Have you ever heard something that stayed with you, but couldn’t remember where you heard it? Or the Lord put something on your heart and it keeps coming up, but you’re not sure why? I know this happens to me! For the past month I’ve been carrying with me what I thought was a quote I heard somewhere about forgiveness. After asking Amy if we had heard someone talk about it or if we had talked about it and looking at my notes from church, I couldn’t figure out where it came from.
Thanks to google keywords, I managed to find it. Some of you may know the story, but I just want to go over it. Luke 7 talks about Jesus going to dinner at Simon’s home, and encountering a woman there from the neighborhood. Her reputation? A prostitute. Her standing? She was described as an immoral woman. She showed up with an alabaster jar of expensive perfume and knelt at the feet of Jesus. “Broken and weeping, she covered his feet with the tears that fell from her face. She kept crying and drying his feet with her long hair. Over and over she kissed Jesus’ feet. Then she opened her flask and anointed his feet with costly perfume as an act of worship” (Luke 7:38 TPT). The people in the room were shocked. This woman, known as immoral, let herself in and touched Jesus? Simon thought Jesus couldn’t be a prophet if he allowed this sinful woman to touch him.
Jesus tells him a story about two men in debt. One owed ten times the debt of the other and both were forgiven their debts. Jesus asked Simon, “which of the two debtors would be the most thankful? Which one would love the banker most?” (Luke 7:42 TPT). Obviously both debtors would be thankful, and the one who owed less might not feel like he was less thankful. But the one who owed ten times more would be in disbelief that his debt could be forgiven too. And there’s a chance the one who owed less would think, “oh his debt was way worse than mine”. Jesus speaks of the woman and says, “She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little” (Luke 7:47 TPT, emphasis mine).
I think the word ‘assume’ is important here. The truth is that we all have sin, none greater than any other, we are all undeserving of God’s grace and mercy. But this woman felt the weight of her sin and knew that God forgiving her meant forgiving many sins. When we have gone through much, maybe lived a life for ourselves before we met Jesus or been stuck in sin while trying to please Him, His forgiveness means that much more to us. It doesn’t mean Jesus forgives us more and therefore we are special, it just means that we feel the weight of the sin we’ve lived in more than others might. So when we are forgiven for much, we have a deeper thankfulness and love for the Father than someone who assumes they don’t have much to be forgiven. We all do, but until we personally realize the depth of our sin we can’t love Him as much.
When I hear this story, it makes me thankful for my own story. I grew up with an addiction to pornography and became a master at hiding it. My sin was never God’s intention, but I praise Him that He has worked it out for my good. Because of my past of addiction and living a facade, I can know His love and depth of forgiveness that I wouldn’t know if I didn’t have the story I did. I already owed Him all of me for choosing me, saving me, and giving me eternal life, but the depth of my sin against him makes me love Him even more for it!
Being forgiven and realizing the depth of God’s love for me has allowed me to reach out to young women who are struggling with the same sin. Showing them that freedom is possible, forgiveness has already been given, and shame has no place in our walk with Jesus has allowed me to strengthen my testimony and truly leave that in the past.
There is power and freedom in His forgiveness, and it’s readily available to you!