The Bible Story That Has Shaped My Life More Than Any Other In The Last 15 Years

Jesus is at dinner party hosted by a Pharisee named Simon (no relation to me) when a woman comes in uninvited and begins to anoint his feet with her tears and wipe them with her hair. Simon, who thinks very highly of himself, can’t believe that Jesus would allow such a woman to touch him and thinks that this must be evidence that Jesus isn’t even a prophet much less the Son of God. (Side note: When you have grown so “holy” in your own eyes that you look down on Jesus, that’s not a good sign.)

After telling Simon a story, Jesus compares the woman’s behavior toward him with his host’s and then concludes with this…

Luke 7:47: “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

Those who are forgiven much love much and those who are forgiven little love little. Meditate on that and the truth in it will change your life.

Jesus’ point is NOT that some people are forgiven more than others. His point is that some people sense and feel and grasp and are astonished by how much they have been forgiven while others are unmoved by it. Maybe they take it for granted? Maybe they have forgotten the great gap between sinful human beings and a holy God?

Some have a huge cross in that they really get the great debt Jesus paid for them. Some, while never thinking they are perfect or don’t need a Savior, have a small cross in that they think that Jesus gave them a little boost to reach God.

The reality is that we drift back and forth between being a Pharisee (like Simon) and the woman of ill repute. We drift back and forth between having a correct assessment of the great debt Jesus paid for us and at other times minimizing what he did for us. Whether we have a sense of a huge cross that paid a huge debt or a small cross that gave a little help to an otherwise good person will make a tremendous difference in how we live our life.

When I am really believing the gospel, when I’m aware of who I am (desperate lost sinner) and who God is (holy, holy, holy) and the massive debt Jesus paid for me to rescue me out of sin and slavery and reconcile me to God, it changes how I live.

When I am believing the gospel…

1. My sin bothers me more than other people’s sin. The log in my eye is more of a concern for me than the speck in someone else’s eye.

2. I am quick to ask for forgiveness and grant it to others. I’m quick to ask forgiveness because I’m very aware of my own sin and quick to forgive others because how could I not forgive them when God has forgiven me of so much.

3. I’m less defensive. Defensiveness is rooted in my identity being wrapped up in the wrong things. (Ex. My identity is in being a good parent so when it’s pointed out that I have things to work on, I feel the urge to defend myself against the criticism.) But when my acceptance is in Christ (not myself), I’m free to listen to criticism and feedback and learn from it.

4. I’m slower to criticize because I know that I have a lot of holes in my life so I take no pleasure in pointing out holes in others.

5. I’m more loving toward my enemies. Since God loved me when I was his enemy, I want to share that love with those who are against me.

6. I seek to serve rather than demanding that I be served. Jesus served me by giving his life, so who am I to expect others to serve me. And I want to serve others even if they don’t properly appreciate my sacrifice since that’s exactly how Jesus served me.

7. I am more patient with people, even people who continually don’t get it, because Jesus is patient with me and I am the poster child of “Not getting what Jesus is teaching me.”

8. I am slow to look down on others for their sin because I know that I have my own serious sins that I struggle with and whatever they’ve done, I could easily do myself. I know the wickedness of my own heart.

9. I am more difficult to offend. It is easy to offend important people because they are rightly due honor and respect. But I am not important and all I deserve is judgment so I can’t be slighted or offended.

This is who I am becoming when I am believing the gospel but, of course, like every Christian I am in a daily fight to believe the truth and fight against the inner Pharisee.

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