, appearance, and choices should match their own.

It seems to me we humans have a tendency to make up rules as we go along. These rules are often of little concern to God. Two very human attitudes are at the root of this kind of rule-writing. One attitude is insecurity. When we are unsure what to do, we come to a decision. Then we elevate that decision to have an importance it doesn’t deserve. When others make the same choice, our decision looks good. If others join you in your choice, it makes you look “right.” We look down on those who make a different choice.

The other attitude responsible for this seems to be its opposite. In reality, they are tied together. That attitude is arrogance. We cannot imagine why someone would make a different choice. We assume they must be wrong so we look right.

Do you have any accusers in your life?

Sometimes I am my own accuser. I am the one being too hard on myself. I am the one obsessing about how I look to others, how I can impress them.

I have followed rules that have nothing to do with right and wrong.

  • I must always have a clean house. If I don’t I’m a lazy person.
  • I have to have a husband and kids to be important and valuable. If I am single or childless I don’t matter.
  • I should never miss church or my quiet time. If I do, I am a bad person.
  • I can never forget an appointment. If I do, I am a disorganized mess.
  • I have to educate my children by ___________. If I don’t I will mess them up forever.
  • I must never be impatient and never yell. If I do, I am a failure.

I’m sure you can think of others. I can get so wrapped up in what the accusers are saying that I completely miss that Jesus is right next to me. He has healed me, healed my heart with his grace. Picture yourself there at that healing. You are the woman that Jesus has healed. The accusers are around telling you how you have broken all the rules. Can you look up and praise the lord? Or is your gaze stuck on the accusers?

The accusers judged the woman in Luke 13, but Jesus accepted her. Yet we too often focus on the accusers around us. When we ignore the acceptance of Jesus, we are missing out on a beautiful relationship with him.

Today, think about the accusers in your life you might be trying to please. Can you look away from them and onto God? Can you direct your gaze heavenward?

What rules have you followed as a result of the accusers around you?

 

For more about who you are in God, check out: