We live in a media-saturated world where women seem more connected than ever before. Our problem is we outwardly appear to be close when in fact women feel more isolated than ever. Consequently, many young women want mentors, guides, and role models to whom they can bring their accomplishments and failures to feel affirmed, mutually respected, and understood.
Jesus is a brilliant example of what it means to be a safe haven for others. When we examine his relationship with his disciples, we see that he allowed them to be themselves, even if that meant they would resist his ideas. According to John, in the weeks up to his death, Jesus didn’t minister to the crowds; instead, he spent time with his closest friends. The gospel writer was showing how much Jesus prioritized personal relationships.
Eagerly desiring to show his closest friends something more, Jesus did something for them that, as far as we know, he never did for other human beings: he knelt and washed the feet of all twelve of his disciples. When he came to Peter and lowered himself, Peter objected. He insisted that this Messiah, Lord, and Savior could not wash his dirty feet. On the surface it might have seemed as though Peter was being humble, but that wasn’t the case. His words betrayed his self-reliance: “You shall never wash my feet.” He had no real desire to do Christ’s will. Jesus wisely saw the bigger picture and didn’t walk away from or ignore his friend. Nor did he criticize him for his outburst. Instead he loved him without condition, giving Peter the freedom to express whatever was on his mind.
When people feel safe, they often reveal their truest natures. As Christ revealed his own humility by lowering himself to wash the disciples’ feet, Peter revealed his spiritual independence.
When Jesus healed the sick, the disciples saw his compassion; when he cast out demons and fed the five thousand, they saw his supernatural power. But in this scene they saw his nature: open and humble.
There is a lesson here for those of us who want to build bridges to younger women: when we are humble, others are free to be open around us.
*Are you humble and open in your nature, allowing others to be honest and transparent around you? What are some ways you could grow in this area?