Monday, December 09, 2013
“The one who is forgiven much, loves much.” – Jesus
Have you ever found yourself running low on love? Especially if it’s for a certain person who tends to bother you?
Perhaps our lack of love is related to our unfamiliarity with repentance?
In Luke 7:36-50, Jesus teaches a parable to illustrate how our humility is related to our love. The story is told because a “sinful woman” crashes the party where Jesus is dining in the home of Simon, the Pharisee, and proceeds to weep. With her tears she washes the feet of Jesus, and with her hair she dries them off. Next, she opens an expensive alabaster jar of oil and anoints his feet with it. All the while, Simon and the other Pharisees murmur in their hearts about how scandalous the whole thing appears.
That’s when Jesus tells the story of two men who owed a debt to the same creditor. Both had their debts forgiven, but one of them owed a lot of money and the other only a little.
“Which of these men loved the creditor most?” asked Jesus.
Simon replied, “I suppose the one whom he forgave the most.”
That’s when Jesus makes his point about love and how it is tied to our acquaintance with our own sinfulness, saying that the one who is forgiven much loves much, and the one who is forgiven a little, loves little.
Those of us who are more aware of our weakness, and our sinfulness, tend to have a deeper well of love and compassion to draw from than those who refuse to confess their sins and receive God’s mercy. Consequently, whenever we find ourselves with very little love for another person it might be because we have forgotten how much we have been forgiven – and still need to be forgiven.
Hitler and I are both sinners. Without Christ, we would both end up receiving the exact same sentence of death and eternal separation from God. The playing field is level apart from the love of Jesus.
I share this insight with you because there is one particular person whom I am finding it very hard to love. Over the weekend, as our house church family gathered together and the Lord began to speak to us through one another and His Word, I began to realize that the problem was not the other person – it was me.
When it comes right down to it, my impatience and intolerance of this person is directly related to my lack of love. More specifically, my attitude about this person is tied to my blindness concerning my own need for Jesus.
See, God loves this person dearly. In fact, God loves this person exactly as much as He loves me. God sees me and this person the same way – He loves us through and through. So, why can’t I love this person? It’s because I have an unspoken perspective that thinks that this person and I are different. But we’re not. This person is arrogant. I am also frequently arrogant. This person is prideful. I am often prideful. This person is self-absorbed. I’m very self-absorbed at times. This person is not a follower of Jesus. I am a follower of Jesus. But we are both sinners.
As a follower of Jesus I am commanded to love everyone – even my enemies – so that those who have not experienced God’s unmerited grace and favor might get a taste of it by being in relationship with me.
Frankly, this is very, very hard for me to do. Whenever I see this person I want to run the other way. But instead I need to lay down my life, die to my flesh, and pray for the Holy Spirit to supernaturally fill me with His love so that I might be empowered to love this person as God loves him; to bless this person who annoys me; to serve this person who grinds my gears; so that the life and love of Jesus might shine through this jar of broken clay.
So, I confess to you all that I am a sinner, and that I am failing in this area of my Christian walk. I ask for your prayers to live out these things that I have learned. Because, in the words of Jesus: “Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” (John 13:16-18)