Love much?

Luke 7:36-47

36 When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then 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. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

In this passage, we see Simon the Pharisee believe he is “holier than thou” in regards to other sinners. He goes so far as to wonder why this woman is even touching Jesus.  Obviously, Simon thought he was above other people. . .other sinners.  He did not see himself as unclean or sinful even though we are clearly all sinners. Jesus immediately sees his heart, he sees Simon’s mind, and begins to set him straight in a loving manner. He doesn’t accuse him of wrongdoing. Instead, Jesus points out a simple illustration of how two debtors are forgiven. Simon is brought to the understanding of how those who have large debts forgiven would love the master (who forgave the debts) more than the one who did not have a large debt. I wonder how Simon felt in that moment when he realized that he was actually less loving than the woman. . .”the sinner” as Simon had said to himself. Just moments earlier, he had exalted himself far above her and now; he realizes that he is not only a sinner, but loves his master less than the woman he so hypocritically judged.  Have you been there?  Judging others. . .looking at their public (or private) sins thinking to yourself, “I can’t believe what they did!”  I know I have.  Look in the mirror. . .that person is a sinner; no matter who you are.

It is intriguing what Jesus says at the end of this passage, “But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”  Besides an accusation of ourselves that we are all sinners and should be humble before our God, what else do we learn here?  First, God uses sin.  He uses it to show others His love.  He washes away our sin with the blood of the lamb.  The woman who was so blatantly a sinner had been forgiven.  Do you think that the message of God’s love would have been spread as far if he simply forgave Simon who others likely already viewed as a holy man?  It certainly wouldn’t mean as much.  Secondly, those people who you judge. . .”those people” who sin. . .the ones who do things you can’t believe; you know, “those people.”  They are the ones you don’t want to associate with because of their past or because they have admitted publicly to sin. Jesus tells us that “those people” when washed in the blood of the lamb have been forgiven much and therefore, love much.  What does that mean for someone who hasn’t been forgiven much? It seems obvious in this passage that those who have not been forgiven much do not love much or, at least, do not love AS much. Interesting how the ones who do not love much are the ones doing the judging of others, isn’t it? As you look in the mirror today, are you one who judges “those people” or are you one who loves much? Which of these two are you?  Which of these two am I?

10 thoughts on “Love much?

  1. Jeremy – Thank you for your words today! This was an excellent thought of the day for me. It made me sit and think about which type of person I am. I hope there are many more blogs to come!

  2. Great reminder 🙂 Its very easy to forget that we all fall short and are commanded to love our neighbor. Its hard to love the unlovable, but oh so easy to exalt ourselves! Thanks for the insight Jeremy! Looking forward to more 😉

    1. Hi Kristen, Yes, it is definitely hard to love the unlovable; or, at least what we think are the unlovable. I was reminded of that yet again today as I had the urge to do something unloving toward another. But fortunately, I remembered what God wants us to be and did the right thing. It’s amazing how our attitude changes when we read God’s Word.

  3. This is a great challenge to us all Jeremy. Thank you for it. It reminded me of the parable of the prodigal son as well. The father didn’t love one son more than the other but the son that was the prodigal appears to love the father more than the older son does. Of course the Pharisee and the older son are one in the same. We have a tendency to, at times, be the Pharisee or be the prodigal and when we are walking with the Lord and viewing ourselves rightly we are like the father. Good stuff! Thanks Jeremy.

    1. Awesome point, David! I think to those people who go to church every Sunday…the people who always appear to have the perfect family, the ones who appear to be right with God. What I think these lessons teach us is that it doesn’t matter how you are viewed from the outside, God knows our hearts; and He will challenge us no matter where we stand on the spectrum of forgiveness and righteousness.

  4. Awesome words and it really made me stop and think. Thanks for sharing, and I am looking forward to reading more.

  5. This devotion made me think of redemption and how when one of “those people” turn to Christ, their redemption story is often one that speaks to others much more loudly and sincerely. They’ve walked the path and can understand others in their journey. It’s easy to judge them prior to this redemption, but if we choose love at all times, we may very well be used by God to bring them into their redemption.

    It’s like I tell my girls, loving others that love you is easy. Loving someone that doesn’t is where we learn our greatest lessons.

    1. Well said, Cheryl. When I have found myself as one of “those people,” I find that is when God uses me the most. And yet, sometimes I still struggle to love the “unlovable” because i find myself back on the other side. I suppose that is part of why God is not finished with me yet. 🙂

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