March 27 - Love and Forgiveness
At the invitation of Simon, the Pharisee, Jesus was reclining at the table when a woman who was a known sinner, came and anointed Jesus with oil in an alabaster flask. She stood behind Him at his feet, weeping and began to wet His feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with ointment. Simon was offended by Jesus’ reception of the woman’s touching because she was a sinner.
Jesus responded by telling a story about moneylender and his two debtors. One owed him five hundred denarii and the other fifty. When both could not pay, he forgave them both. The question posed by Jesus to Simon was, “Now which of them love him more?” The answer was obvious, the one who was forgiven more, or the one who owed more in the first place. Simon got the message and Jesus compared him to the debtor who owed fifty denarii and the woman as the one who owed five hundred. That explained why the love was much more from the woman than from the Pharisee.
Some may see the woman as a greater sinner while the Pharisee as a lesser one, and that was why they reacted in such different ways. However, in God’s eyes, all sinners are equally sinful, all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. A greater sinner or a lesser sinner is only in the mind of the sinner. The Pharisee may see that his sins as lesser in severity than the sins of the woman. So in his mind, he was a better person. A self perceived better person feels that he is forgiven less while the self perceived greater sinner feels that is forgiven more. It has to do with how we look at our sins.
How we look at ourselves has a lot to do with our love of God. Love is in direct proportion to gratitude. The more grateful we are, the more love we have of God. Self-righteous people are seldom fully God-lovers since they do not think that bad of themselves. They only pay lip service as far as loving God is concerned. Deep down in their heart, they think they are worthy of the cross and God’s forgiveness.
When applied to our human relationships, forgiveness is the proof of our love for one another. The more you forgive, the more you love. Instead of the forgiveness we have received from God, it is the forgiveness that we extend to those who have offended us. From the passive receiving, we may move to the active giving of forgiveness. It takes a lot of love to forgive another person, even your loved ones.
How is your love for God? You can only love Him more if you realize how awful you are as a sinner. How is your love for others? It is gauged by how much you forgive.
Ps 44:9-16 Deut 7:1-8:20 Luke 7:36-8:3 Prov 12:1