YOUR SINS ARE FORGIVEN
If you’re not familiar with the story of Jesus and the sinful woman (Luke 7:36–50), let’s do a quick recap! Jesus was invited to dinner at the home of Simon, one of the Pharisees. When it spread throughout the city where Jesus would be, a woman came to see him. When the woman approached Jesus from behind, she fell at his feet and began to weep. She started to wash his feet with her tears, wiping them clean with her hair. She remained at his feet, pouring expensive perfume on him.
When Simon saw what was happening, he wondered if Jesus was really a prophet because if he was then he would know that the woman touching him was a sinner. Jesus heard his thoughts and began to tell Simon a story of a man who loaned money to two different men. One man was loaned 500 pieces of silver and the other man was loaned 50 pieces of silver. When both men were unable to repay their debt, the man forgave them both what they owed. Jesus looked at Simon and asked, “Who do you think loved him more after forgiving their debt?” Simon answered that the man with the larger debt loved more.
And Simon was right, the one who was forgiven of much, loved much.
To prove the point further, Jesus began recounting the difference between Simon and the woman. When Jesus entered Simon’s home, he wasn’t offered water to wash his feet, but the woman used her tears to wash Jesus’ feet. When Jesus arrived, Simon didn’t even offer a warm welcome, but the woman couldn’t stop kissing the feet of Jesus. And even though Simon forgot to offer oil to anoint Jesus’ head, the woman anointed Jesus with expensive perfume.
Even though the woman had many sins, she had been forgiven. Not only did Jesus know the depth of her sin, but she knew too. She understood that she had been forgiven for so much and in return she loved Jesus so much. However, the person who has been forgiven little shows little love.
Jesus looked at the woman and told her that her sins were forgiven, to go in peace because her faith had saved her. Jesus knew who was at his feet, he understood her sin and knew the depth of her heart. But, he also knew that she had been forgiven for the 500 pieces of silver and her heart towards him was full.
The story of the woman in Luke is a sobering reminder that those who’ve been forgiven much should love much. Many times, we think of ourselves as Simon which, honestly, is the problem. We are quick to think of ourselves as good people. But, surprise! If we really looked at our lives, we would realize that we are the sinful woman at the feet of Jesus … or at least we should be.
I was the woman at the feet of Jesus. In my brokenness, Jesus forgave me for my sin. If I’m being honest, Jesus continues to forgive me for 500 pieces of silver on the daily. Why wouldn’t I want to extend that forgiveness to others?
This forgiveness is only found in Jesus. And that’s the beauty of the Gospel. A perfect and holy God, in the form of Jesus, came to a sinful world to save wicked people. He did this through his perfect life, death on a cross and His resurrection where He defeated death and sin altogether.
Jesus’ sacrifice paid a debt that we couldn’t. Jesus paid the 500 pieces of silver that we owed because we couldn’t have paid it ourselves.
Nothing we could do, say or bring to God was good enough to pay for our sin debt. Thankfully, the same God that required payment for sin also provided a way for our debt to be forgiven, bringing us from death to life. Starting back in Genesis 3, every person was born into sin and was an offense to God. But, while we were still sinners, Jesus died for us (Rom. 5:8). How crazy is that? That Jesus would not only offer forgiveness to his enemy, but He died for His enemy!
The story in Luke really hit home for me a few years ago when I started to think about the relationship between my absent father and forgiveness. Because let’s be real, forgiveness is easy to talk about and more difficult to practice.
There was once a time that hearing the word forgiveness would make me roll my eyes and tune out whoever was talking.
See, I was raised by an amazing single mom because my dad left when I was young. The few memories I did have of him weren’t the greatest. They were filled with multiple forms of substance abuse, arguments that led to physical damage, abuse towards my mom and a lot of other things that made my memories of him not so sweet. These experiences hardened my heart towards my dad. I was overcome with unforgiveness and hatred. This pain shaped the way I viewed the world around me and relationships in my life. It made me angry and distant.
Around 16 years old, Jesus saved me. He forgave me for the 500 pieces of silver.
As I began to walk out my faith, I was faced with these feelings of unforgiveness. But for the first time, I felt guilt towards the anger I had towards my dad. No matter how I would try to justify my feelings, nothing seemed to bring peace to my heart.
Jesus started to do some amazing things in my life, I started to realize that the forgiveness I had received was the same forgiveness that I needed to extend. The same love I had received was the same love that I needed to extend. Don’t get me wrong, the feelings of abandonment, anger and unforgiveness didn’t go away overnight, but I saw the Lord working in my heart.
Even now, almost ten years later, I continually check my heart towards my dad. Each season of life I enter, I’m reminded that I enter it without a father and that’s hard.
- Jesus reminds me that I’m called to obedience, even when I don’t understand.
- I’m called to forgive, even if means forgiving someone who doesn’t understand the damage they’ve caused.
- I’m called to forgive, even if it doesn’t mean reconciliation.
- I’m called to forgive because I have been forgiven.
- I’m called to love because even while I was his enemy, Jesus’ love for me meant enduring the cross.
I don’t know my dad, but I know Jesus. And it’s the power of Jesus that gives me the ability to show forgiveness, love and grace to those who’ve wronged me.
When you’ve experienced the forgiveness of much, remember that you are now commanded to love much. When we are rooted in the love of Jesus, we are