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“I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.” Luke 7:47 NLT

It was a small, intimate gathering. Jesus was invited to a gathering of all the influential people. How do I know that? Pharisees didn’t hang out with low-life, unless of course they could get some personal gain from it. They were educated, spiritual and men of integrity. Men of integrity didn’t associate with people of ill-repute.

Jesus had just raised a young man from the dead and the little town of Nain must have been all abuzz about the event. It’s no wonder then that the Pharisee would take this opportunity to have Jesus over for a meal. Never hurts to draw a little attention to yourself at the expense of a famous person.

Everything was going fine until ‘she’ showed up. We don’t know her name, but no doubt the townsfolk did. She had a ‘reputation’. The men all knew who she was, the ones that would admit it anyway.

We really shouldn’t be too hard on Mr. Pharisee though. We are all guilty of looking down on people who don’t ‘hold to the same standards’ we hold to. Perhaps that’s the problem. Too often we measure other people’s actions, transgressions and evil choices by our standards and not God’s. Oh, don’t get me wrong. We SAY they are God’s standards, but often our vision is skewed. If we measure everyone’s actions by God’s standards we will realize that we all fall shamefully short of his glory.

The woman who bowed at Jesus’ feet didn’t care about how others felt about her. She only cared about how Jesus felt about her. Something in his demeanor, his words, the look in her eyes spoke love, forgiveness and acceptance.

The Pharisee, on the other hand, didn’t see those things in Jesus. Why? He never got a grasp of his own sin. Those who clearly see their own sin are more aware of their forgiveness. Why? It’s not that we are forgiven less but we won’t feel forgiven until we see ourselves for who we really are. When we fail to see our own sin we bear the huge burden of not being able to forgive others.

One writer wrote, “A man’s love to God will be in proportion to the obligation he “feels” to him for forgiveness” The woman felt God’s love much more than the Pharisee because she was well aware of the huge amount of forgiveness she’d been given.

If you struggle with forgiveness of those who have hurt you, I encourage you to take some time to examine your own life. Forgiving others who have hurt you doesn’t mean you trust them, it means you release yourself from their pain.

If you are struggling under the watchful eye of your own personal Pharisees, look beyond them to the loving, forgiving, accepting eyes of Jesus Christ. He didn’t come to judge you. He came to free you.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus Christ. I confess to you that I’m a sinner. I am so aware of the sins of others I’ve not noticed mine, until now. I’m tired of the looks of judgment that come my way. I pray that you would free me from my guilt and empower me to show others the same love you have shown me. Amen.

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May 2012
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