(Scripture references from The Living Translation except as noted)
Are you too proud? Too proud to express PDA (public displays of affection) for those you love?
Yes, yes, I know that in the worldly realm there are those out there that go way beyond what should be socially acceptable with their PDA. So much so that it can be embarrassing for those that witness it. My personal belief is that when couple’s inhibitions are so low that they go over the line of what is truly proper in public, they have crossed from actions of affection and love to lust and egotistical behavior; and sometimes it is only for the shock factor and/or to garner attention.
I have to be honest here though and say that I am not bothered by reasonable expressions of PDA. (The key word here being “reasonable.”) When I see couples holding hands, or hugging, or a little kiss, I am not bothered or offended by that. I can even plead guilty myself of having done that in public.
So in contrast, let us take a look now at spiritual PDA. How about when it comes to showing affection and love for our Lord? Can you cross a line of proper PDA? We should truly have a relationship with our God that is so deep and so strong that we desire to express our love for Him in a very personal and exuberant way.
Most denominational church services over the years have tended to be very dignified, solemn affairs – and there is nothing wrong with that. That is what I grew up with for most of my early years of church attendance. I just accepted it as the norm and did not really know any different.
In my mid-twenties when I first experienced church services and meetings where people actually smiled as they sang lively praise music – people that dared to clap their hands along with the songs – people that moved with the music – people that maybe even jumped up and down with excitement or actually danced – people that were truly joyous – it was a little uncomfortable for me. But, it actually did not take too long for me to realize that this more free way of worshipping God felt good and natural. My spirit within rejoiced as I learned to release and express PDA for my Lord!
In 2 Samuel 6 is the story of when David was having the Ark of God brought back into Jerusalem. It was a joyous time of celebration and we are told in verse 5a “David and the people of Israel were celebrating before the Lord, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments…” As you read on, you learn about an incident with one of the priests touching the Ark and dying as a result. David was so upset that he left the Ark behind where it remained for three months.
When David learned that the household where the Ark had been left was being highly blessed because of it, he decided he must go back and get the Ark to bring it to Jerusalem where it belonged – and I would assume where the blessings would be for the entire nation of Israel instead of just one family. In verse 12b “…David went there and brought the Ark of God from the house of Obed-edom to the city of David with a great celebration.” “And David danced before the Lord with all his might, wearing a priestly garment. So David and all the people of Israel brought up the Ark of the Lord with shouts of joy and blowing of rams’ horns.” (Verses 14 & 15) What a display of PDA that must have been! Expressing such joy and happiness to their God!
There is no doubt that even in services that enjoy a more free way of worshipping with Christian PDA, you are going to have those that may not be as sincere as they should be – they may go a bit too far, possibly doing it more for show and to bring attention to themselves than to truly worship their God. However, we need to be cautious about our judgments. Only God knows what is truly in their heart and being too pious and judgmental toward others can possibly lead to our downfall. As we continue to read this story we will see what can result if you judge someone wrongly – you yourself may have a price to pay as Michal (David’s wife) was to discover.
As you continue to read in 2 Samuel it tells us “But as the Ark of The Lord entered the City of David, Michal, the daughter of Saul, looked down from her window. When she saw King David leaping and dancing before the Lord, she was filled with contempt for him.” They placed the Ark inside the tent that David had erected for it and he presented sacrificial offerings. David then blessed all the people, gave them gifts of food and sent them to their homes.
In verse 20 “When David returned home to bless his own family, Michal, the daughter of Saul, came out to meet him. She said in disgust, ‘How distinguished the king of Israel looked today shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!’” Can you imagine how David must have felt with this confrontation from his wife? I am sure it was a very rude, condescending, sarcastic tone of voice she was using. He must have felt like she had slapped him. He has been on this spiritual high, full of joy, praising God, blessing all the people that were celebrating with him then arrives home to bless his wife and children; and, instead of receiving him with joy, she attempted to shame him.
But David was not going to let Michal extinguish his joy. It says “David retorted to Michal, ‘I was dancing before the Lord, who chose me above your father and all his family! He appointed me the leader of Israel, the people of the Lord, so I celebrate before the Lord. Yes, and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes! But those servant girls you mentioned will indeed think I am distinguished!’ So Michal, the daughter of Saul, remained childless throughout her entire life.” (Verses 21-23)
I believe that as more conservative, refined, restrained Christians it can be very easy for us to let our minds be too much in control. We worry about what others might think if we do things that maybe are not the norm. We need to turn our spirit within loose and let it lead us to a sincere, true, deeper way of free and joyful worship of our Lord. When our worship time involves music that brings joy to us and the love of God floods us, we should relax, lean in to Him and express our deep affection and love – without restraint, but with pure motives and sincere emotions.
Jesus says in John 4:23-24 (The Message): “’It’s who you are and the way you live that count before God. Your worship must engage your spirit in the pursuit of truth. That’s the kind of people the Father is out looking for: those who are simply and honestly themselves before him in their worship. God is sheer being itself – Spirit. Those who worship him must do it out of their very being, their spirits, their true selves, in adoration.’”
Written by Karran Martin – 5/5/19