Luke 7:36-50 chronicles the unique encounter between a repentant woman, a judgmental Pharisee named Simon and Jesus. The woman began to wash the feet of Jesus with her tears, she wiped them with her hair, kissed his feet, and anointed them with ointment. She was broken in her sin and was showing her repentance and love to her Savior. Simon, who had invited Jesus to his home, condemned Jesus in his heart for receiving this sinful woman. Jesus shared a story with Simon about two debtors, one who owed five hundred pence and the other fifty. Neither could pay and the creditor forgave them both, He then asked Simon which of them will love the creditor most for forgiving their debts? Simon answered correctly by saying the debtor who owed the most would love him most for forgiving the larger debt.
I need to be clear here that this discussion between Jesus and Simon is not about the amount of sin that Simon or the woman had, but the perception of their sin. Both, if unrepentant were headed for judgment, so the woman did not have a larger debt of sin. The Pharisees were hypocritical and judgmental. If we perceive that we have little or no sin, we have little motivation to repent and our love will be little also. If we see the magnitude of our sin, then our repentance, love and gratitude toward Christ will be great also.
We must answer the same questions; How great was my debt? How great is my forgiveness? How great is my love? The Lord Jesus confirms that the greater our perception of our sin and forgiveness, the greater will be our love of the Lord and others. It is good for us to examine our hearts. I know in my own life, my perception of my sin and forgiveness has changed. There have been times where I thought too highly of myself and I had little love and there have been times where I have seen the magnitude of my sin and His forgiveness and have loved much. Lord, help me to see Your grace and mercy more clearly.
There is a woman named Brenda at Peggy’s house who has blessed me immensely. She’s had a hard go of it for several years now and she is not deceived as to the cause of her problems. She sees how her discontent in her previous marriage and lifestyle led her to make some seriously poor decisions which led her to drugs, alcohol, promiscuity and homelessness. Proverbs 28:13 says, “He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.” We’re not hiding anything from God, so confessing to God and those who can help us is the beginning of mercy.
When I first met Brenda, she was so desperate to get right with the Lord that all I had to do was be there. Even at that, she had to push me along out of her desire to clear her conscience and get right with Jesus. So she got right to it and I did the same and she gave her heart to Christ within minutes. Brenda’s enthusiasm in making things right with Christ was a testimony to me. She hopped up and gave me such a strong hug that I thought I might get a Chiropractic back adjustment out of it. To my disappointment, my back was a little too tight to adjust that day.
I have to say that the Lord would be so blessed if we all saw our sin in such a way and walked in the love and gratitude of our repentance. No doubt it is a challenge to keep that level of gratitude and love day in and out, but it should be our goal. The Lord so desires a pure and fervent heart and an intimate relationship. That’s not too much to ask for all He’s done. The question is do we see all He’s done.
The great commandment is to love the Lord, because the Lord knows that we’ll follow our heart. Brenda is a testimony to me, and I hope also to you. We are wise to see the debt of mercy and love our Lord has extended to us. We are wise to make the most of our time and gifts to serve our Savior and reach out to the lost and needy. The difference between Simon who felt that he was without sin and the need of a Savior and the woman who was desperate to receive forgiveness of her sins was huge. Simon went away without forgiveness and salvation, the woman was born again and inspires to this day.
So, as you go through your day, think about what your Savior has done for you, think about the woman who washed the feet of Jesus out of gratitude and think about those around you who have much love for Jesus because they see their debt and His mercy. Never look upon them as greater sinners as Simon did, look upon them as greater realizers of their debt, having greater repentance of their sin and greater lovers of Jesus. Then use their example to see the magnitude of forgiveness you have received. Lord willing, we are baptizing Brenda and two others in the Flathead River in early August. Glory be to God!