Posted by: mikenicholsblog | August 23, 2012

that is what forgiveness does!

We should have known that night that our daughter’s career would be in the performing arts. It was one of those “discipline your child” moments. Mom and dad were both in the bedroom with our daughter (it must have been a big problem) to give her a spanking. Our two-year old was lying on her bed as we tried to explain things to her, when with a loud voice she yelled, “you sinners!” Now you can imagine our reaction … hysterical laughing … and she did not get the spanking, by the way. Where those words came from we will never know, but calling someone a sinner is rarely meant to be positive. My twenty-eight year old memory was unearthed while reading the parable of the two debtors this past week.

In the passage that is on our reading schedule for this past Monday and again today, we read that Jesus is invited to dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee. It is a fair assumption to say that the Pharisee was a critic of the Savior instead of a disciple, but Jesus came anyway. A woman enters the scene and shall we say that Simon is not impressed with her. But her acts of love toward Christ are genuine and sincere. Simon’s words were certainly not positive of her when he said, If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner. From my study, this woman had a less than stellar past, but something had changed.

Sandwiched between the lines of this story is a parable of two debtors. One debtor owed five hundred denarii and the other fifty (A denarii was one day’s wage for an agricultural laborer). In any event, neither of the debtors had the ability to repay the moneylender, and he forgives both their debts. Christ’s challenge to Simon was which of the debtors would be more grateful? Simon’s answer was, the one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt. His obvious lack of courtesy toward the Savior was contrasted against the loving care of someone who was exceeding thankful. Her forgiveness was reflected in her love. It is my opinion that Simon was not a follower of Christ and didn’t understand forgiveness.

Looking at the parable of the debtors and Christ’s encounter with Simon and this sinful woman is wrought with lessons for us. But let me just share one important impression that I received as I sat a while with the text.  Love toward the Savior and a thankful heart are evidence of forgiveness (saving faith). Certainly those in your world like Simon don’t really understand forgiveness, and it shows in their lack of love and gratitude to Christ. I am also burdened that many who have been forgiven (know Christ as Savior) have lost their passionate love for the Savior. Correspondingly they are still grateful for His grace, but it doesn’t dominate their journey.

Our daughter was right. Her mom and dad were sinners….saved by grace! And that grace changed us. What Christ did for that woman who Simon called a sinner, birthed a thankful heart that was undeniable. That is what forgiveness does! Her love for Christ came from a heart that was forgiven. Does your love reflect a grateful heart … and a life that has been forgiven? If so, thank Him right now for His grace to you. If you are like Simon, but want to know His forgiveness….send us a note at Journey onWord.

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