Monday, June 11, 2007

Mercy and Love Define Jesus, not us. Luke 7:36-8:3

A woman was forgiven. A man was angry. He didn't think she deserved it.

It's a basic story and there's no telling how many times it has happened in the history of the world? One person is forgiven and another is angry. Jesus forgives things we wouldn't. He forgives people we wouldn't. The unforgiving person didn't see forgiveness as reasonable or even possible for a woman caught in such sins. I understand this man's attitude. For some reason its easy to see my sins as forgivable and somebody else's as unforgivable. For Jesus forgiveness is possible for all. For us its often impossible.

Make it worse, for the angry man, is that this woman came into the house of a Pharisee and perfumed and kissed the feet of a prophet. He thought that this prophet would want nothing to do with her. But this prophet came to bring forgiveness to the world. At the core this story is about three people. A woman who had sinned, a savior who came to forgive, and a man who was shocked by the forgiveness.

Jesus forgave the woman. He offered her new life and hope. He explained to the unforgiving man that she showed him great love because so much had been forgiven. I believe that he would have forgiven the angry man too.

10 comments:

Pastor Eric said...

Funny how forgiveness works. When we do something wrong we often expect people to forgive us, but when the something wrong is done by somebody else, our tone changes. We have played both roles: the woman and the unforgiving man. Hypocrits I say...we are all hypocrits...and yet Jesus forgives us anyway.

Thank you for your post.
Eric

David said...

From one hypocrit to another, I can't argue with that. Good thing we have grace working for us.

Pastor Eric said...

Amen!

Cathy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cathy said...

I was discussing this Gospel this morning with a small group and I was struck by Luke 7:47 : "But the one to whom little is forgiven , loves little". Now, I am sure that this made perfect sense to Simon with his legalistic and mathematical concept of spirituality, But I am not at all sure that it makes sense to me. It suggests to me that a person can love "a little" and expect to be forgiven "a little". But, is not salvation a pass/fail kind of event? I never heard of anyone who was saved "a little". I can hardly believe that God is anything less than "all or nothing". Can anyone help clarify this for me?

Yes, I am new to this blog but I like what I read and I hope that can participate.

Thank you.

The Unlikely Conversationalist: said...

The difference is who is doing the forgiving in this story. For God all things, even forgiveness are possible, but for us...

check out a great perspective on this pericope at a preachers journey preachersjourney.blogspot.com/

"Who is this who forgives sins? He is not the role-modal for the modern cultural do-gooder. He is God in human flesh sent to call us to a much higher and far more radical vision of justice than even the loftiest human idealism can hope to achieve. He is our Savior- and all of us are in need of His grace."

Cathy said...

There is no question regarding who it is who has forgiven the sins of the woman. That is not the point of my question. My point is this: Jesus talks about "little being forgiven" and I wonder how this is possible. That is, is it likely that God places degrees (of success?) upon forgiveness? Truly such a system would be very mathematically fair and would conform to our Western sense of justice, but I doubt that God's system observes our neat rules. Still, the implied "policy" here is that salvation can be made available even if only some forgiveness has been extended. Put in practical terms - a person has asked forgiveness for certain sinful acts but has withheld the motion of true repentance for other sins. Now, since salvation is pass/fail, where does that put him if a bus runs over him? Do I sound like a cradle Catholic? But, really, what is my concept of a just and merciful God? Do we see an inviting God or do we see the Gatekeeper? I think a consideration of tha one line from the Gospel to be very compelling.

Cathy said...

There is no question regarding who it is who has forgiven the sins of the woman. That is not the point of my question. My point is this: Jesus talks about "little being forgiven" and I wonder how this is possible. That is, is it likely that God places degrees (of success?) upon forgiveness? Truly such a system would be very mathematically fair and would conform to our Western sense of justice, but I doubt that God's system observes our neat rules. Still, the implied "policy" here is that salvation can be made available even if only some forgiveness has been extended. Put in practical terms - a person has asked forgiveness for certain sinful acts but has withheld the motion of true repentance for other sins. Now, since salvation is pass/fail, where does that put him if a bus runs over him? Do I sound like a cradle Catholic? But, really, what is my concept of a just and merciful God? Do we see an inviting God or do we see the Gatekeeper? I think a consideration of tha one line from the Gospel to be very compelling.

The Unlikely Conversationalist: said...

Cathy
you do sound like a Cradle Catholic. I'm one too. The Good News is that as we fall short, failing in our repentance, failing in our penances, failing in our relationships we are met by a God who embraces us most when we come completely desperate

Diane said...

good conversation can't wait until this week!