Yesterday I walked my third grader into school, and she realized she still had a piece of gum in her mouth. “Oh, Mom—I can’t have gum in class,” she said. “I need to throw it away.”
I scanned the immediate vicinity for a garbage can and decided to take a shortcut.
“Here,” I held out my hand, palm up to her mouth. “Spit it out.” And a second later a green, teeth-marked gob sat in my grasp, ready for a hike to the trash. Just then a teacher walked by and wrinkled her nose.
“It’s a mom thing,” I shrugged.
“It is a mom thing,” she agreed. “I get it.”
Ugh. We have a lot of things like that, don’t we?
We moms wipe sticky bottoms and gooey noses. We wash bloody skin, hide extracted teeth, and examine blistered throats fuming with smelly kid breath. We comb for nits, sort damp socks, apply ointment to mystery rashes of every kind. Once, when my nephew gagged at dinner, I witnessed my mother’s knee-jerk attempt to catch the vomit with her bare hands.
That instinct—to lunge fearlessly toward the foul—must be inbred in mothers and grandmothers alike. We love, we guide, we nurture; therefore, we will get puked on.
Jesus knows what that’s like.
“When the time came, he set aside the privileges of deity and took on the status of a slave, became human! Having become human, he stayed human. It was an incredibly humbling process. He didn’t claim special privileges. Instead, he lived a selfless, obedient life and then died a selfless, obedient death—and the worst kind of death at that—a crucifixion.” (Philippians 2:8–11, MSG)
You and me—we’ve got a lot of ugly in us. We’re flawed, selfish, sinful and gross. We covet, envy, snap and sneer. We harbor nasty thoughts about people we’re supposed to love, we criticize when we ought to encourage. We get cranky and prideful and judgmental and entitled—as if the God of the Universe owes us something better.
But here’s the crazy thing about Jesus. Instead of running away from our ugly, He runs toward it. Like me and my handful of ABC gum, Jesus gladly takes our yuck in the palm of his hand. He carries it for us, loves us in spite of it, and ultimately tosses that junk in the trash—to free us.
“So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.” (Romans 8:1–2, NLT)
Next time my daughter blows her nose and hands me the tissue, I’ll think about what I’ve just shared here today. And I hope you will, too. We moms see a lot of gross stuff. But God sees more.
Aren’t you so grateful for Jesus?
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