On Forgiveness and Love

“Therefore I tell you, her sins which are many, are forgiven, because she has loved much; but

he who is forgiven little, loves little.” – Luke 7:47

Does it surprise you that Jesus relates our ability to love to the amount we have been forgiven? Many think that a person can learn to love: that some- how we can set our wills to love and it would just happen, like learning algebra or physics. But Jesus makes it very clear that our receiving forgiveness has a great deal to do with our loving others.

What would you have thought had you seen the woman in the story making such a public display of affection for Jesus? Why did she do such a thing? Why would an “especially wicked sinner” (Amplified Version) be drawn to Jesus who was so pure and holy? One might think that such a person would run away from righteousness and purity. Perhaps she recognized in Jesus One who would not judge her or reject her. What she needed was not rejection, but forgiveness and healing. It seems that by just being in His presence she received exactly what she needed. It is no wonder that she began to weep and affectionately anoint his feet with perfume. She has been set free from all the hurt and destruction of her past. She had an opportunity for a new beginning. She could realistically hope for a better life ahead. She no longer felt condemned to a life of sin, shame, and despair. In that light it is understandable that she “made a scene” and disregarded what others would think of her. She was grateful for the forgiveness Jesus had brought her and for His making it possible for her to love someone beside herself.

This story gives new insight into how we can grow in our love for others. It is not simply a matter of making some persistent effort on our part. It is not simply by sweet words or good deeds. It is by confessing our sins and acknowledging our need for forgiveness that we are opened to the ability to love others. It seems that so many of us are afraid to admit who we are. We posture and pretend to be somebody other than who we are – a sinner in need of God’s forgiveness and healing. It is when we acknowledge our need that we draw close to Jesus and, in experiencing His incredible love for us, our own capacity to love Him and others is increased.

Prayer: Lord help me to admit my need of You and to freely receive Your forgivneness that I might express my love to You unashamedly and then be a better channel of Your love to those around me. Amen

In His Peace,

Pastor Schultz

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