“One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she 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 the ointment. Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner….Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” – Luke 7:36-39; 47-50.
It is hard to go through a day without thinking about forgiveness and love. Because nothing is more daily than the call to forgive and nothing is more important than the way that we love.
I think many of you can relate to the “sinful woman forgiven” story found in Luke 7. It is all too easy to be the self-righteous Pharisee. We become Pharisee-like when we see people through the lens of criticism and judgment—especially if their actions have hurt or inconvenienced us. Or if they struggle with things different than our struggles. We can raise ourselves up onto a pedestal and become arrogant and self-righteousness.
We can also be the sinful woman at His feet. There is no illusion, our sins are just as ugly and numerous as hers, maybe just not as public. The woman’s faith saved her and the Bible tells us that He has forgiven all of our sins—past, present, and future.
We need to forgive others as God has forgiven us. But, you may be thinking, “what if my spouse/relative does something unforgiveable?” Jesus never said forgiving would be easy. But, He did say that we need to forgive, over and over again. There was no caveat that said to forgive only when the other person deserves it or to forgive if they ask for forgiveness. Matthew 6:15 says, “But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” This is serious business.
And it is not a one time thing. Matthew 18:21-22 says, “ Then Peter came up and said to him, “Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you seven times, but seventy-seven times.”
- What is the difference between forgiving and forgetting in your mind?
- What might we learn here about approaching Jesus from the sinful woman forgiven story in Luke 7?
- Luke 7:47 says, “Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” Do you think this characterizes the lives of those who are believers in Jesus, forgiven by Him? Does it characterize your life?
- Pray and ask God to help forgive those people in your life you need to forgive?