Mention Emily Post to young folks today and they may wonder if she is in the room, expected soon or if she is on Facebook. And yet what she has to offer everyone is necessary even in our modern times. Emily Post lived from 1872 – 1960 and wrote the book on etiquette, much of which we may be following and not know it.
Growing up for her meant cotillions and grace, respect and manners in large doses. It is always important to understand the times and places of those who write so we can better understand their points of view in their culture and period of life.
“Good manners reflect something from inside - an innate sense of consideration for others and respect for self,” she wrote. Long before Ms. Post, Jesus pointed out to a host, his failure in not greeting him properly when he came to his home for a meal. Etiquette helps govern how we behave in social settings no matter what century we find ourselves.
Some say rules are made to be broken, while people with manners know rules help to keep order and show respect for others. Simon the Pharisee, was quick to point out that what Jesus was doing before him and his other guests was all wrong and he should be aware of the “sinner” who was dotting on him.
Ahh. Will we ever be free of people who have adverse opinions to those of our own? Probably not. The first thing I would like to note is that this woman was not, nor in her position could she be, an invited guest. It was like she walked in barefoot with her love beads dangling into a gathering of people dressed in gowns and tuxedos.
Do you feel like that sometimes, like you could never fit in? Then listen to Jesus as he puts the man in his place about the uninvited guest and the proper etiquette for his day and time.
“Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little,” Luke 7:44-47, NIV.
If there was ever a rule of etiquette to be followed it is the one that God himself established when he had John 3:16 penned. That's the “whosoever will” verse often quoted. If the church, the believers, ever fail to acknowledge that coming to Christ is an all inclusive right and proper, then my friend we have ourselves fallen from the very rules of the culture of the Kingdom of God by denying a lost soul to be a part and we need to have it pointed out to us.
This is one time when a woman broke the rules and traditions of her time because she wanted what Jesus offered and ignored the rules of her society and barged in boldly. She could see the love Christ had for her. She broke down in front of everyone. She melts and tears flow down her face. She let her hair down... another no, no in those days, even grounds for divorce.
It didn't matter. She wanted the forgiveness that Jesus offered. She loves Jesus for providing that for her and anoints him as an act of acknowledging him as Lord and Savior.
Simon was confronted with understanding his level of being conformed to the image of Christ. We each have to look inward and see what patterns do not fit with the proper etiquette of a believer of Jesus Christ. Are we a deceiver? Do we relate to our spouse in love? Are we greedy? Do we have a problem with our tongue, a temper, a poor attitude?
If you ask God to keep you humble, he will. You won't like it, but he will honor your request. The only response that will bring health and wholeness in our lives is to say yes to the Father and then live it out. He always gives us an opportunity to conform to his image. We are not to ignore the need of making practical changes and applying daily disciplines that will help us to grow in spiritual sincerity.
Never feel ashamed about your need of Jesus. He is never embarrassed by your arrival. There are no set rules of when or where. Won't you stop resisting? Won't you stop debating? Won't you stop denying your need of Jesus?
He is here. Ask him to come into your life today and begin your new life in him. Pray for the Holy Spirit to fill you anew and to grant you strength for a changed life. It's his acceptance you need, not the world's.