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Published Date: July 14, 2016

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On Being A Sinful Woman

I want to confess something to you: I am a sinful woman.

To some, I am sinful when I preach.

To others, I am sinful when I teach.

To even more, I am sinful when I serve communion, lead worship, or read the Bible aloud to a mixed group of people.

I have committed these “sins” time and time again—willingly, even eagerly.

Let me confess something else to you: I will continue to live in such “sin.”

I’m sure I am not the only one, not the only sinful woman in the room. Can I get an “amen”? Who else here has been condemned for their preaching? Silenced for their teaching? Who else can raise a hand to these “sins” in agreement? Yes, me too!

Here is a hopeful truth, love: you are in good company.

These days, I am head-over-heels for the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7. Jesus has accepted the dinner invitation of a Pharisee, and while they are wining and dining, an interruption takes place. A woman—we do not know her name—enters the house and begins to wash Jesus’ feet with only the hair on her head and a jar of perfume (7:38). Weeping, she kisses his feet, again, again, again. Weeping, she brings her offering.

And the verdict is pronounced: “sinful.”

“Sinful!”, the Pharisee mutters. “How dare Jesus let her touch him? She is a sinful woman” (7:39).

I have heard this story elsewhere. I have lived it. When I preach, when I teach, when I serve, lead worship, or read Scripture—the verdict is pronounced: sinful.

How dare she do such things in the church? In the presence of God? She is a sinful woman.

And you have heard this story before, too. You have lived it. Women in the church are not only willing to present our offerings at the feet of Christ, we are desperate to do so. We come with the hair on our head and our jars of perfume. We come weeping and kissing and pouring ourselves out, only to be labeled as sinful. Wrong. Shameful. Ungodly.

Knowing Jesus, however, we can lift our heads. Our Jesus always flips the tables. He always changes the game. He always turns the kingdom upside down.

Don’t shut your Bible closed just yet; keep reading, for there is hope! In verses 44–47, Jesus refutes and corrects the Pharisee. “You gave me nothing when I entered your house,” Jesus says, “but this woman has given everything. She is not sinful, for she has loved much.”

She is not sinful, for she has loved much.

Take that truth and wave it all around. Bring out your flags and banners, play the trumpet loud and clear. How powerful a truth! How stunning a declaration. Love overcomes. Love overwhelms.

When I read this story, I see myself and other women. The church has come a long way toward affirming the gifts and callings of women, but we still have so far to go. Women are still limited, held back, squashed, silenced, and shut-up.

In the midst of all who would label you “sinful,” I want to encourage you to stand your ground. Women, keep on bringing your offerings. Keep preaching, teaching, serving, and leading worship. Keep pouring yourselves out.

They may call you “sinner,” but Jesus says you are loving much.