As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Luke 7:38
“I’m sorry,” Karen said, apologizing for her flowing tears. After the death of her husband, she stretched herself to care for her teenage kids. When men from church provided a weekend camping excursion to entertain them and give her a break, Karen wept with gratitude, apologizing over and over for her tears.
Why do so many of us apologize for our tears? Simon, a Pharisee, invited Jesus to dinner. In the middle of the meal, as Jesus reclined at the table, a woman who had lived a sinful life brought an alabaster jar of perfume. “As she stood behind [Jesus] at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38). Unapologetically, this woman freely expressed her love and then unwound her hair to dry Jesus’ feet. Overflowing with gratitude and love for Jesus, she topped off her tears with perfumed kisses—actions that contrasted with those of the proper but cold-hearted host.
Jesus’ response? He praised her exuberant expression of love and proclaimed her “forgiven” (vv. 44–48).
We may be tempted to squelch tears of gratitude when they threaten to overflow. But God made us emotional beings, and we can use our feelings to honor Him. Like the woman in Luke’s gospel, let’s unapologetically express our love for our good God who provides for our needs and freely receives our thankful response.
How can you freely express your gratitude to God through your emotions today? How might you make others feel comfortable about sharing their tears?
Loving God, thank You for Your grace in providing for my needs! I pour out my gratitude to You today.
In first-century Galilee, teachers were often invited to meals where the public was invited to come and listen. In our text from Luke 7, what would’ve been shocking to onlookers is that the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet, given her poor reputation, would have the courage to directly interact with Him to express her love and gratitude. This story is one example of a prominent theme in the gospel of Luke: that of socially marginalized outsiders—those who were looked down on by the religious faithful—being the ones to testify most powerfully to the truth of the gospel.