A Little Bit Naughty

As you’ll know if you’re a regular here, I love musicals, and over the Christmas holidays I got to watch the new film of a musical I enjoyed watching in the theatre several years ago – Matilda. I’d highly recommend watching it if you get the chance. It’s available on Netflix in many countries.

Matilda is a young girl brought up in a neglectful and abusive family, but, with great courage and determination, she chooses to rise above it and take action to change her story. The song “Naughty” speaks of her decision to do that.

“Just because you find that life’s not fair, it
Doesn’t mean that you just have to grin and bear it.
If you always take it on the chin and wear it,
You might as well be saying you think that it’s OK.
And that’s not right.
And if it’s not right, you have to put it right.
But nobody else is gonna put it right for me.
Nobody but me is gonna change my story.
Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.”

As I was thinking about Matilda, a Bible story kept coming to mind. It is one of my favourites – the woman who has suffered with bleeding for twelve years but who touches Jesus’ robe and is healed. (Mark 5:25-34) I’ve always admired her faith and courage, but I was struck afresh by how in coming to Jesus in this manner, she, like Matilda, was being “a little bit naughty.

I’ve recently been reading Leviticus, and it provided some new insights into this woman’s story. There is an entire chapter (chapter 15) all about the rules and regulations for those with bodily discharges, but to summarise: people with bodily discharges were considered unclean and anything they wore or touched was also considered unclean. If anyone else touched any of those things, then they would become unclean.

All of this highlights the size of the risk the woman was taking when she approached Jesus and touched his robe. According to the rules, she really shouldn’t have touched him, as she would be making him unclean.

But here’s the twist in the tale: instead of her making Jesus unclean, he made her clean! At once the bleeding stopped and she was healed, showing that his holiness and healing power are stronger than our uncleanness. And instead of rebuking her or shaming her for what she did, he praised her for her faith and told her to go in peace – all because the woman chose to be a little bit naughty!

It got me thinking about other examples like this in the Bible, and I was surprised to see that there are many:

  • The friends who made a hole in a roof to get their paralysed friend to Jesus in the hope of healing. (Mark 2:1-12)
  • The woman who gatecrashed a Pharisee’s party in order to demonstrate her love to Jesus by anointing him with perfume. (Luke 7:36-50)
  • The Gentile woman who refused to take no for an answer and persisted with Jesus until he healed her daughter. (Matthew 15:21-28)
  • The blind man who ignored the crowd’s orders to be quiet and kept on shouting for Jesus. (Luke 18:35-43)

Each of them was a little bit naughty, but there is no sense at all that Jesus was annoyed. In fact, it seems that he appreciated their audacious faith.

After all, Jesus could be a little bit naughty himself on occasion (in the sense of going against the letter of the law and the expectations of others) – healing on the Sabbath, touching lepers. spending time with tax collectors and sinners.

Motivation matters, and in each situation mentioned here, the “naughtiness” appears to be motivated by compassion or a desire for justice. For those who came to Jesus, there was also a desperation, a recognition that only Jesus could help.

Matilda sings that only she can change her story, that no-one else is going to do it for her. I believe that Jesus is actually the one who can change our stories, but sometimes part of that involves us plucking up our courage and stepping out in faith to take action – to go against others’ expectations, to pray an audacious prayer, to persist instead of giving up, to show our love for God and others in radical ways, to create the change we want to see.

“Sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty.”

Linking with: Inspire Me Monday, Tell His StoryInstaEncouragementsLet’s Have CoffeeRecharge WednesdayTune In ThursdayGrace & Truth

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23 thoughts on “A Little Bit Naughty

  1. ‘Motivation matters, and in each situation mentioned here, the “naughtiness” appears to be motivated by compassion or a desire for justice.’

    Don’t you just love how God sees right into our hearts … He’s the only One who truly can discern where we’re coming from. What a wonderful Savior!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leslie,
    I LOVE this analogy! I recently watched the two episodes in The Chosen series called “Clean.” The one portrayed the story and actions of the woman who had been bleeding for years. I was so moved by her faith and determination and then by the compassionate response of Jesus. I’ve read the story many times, but to see it acted out really brought the message home. Jesus and His disciples were all a little bit naughty at times. If they hadn’t been, the world may not have known.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s interesting what we perceive as ‘naughty’ Lesley & what God sees as determined audicious faith.

    It provokes the following question; are we so constrained by our western ‘Societal norms’ & Other’s expectations that we see determined audicious faith as naughtiness?

    Thank you for this very thought provoking post!
    Blessings, Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lesley, I saw the same episodes of The Chosen that Bev mentioned in her comment, and I thought of them as I was reading your post. I love how you point out that instead of the woman making Jesus unclean, He made her clean. He has a way of flipping the conventional wisdom on its head, that’s for sure. Love this post, friend.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Such a good post, Lesley! Sometimes we are called “to go against others’ expectations, to pray an audacious prayer, to persist instead of giving up, to show our love for God and others in radical ways, to create the change we want to see.” At those times, may we ask the Lord for courage to do what He is asking.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is really good, Lesley! I love how Jesus models radical love to us, going against the letter of the law and the expectations of others. May we have the grace and courage to be more like Him! Love and blessings to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The woman with the issue of blood has, for so long, been one of my favorite Bible stories/accounts. There are endless lessons learned and applications to be made for each of us….like, instead of making Jesus unclean, He made her clean! Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

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