We who have been forgiven of much should be the most forgiving of all.
Luke 7 details an encounter between Jesus and someone identified simply as “a woman who had lived a sinful life.” She wept at Jesus’ feet, wiping her tears away with her hair. She poured fragrant perfume upon his feet in an act of unbridled worship.
Witnessing this emotional encounter was Jesus’ host, a Pharisee, who was incensed that Jesus had allowed the woman to touch him, much less anoint his feet with tears and perfume. Jesus responded with a story that illustrated how our thankfulness is proportional to our awareness of how much we are forgiven.
The host, smug and self-righteous, failed to show Jesus even the most common of courtesies. The woman, fully aware of her own sin, was compelled to worship.
Luke quotes Jesus as saying,
I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.
The Challenge to Forgive
Last Sunday I asked us all to reflect over what Jesus has forgiven in us. One of the only reasons to ever look back upon past mistakes is to recall how much Jesus has forgiven and forgotten. I also asked us all to consider if we are withholding grace from others.
I am repeating the challenge. Take time to look back over your life. Recall attitudes or actions that Jesus has forgiven. Be honest. Own your mistakes. Recognize your failures. However, let yourself rejoice in the lavish love of our Lord Jesus.
When we remember the forgiveness Jesus has extended to us we find no other option but to forgive others. When I recall my own failures and shortcomings I find it hard to remain angry at people who are similarly less than perfect.
May we all be like that unnamed woman.