28 She replied, “That’s true, Lord, but even the dogs under the table are allowed to eat the scraps from the children’s plates.”
29 “Good answer!” he said. “Now go home, for the demon has left your daughter.”30 And when she arrived home, she found her little girl lying quietly in bed, and the demon was gone. — Mark 7:28-30 NLT
Hearing the words that Jesus had just spoken to her, it would have been understandable if this woman would have just crawled out of the room and left without receiving anything from Jesus. But instead she suffered the humiliation and showed great humility by humbling herself before Jesus. She told Jesus, I am not asking for the best, your leftovers will be more than sufficient to fulfill my needs. Because of her humble response, Jesus answered her request and healed her daughter. Is there a request in our lives that Jesus hasn’t fulfilled? Is it possible that our “unanswered” prayers only appear to be unanswered because we refuse to humble ourselves before the Lord? Is it possible that God can’t say “yes” because we refuse to say “yes” to His request? Is it possible that we will only accept our preconceived notion as the answer and we miss what God is trying to do in our lives? In this instance, Jesus first said “no” (which is an answer) but then because of her humbleness and persistence, He said “yes”. God always answers every prayer, just because we don’t like the answer doesn’t mean He didn’t hear and answer us. We need to be like the Phoenician woman, we need to be persistent but humble. If we give God a good answer, He will give us a good answer.
6 So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor.7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. — 1 Peter 5:6, 7 NLT
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—10 not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world.11 But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolateror slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people. 12 What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? 13 God will judge those outside. “Expel the wicked person from among you.”—1 Cor. 5:9-13 NIV
Paul is not suggesting that we never associate with worldly people whose lives are controlled by their fleshly desires. Just as Jesus said, we “are in the world but not of the world”. We hold ourselves to different standards. We are not to think of ourselves as “better than” nor are we to think of ourselves as “holier than” anyone. What we are to do is to separate ourselves from our Christian brothers and sisters who have chosen to live unholy lifestyles. We are as Paul puts it to “expel the wicked person from among you.” This seems harsh to us. We had rather hide behind verses such as “judge not lest you be judged” and “pull the plank out of your own eye before you point out the toothpick in your brother’s eye”. (my paraphrase) We must keep the Temple of Christ clean and holy. 1 Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.—2 Cor. 7:1 NIV