Mark 7:24–37, Staying In Dialogue

Verses 28–29: “’Sir’, she answered, ‘even the dogs under the table eat the children’s scraps.’ He said to her, ‘For saying that, you may go home content; the unclean spirit has gone our of your daughter.’”

What a strange interaction! The passage from Mark offers a seemingly insulting exchange between Jesus and a Gentile woman. The woman approaches Jesus asking that her daughter be healed. Jesus replies, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.”

Jesus’ response does not deter the woman. She persists. She furthers the scenario Jesus began in his retort. “Even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” Her interaction with Jesus gets the healing she wants for her daughter.

Commentaries note that the exchange between Jesus and the Gentile woman was common to the Greek way between teachers and students. Dialectics, or dialogue, was the preferred method of seeking truth when two opposing ideas were presented. The Gentile woman engaged Jesus’ question instead of sulking away feeling rebuffed. Her answer affirmed her value to be nourished even if seen as less than. She asserted her presence and her desire. Jesus honored her stand by granting her request.

How do we respond when we acknowledge our heart’s desires only to be rebuffed by some inner voice that sounds like “the authority”? The internal naysayer, often experienced as the absolute truth, can abruptly halt our energy when we go along with it. Negative, denying voices are deadly to our life force when we accept their judgments as the final outcome. Too often, we give ourselves over to the thwarting inner voices. We need to be tenacious when seeking healing for our selves.

Healing means wholeness. More than anything, the heart wants to be whole. The desire for wholeness translates into feelings of love. Love unites. Love joins together even what seems opposite. Wholeness doesn’t always look like what we originally imagine. Moving towards our heart’s desires isn’t always direct. We have to consciously hold the conflicting parts of our selves in dialogue for healing to occur.

I love the image of having a conference room in our heart. We can invite all parts of our selves into the conference room to have their say. Each voice or bit of Self gets to speak in the presence of the others, who also get to have their say. It’s a beautiful meeting of the various, sometimes conflicting parts of our selves.

In the process of coming together in the heart, the various bits of self inform one another. They begin to temper or balance each other in service of the whole we are. As for the Gentile woman with Jesus, our desire for healing/wholeness is honored. The key is to stay in dialogue with whatever comes up as we state our hearts’ desires. In doing this, we follow the example of the Gentile woman.

Inner Reflection
How, where, and about what are you in dialogue with your self at this time? How is the inner naysayer responding? What desires have you let go of because of inner negativity? Where do you want healing/wholeness but are afraid you don’t deserve it?

Ask God Within to help you imagine how to stand in the truth of your desire like the Gentile woman did. Breathe into your heart and invite all of what’s stirring to meet there. In your mind’s eye and/or on paper in your journal, hear what each bit of your self has to say. Practice standing in the truth of your deservedness to be whole by affirming to each bit of self your heart’s desire. Stay in dialogue until healing happens.

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