Settling For Crumbs by Patty LaRoche

The disciples were annoyed.  A Canaanite woman was crying out, begging Jesus to heal her demon-possessed daughter.  Jesus said nothing, so his disciples told him to send her away; she was getting on their nerves.  Read the story in Matthew 15:21-28.

Perhaps had she been from the right side of the tracks, things would have been different.

Instead of the compassionate Jesus siding with her, he said, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.”  Not to her kind.  For she was not Jewish.  I picture the disciples smirking as Jesus let her know that she was not one of them.

The woman would not be turned away.  Verse 25 says that she knelt before him.  “Lord, help me!” she said. Surely now he would be moved.  Instead, he replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to the dogs.”  Oh my gosh!  Jesus called this desperate woman a dog.  Surely there’s a misprint.  The mother did not care how she was branded.  She knew that Jesus was the only one who could heal her child.  Her answer shows her humility.

 “Yes it is, Lord,” she said. “Even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their master’s table.”  That’s all it took.  She knew Jesus as Lord.  As Master.  It was then he showed the side he needed all to see.  “Woman,” he answered, “You have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.

At. That. Moment.

So what’s going on here?  For one, Canaanites were hated by the Jews.  Hundreds of years before, the nations warred against each other, and even though the Prince of Peace (Jesus) was now walking with the Jews, they wanted no part of their enemy.  (Sounds a little like politics in the United States, don’t you think?)

Jesus’ followers had to be shocked. Had he lost his mind?  No doubt, they loved it when he spoke condescendingly to the despairing mother. But when this woman, this “enemy,” honored the master, the tone changed.  Surely they were confused.

Matthew writes this narrative to remind us that we all are equal, no matter our history, our ethnicity or our prejudices, and there’s a good chance some of us outspoken “Christians” might know about spirituality a lot less than others who don’t speak about their faith.  As I write this, I am caught in the middle of a conflict between a “Christian” couple and a couple who profess no faith.  I am siding with the latter.

My prayer warrior friends here in Mexico are doing likewise, as we have watched the church-going couple defame the integrity of our giving, generous, dedicated friends who have spent the last ten years serving the less fortunate.  I have been asked to speak to the head of the organization who has bought into the lies of the one couple, but since my Spanish is limited (poor), I asked a precious Christian, bilingual friend to accompany me.  She answered in length about her attempt to open the eyes of the one in charge, to no avail.  According to her, others have done likewise.  I will be no different.

The difficulty of this is for me not to judge the Christian couple without even offering them the crumbs of my faith by praying for them.  Sometimes it’s easier just to judge…in which case, I am no different from the ones I’m criticizing.











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