Vice. What is the meaning of that word?
Sex, drugs and rock & roll immediately come to mind. But I’m sure there are a lot of vices we don’t even think about as vices. So I googled “list of vices.” Here is what I pulled up:
Anger, Arrogance, Bragging, Cowardice, Disloyalty, Doubt, Envy, Greed, Injustice, Impatience, Jealousy, Recklessness, Sloth, Untrustworthiness, Vanity, Weakness, Wrath (virturescience.com/vicelist.html)
Well crap. Can’t say I haven’t covered several of these puppies in my lifetime so far…
I came upon this topic after my devotional yesterday but honestly I’ve been wrestling with this for years. In any case, Luke 8:43 stood out to me in blaring lights.
“And there was a woman in the crowd who had a hemorrhage for twelve years. She had spent everything she had on doctors and still could find no cure.” (NIV Luke 8:43)
When I was younger I hated reading my bible because I would literally read it word for word and then I would think to myself, this makes no sense. I’m so confused. If I went back to my younger self and had read this passage I think it would have gone something like this:
There was this lady who was bleeding pretty badly and she didn’t want to die. So of course she spent all her money on doctors to help her but those guys didn’t know what the heck they were doing. So she ended up with no money and she wasn’t even cured. WTF? Why on earth do I want to read my bible this is not cool. But hey, I’ve learned doctors aren’t necessarily going to help me and I’m going to be toast. I’m just going ignore this fact and do my darndest to control that from happening. I don’t want to bleed and die. Maybe I should just put my bible down and call it good. I’m toast any way.
Fast forward to today. Why is this verse standing out to me so intensely and what does Jesus want me to know? I think I’m supposed to take some time to reflect on my vices. Maybe my earliest vices? Okay, I will do that Jesus. First thought, one of my parents left before I was even born. The year was 1976. Shit, that feels great it just screams you are approved of Aimee. That was hemorrhaging. Or how about when I was 18 and beginning to talk openly about my childhood sexual abuse and being told I would not be supported if I continued talking openly about that fact. Shit, that feels freaking awesome it just screams you are approved of Aimee. No, my hemorrhaging was not literal bleeding. My hemorrhaging was approval or fear of lack thereof. So any smart person stops the bleeding right? My biggest vice was and is this; tuck Aimee safely away in her box. Approval or lack thereof is irrelevant because nobody can get in the box. Problem solved. You are so smart princess! But not cured right? Because my soul is in the box. I suppose if I had to put a label on my biggest vice it would fall in that list above as cowardice. Somebody told me that about myself not very long ago. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so much pain in my entire life in the aftermath with my box wide open. But I’m so happy they said this because I’ve taken a long hard look and they were right. But not now with Jesus!
Rewind back to my younger self. She read that bible passage literally but there isn’t any way she would have seen the deeper meaning of the text until she spoke directly to Jesus for the answers and waited patiently for Him to answer. Patience? Ugh! Another vice. :)The bible will help her but only Jesus will whisper the rest of it to her in time. If and when she is not running away from Him. A take away for you my sweet precious younger princess of a self… It does not help to read the bible literally and it does not help to be impatient.
Fast forward to today as Luke 8 is standing out in bright lights.
“She came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe of his robe. Immediately, the bleeding stopped. “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it and Peter said, “Master, this whole crowd is pressing up against you.” “When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him. The whole crowd heard her explain why she had touched him and that she had been immediately healed. Daughter, he said to her, “your faith made you well. Go in peace.” (NIV Luke 8:44-48)
The voice whispers to me and I write this down in my notes after reading this yesterday. The things the woman was trying with all the doctors wasn’t working, none of the vices were working. My approval vice isn’t working either. The woman finally figured out Jesus could heal her hemorrhaging and nobody else could do that for her so she ran to Him albeit still from behind, just to be safe. I ran to Jesus too but I still want to be safe. Even after Jesus healed her the woman wanted to hide. Maybe because she was scared about others still judging her hemorrhage or perhaps her vices? What if her hemorrhage stopped but she can’t figure out all of these vices. I mean she is human after all and we are all really good a pointing that out when it isn’t ourselves. Jesus knows we can get better at dropping our vices but we aren’t going to be perfect. Ahhhh, makes total sense to me too. Jesus prompted her to come forward and she did. Then He said, “Go in peace”. BOOM – I don’t need anyones approval and I can go in peace with Jesus by my side. Together we will decide what the truth of peace is for me.
What things do we spend on to stop the bleeding but to no avail? Jesus DID NOT care what her bleeding was and he certainly DID NOT hate it. I don’t think he cared about her vices either. I mean, I think he wanted her to be better but he knows what we’re dealing with here. Jesus didn’t say “Daughter, you are a miserable excuse for a person spending everything you have on nonsense. Look at how that turned out for you. I guess I’ll stop your bleeding.” NO! Jesus said you reached out to me. I LOVE you, all of YOU including the non perfect part that tries to fix things yourself. My grace covers you. Your faith makes you well.
I wonder what that peace ended up being for this woman? Whatever it was, I’m certain Jesus and she figured it out together. And I’m certain somebody somewhere had something to say about it. But the point is, it was between Him and her. Awesome peace!
Perhaps that is why I love Miranda Lambert’s song Vice. Sadly, some of our vices end up killing us. Those funeral arrangements when we see them are heartbreaking. RIP now, not then. If you can and if you can’t, no judging! Just ask my wine glass, LOL! Just kidding, sort of. I did make a wine glass at MOPS this week. It says Naughty, Nice, I tried. Cheers!
Get in the backseat and have Faith. You won’t crash and the road will go for eternity. Wine glass and all. Peace peeps!
Loved by Grace,
Matthew West, Strong Enough