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Trapped by Relative Goodness

Posted on September 14, 2015 By

Luke 7:36-50

Our story is a simple account of how two people interact with Jesus.

The host, a Pharisee, and an uninvited guest, who excels at sinning, each interact with Jesus in radically different ways.

The Pharisee is treating Jesus more like an equal - to be fair, in that society, Pharisees were considered “righteous” and it was respectful to be treating Jesus as a colleague.  Meanwhile, the woman who was an accomplished, sinner was literally pouring herself out to Jesus through her tears on his feet and wiping his feet with her hair; her actions towards Jesus was also respectful.

The difference between their actions toward Jesus is found in how each understood themselves. The Pharisee viewed himself as being a very good person in need of very little forgiveness, while the woman saw herself as a great sinner in need of much forgiveness.

Jesus shares a story that makes the obvious point more obvious: those that realize they have been forgiven greatly will respond with a great love grounded in deep appreciation.  Likewise, those who think they have been forgiven little respond with a meager love from little appreciation.

“But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

For the Christian, the trap before us is that over time we become like the Pharisee.  We believe we are small sinners.  We do not rob banks and are not mean spirited towards others.  We might speed in our cars, but who doesn’t?  Our actions might create relatively few sins (sins of commission).  What about our sins from failing to act (sins of omission)?  Did we take the time to help someone in their time of need?  Were we even aware that someone in need had crossed our path?  It is difficult to know the magnitude of our sins of omission because we don’t realize how often we fail to act or even speak a kind word to someone who needs to be encouraged.

As a church plant, or any church for that matter, it is the passion that comes from knowing that we are forgiven of many great sins by our gracious Savior’s death on the cross and resurrection that fuels the proper response - to live for Christ.  It is essential that our members embrace their co-workers, neighbors, friends, and definitely acquaintances with the love of Christ. We need to pray that the Holy Spirit will open our eyes to the vast opportunities around us and give us the passion to share our story of joy with those we know and meet.

Every church member should have their own personal harvest sheet.  He or she will write down people in their lives that do not know Jesus.  These names become part of their prayer list and are people they will befriend and invite to various church events (socials, Bible study, worship).  Each week he or she will reflect to see who else God has brought into his or her life to add to their harvest list.

But this all begins with knowing the great joy that you personally have been forgiven greatly.

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