Focal passage: Luke 7:40-50
Several months ago our church had the privilege of serving men in North Carolina’s central prison. I remember meeting a particular resident in the prison. He was an older, devout man who was friendly and kind. When our team arrived each month, he would greet us with a sincere smile and tell us how grateful he was to have us there.
It was after several months of interacting with this man that I learned something shocking. He was imprisoned, not for theft or drug abuse, but for murder. Upon realizing this, I felt a surge of disgust, fear and judgement – I didn’t want anything to do with him. It was in those moments that I understood Jesus’ words to Simon in Luke 7.
In this story, we read about a Pharisee named Simon. As he and Jesus were eating dinner, a woman approached Jesus and began to pour perfume on His feet. Simon looked with contempt knowing what a “sinner” this woman was (v 39). Recognizing the woman’s faith and knowing Simon’s heart, Jesus saw an opportunity for instruction.
Jesus said of the woman, “her many sins have been forgiven; that’s why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little” (v 47). It’s a simple equation. Those who are forgiven of much love even more. This is the power of forgiveness.
When we recognize how much we’ve been forgiven, we can love others that much more.
Just like the woman in the story, the man I met in prison had all the more reason for joy because of the forgiveness he found in Christ. While our situation might be different, we are no less deserving of punishment for our own sins.
Our sin deserved judgement but in Jesus we are free! This truth serves as our motivation. We love others out of an overflow of gratitude for the forgiveness we have received. John says it this way, “We love because he first loved us” (1 Jn 4:19).
Take a moment today and meditate on the great forgiveness God has lavished on you. If you haven’t experienced His forgiveness, you can do so today by placing your faith in Him. Let Jesus’ forgiveness be the eternal flame that warms your heart and lights your path.