I went and visited a rather rowdy church last Sunday, in Maple Valley. The sermon was given by a missionary visiting from Africa. He preached a message that has been heard before, beginning with the reading of Luke 7:36-50. The heart of what he preached was from verse 47. I've heard this message before and it always bothered me. It upsets me like the Prodigal Son and the story of Martha & Mary. In each of these stories, I feel like I relate to the wrong character.
He who has been forgiven little, loves little. I've always heard this and thought about how I've tried to live a Holy life. Compared to many, I have. Compared to a murderer, or an adulterer, or the deceitful salesman, I haven't been forgiven much. Will I ever be able to love the way this woman has - who has washed the feet of Jesus with her hair? The thought has gone through my mind that maybe I need to go out and live 'of' the world in order to be forgiven much, so I can then love much. Sounds ridiculous.
44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little."
I know that's not the way, but I haven't been able to see any other way. Until God spoke to me in that sermon. It wasn't spoken by the preacher, he never said anything of the like. What God revealed to me was that what Christ did was not to pardon our sin, but to take them on himself and suffer our punishment for us.
What I have been forgiven of is a life eternally separate from God. A life in the burning embers of Hell. My punishment has been fulfilled by the Son of God, willingly, because of his great love. This is what the woman at the feet of Christ understood. This is what she could see that Simon didn't. Simon was still relying on his own goodness. He didn't see how great a punishment he would receive regardless of how much or how little he broke God's law. The punishment would be the same for them both, but Simon couldn't see that. I couldn't see that.
Oh Lord thank you for your great Mercy and Grace. Thank you for your revelations to those who desire to know you more. May we never, NEVER, forget that which you have saved us from. Let it be always written on our hearts that we may love much.