There are days where I feel sorely misunderstood. Like there is no one in the world who has any idea what it feels like to be me. Everyone sees me for my mistakes and failings and not who I have become and what I can do. And sometimes I wonder if Mary Magdalene ever felt the same way.
We have all made mistakes. We all have our shortcomings. And some of ours are more publicly made than others. Sometimes it is a lack of a left hand ring, sometimes it is a divorce, and sometimes it is just something stupid we did ten years ago that we can’t ever seem to escape. Have you ever had your past come back to bite you years after you have repented and moved on? Just when you think you have left it all behind you and become a better person, because of your past someone else comes along and rather unkindly reminds the world of who you used to be. As if somehow it was their job to keep you humble and humiliated.
I think there is no better example of being remembered for your mistakes and not for what she could be than Mary Magdalene. She was devoted to her Lord. She went to the Tomb. She saw the Risen Lord. But there will always be a footnote next to her name linking back to Luke 8:2 “And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils.”
Of all the wonderful things we could remember devils. She believed and saw when no one else would. Mark 16:9-11
“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.
And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.
And they, when they had heard he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not.”
How hard it must have been for Mary Magdalene. How hard it is for all of us to overcome our pasts. Maybe we’ll never truly escape our pasts, in spite of being forgiven for our mistakes. But there is one thought that brings some comfort. At least our mistakes and past have not been recorded for history to read in the most famous and widely read book the world has ever known like Mary Magdalene’s were.