Nov 9th 2021 · Day 313
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I love the Gospel of John. One of the most touching stories is the one we are reading today, where Mary, out of love and gratitude, pours expensive oil on Jesus’ feet (John 12:1-8). We can hear the griping voice of Judas as he criticises her. But apparently he wasn’t criticising her because he really thought her action was wasteful. No, he was a thief (v. 6).
Constructive criticism can be a good thing, but that isn’t what was happening here. But Jesus affirms Mary’s actions: He knows they comes from a heart of love.
It’s easy to judge people’s actions when we don’t know them, we don’t understand them, and we don’t necessarily approve of what they are doing. We tend to run judgements through our own filters – our own standards. But only God sees the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), so we should be very careful about what we think, do or say. Words can tear down, and they can build up.
Jesus never tears down. His words to Mary show that He understands her. He understands me, and He understands you too.
If you’re tempted to judge someone, remember that we can never fully understand the motives of anyone’s heart, even if we know them well. Only God can.
Mary’s action was beautiful, full of grace, and love. Jesus saw that love. He sees everything we do for Him: the smallest act, the word we might think is insignificant but could brighten another’s day.
Too much of the world is full of judgement and criticism. Let’s join in with Jesus and be affirming, encouraging and kind, wherever we can.
Pause and reflect: Who can you encourage today, and affirm?
Sheila Jacobs is a Christian writer and editor, and an award-winning author. She is also a retreat leader and day chaplain at a retreat house. She loves listening to people’s stories, and encouraging writers to hone their
potential. She is passionate about pursuing God and helping others meet with Jesus.
© Victory Church UK 2021