My husband does not prefer rap music. He loves classical, Christian, oldies, and a myriad of other music but rap is not his jam. Sometimes, I turn on rap and watch him cringe just for the funny factor (I know it’s not nice but I have a wicked streak in me). Some Bible characters get a bad “rap” in the Bible and we fail to see how our own humanity is reflected in them.
Lot’s wife and Job’s wife are two people we should take a look at today. Neither one of them has an actual name in the Bible and both are often judged for their choices. “But Lot’s wife looked back, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:26. Angels lead Lot, his wife and daughters out of the city and burned it to the ground for the sinfulness that was occurring in Sodom and Gomorrah. The angels told them not to look back; unfortunately, Lot’s wife did and had dire consequences. We judge Lot’s wife for her disobedience, but pause and ponder. Her entire life was in the city: her home, her son-in-laws, her belongings, her friends, maybe her parents and relatives. Would you have looked back? Maybe… and just maybe, we need to acknowledge that when Jesus calls us to a new day, a new direction, a new calling, it is a sin to look back.
Lot’s wife is a testimony to our own human condition of looking back instead of pressing forward to the upward calling of Christ.
In the book of Job, his wife gets a bad rap. Job 2:9 “His wife said to him, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die!” in response to Job. Grief is talking through Job’s wife. In Chapter 1 of Job, all of her children have died suddenly, her livestock were taken away by enemies, a fire has killed sheep and servants and her husband is covered in sores from his head to his feet. This is a woman in terrible pain and lamenting over the babies she bore and all the other circumstances. When she says, “Are you still maintaining your integrity? Curse God and die”. Let me offer a few new explanations. First, it is grief talking and when a grieving person is suffering logic is low and emotions are high. Or secondly, this mama with no children has nothing left to live for and expresses this to Job.
This moment, humanity is real and loss is real. Our judgment should be reserved and our compassion should kick in. Her historical bad rap shadows our ability to feel empathy for her loss.
The enemy wants us to see the “bad rap” a person has.
Jesus wants us to see the human condition of loss and grief.
He wants us to empathize with the broken-hearted and come to support them. He also wants us to see that we too “turn back” to things or people of the past and recognize that we are not going that way anymore.
Choose compassion over criticism
and grace over judgment;
that’s how Jesus uses us to change
“our bad raps”
into something beautiful.