I got a pedicure yesterday (ok, so I was trying to induce labor--it didn't work) so my feet are now pretty and swollen as opposed to just swollen. I've always found feet to be pretty disgusting. Just ask my friend Amy who was forever putting her feet on me when we were younger just to annoy me, or my dad who was always trying to find a way to put his foot in my ear (long story). Feet=gross! Pedicures are actually hard for me to sit through but that's mostly because my feet are really ticklish. It's generally a pleasant process interspersed with moments of absolute torture.
This week I'm working my way through yet another Max Lucado book, Grace where he's talking about how good deeds don't get us into Heaven and salvation was paid for by Jesus and a debt we owed but He didn't (same old stuff, different book but always worth hearing). The part I read this morning told a story of a women who was driving along when suddenly a frozen turkey landed on her car, smashing her windshield and shattering most of the bones in her face. The teen prankster was eventually caught and prosecuted, but the astonishing part of the story was his punishment. This woman would never look in the mirror again without seeing the effects of what he had done to her. She was in incredible pain and forever changed. Yet this young man got a very light sentence. Even more astonishing was that despite the public outcry, the victim was the one who suggested a light sentence. She forgave him.
Max then went on to talk about the part of the last supper when Jesus washed the disciples feet. He was basically saying that Jesus was cleaning the ugly stinky parts of his disciples and he went through the list of all of them who were selfish or prideful or some other undesirable character trait at some point. James and John wanted special treatment, Peter would deny Him, Judas...well, we all know about Judas. Anyway Max then suggested that we all have turkeys in our lives--a spouse, a boss, a friend, someone who treats us poorly when we don't deserve it. What should we do about it? Wash their feet! This woman had washed the feet of her teen turkey thrower just as Jesus had washed the feet of his disciples, just as we are to wash the feet of the turkeys in our lives.
I have a couple of turkeys who particularly plague me and I'm trying to figure out just how I might go about washing their feet. It's all symbolic, right? I'm not actually going to touch ANYONE'S feet. But doing something nice for them, forgiving them for being stupid (ok ok, so that's NOT exactly the lesson here), something like that.
But then I realized something very different about the disciples--at least in the way they are portrayed in the Bible, they would all agree that they were being turkeys. Peter cried his eyes out after the rooster crowed. Judas hanged himself for goodness sake! I think we can all agree that they are being turkeys. But the turkey's in my life would strongly disagree that they are in fact, turkeys. In addition, the disciples all agreed that their feet were dirty and needed cleaning. These turkeys, I think, like their dirty feet. What do you do when the turkey doesn't want his or her feet washed?
Now, I'm not talking about a turkey who has dirty feet, is willing to let me wash them but then walks right back in the mud. That's an easy answer--you keep washing the feet. That's what Jesus would say, right? No, I'm talking about turkeys who like their feet dirty. I don't think Christ's message would be the same if he'd had to wrestle the disciples to the ground and forcibly scrub their toes. Can you imagine?
"Just hold still a minute! Stop squirming! Your feet are filthy!" I say that to my children but I didn't see anything like that described at the Last Supper. They might have felt unworthy but in the end, all gave up their dirt freely. These turkeys don't seem to want their feet washed. For example, I bring in a nice cake and give it to my turkey. "Thought you'd enjoy this."
"I'm trying not to eat carbs," said the turkey.
I bring in the mail for my turkey, saving him a trip to the mailbox.
"I was trying to keep the clutter off of my desk," said the turkey.
So, what can I do? How does one respond to the call to love thy neighbor (wash thy neighbor's feet) if that neighbor doesn't want to be loved (or have their feet washed)? I don't think it would go over well if I to chase my turkeys around with a basin and a wash cloth. I really think these turkeys would rather I just leave them alone. All I can think is that if Jesus were here having this chat with me that He would tell me to pray that God would soften their hearts. So I supposed I'll stop chasing turkeys around, keeping the pedicures for myself for now. Unless anyone out there has a better idea.