I Just Can’t Help Myself
by Joseph Franks
On Monday, March 28, 2016, the New York Knicks were visiting the New Orleans Pelicans. In the middle of the contest, the game was interrupted by an unruly fan. However, this was not your normal hooligan; this was not an obnoxious drunkard hurling insults at players or water bottles on the court. No, this was a young boy who, during a foul shot, made it down the aisle, past security, underneath the basket, and out on to the court to the foul line. And there, this young boy gave a big hug to his hero — Carmelo Anthony. The crowd, the officials, and the players did not seem overly concerned, but the child’s mother was less than pleased with her son’s impulsive display of affection. However, the child didn’t really care what others thought. He didn’t ask permission from anyone before bounding towards Carmelo. He only had one thing in mind, “There is my man; there is my hero; there is my favorite player in the flesh; I have got to go and show my love. I just can’t help myself!”
In the Gospel of Luke, similar affection is shown by a female worshiper towards Jesus:
One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” … Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much ….” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven … Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:36-50)
She didn’t ask permission. She didn’t care what others thought. She wasn’t overly concerned with etiquette and social protocol. She didn’t worry about her gender. She didn’t worry about her past. She didn’t worry about Jesus’ reception. She heard Jesus was in the house and had only one thing in mind, “There is my man; there is my hero; there is my Savior; I have got to go and show my love. I just can’t help myself!”She was the female version of the Prodigal Son and she was running to Jesus for salvation.
Friends, do not hide from Jesus as did Adam and Eve. In all your nakedness, with your flimsy covering, run to him who comes to you.
Like Jacob, audaciously grab hold of Jesus and wrestle a bit.
Ruth boldly expressed her intention and gave honor to Boaz. Go ahead and pledge your affection to the Heavenly Groom.
Be more like David and dance for joy over the greatness of your God. Give not a second thought to discouraging legalists who value not your display of affection.
Mary sat at Jesus feet.
Peter jumped in the water to swim to his friend.
Boldly come before your God in worship. He wants it. He desires it. He allows it. He accepts it. He demands it.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)