Hey Church Family!
Last week we talked about sin. This week we're talking about forgiveness.
Forgiveness is foundational to the journey of following Jesus, because as Jesus reveals to you the bad news of your sin, he extends to you the good news of the Gospel. Once you understand the depth of your sin, you'll begin to understand the depth of his love and forgiveness and just how far he's willing to go to demonstrate it.
There's an interesting interaction in Luke's gospel that demonstrates our response to forgiveness. It is an interaction between Jesus and two people—a Pharisee named Simon, and a woman who was a sinner. Simon had invited Jesus over for a meal. As Jesus reclines at the table, the sinful woman stoops at Jesus' feet, sobbing, letting her tears fall on his dirty feet. She begins wiping them with her hair. She also takes out a jar of perfume and empties it out on his feet. More than pouring out this perfume, she is pouring out her emotion and passion towards Jesus. It's a demonstration of her affection and gratitude for Jesus.
Simon, on the other hand, struggles. In fact, he privately ridicules Jesus because of this disgraceful display. Jesus addresses Simon and lets him know that real forgiveness always leads to real love.
Simon didn't do anything for Jesus. He didn't welcome him properly into his home with a foot washing. He didn't greet him with a kiss, nor did he anoint his head with oil. All of these acts were signs of honor and hospitality. To refuse them was a sign of dishonor and ingratitude. Jesus informed Simon that this woman loved him by all the acts he refused to give. The reason for her emotional response? Because she had been forgiven much. Simon, on the other hand, had been forgiven little, therefore he loved little.
It is interesting then, that Jesus makes the connection between the depth of our love and the depth of our need. When we understand how deep our need is, our love will rise. Love, then, is the chief indicator of someone who knows the cost of their forgiveness.
Simon said, "I'm good. I've made all the right choices. I don't need forgiveness."
The woman said, "I know I've sinned. I know I've messed up. I desperately need your forgiveness."
The question I want you to wrestle with is this: Have you experienced God's forgiveness? Have you been set free from the sin-debt you owe God? We've all rebelled against him. We've all preferred ours wills over God's. We've all willfully transgressed one of God's laws. We've all struggled with our sinful condition.
The good news is that through Jesus Christ, forgiveness of sins is possible. Our debt is paid. We are cleansed of our past. There is now freedom in Christ. Have you experienced this?
One significant indicator of this forgiveness is your ability or inability to forgive those around you. Do you find it hard to forgive those who have wronged you? Do you continue to hold a grudge against someone who hurt you or someone you love? We forgive because we've been forgiven. And love is the chief indicator of someone who understands the cost of their own forgiveness.
I pray that you would experience and know the amazing power of God's forgiveness today.
Together in Christ,
Notes from the Staff @The Woods