December 4, 2020
“You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
“He who is forgiven little, loves little.” Pause here for a minute and just think about that.
So how do you think you score on the “love-o-meter” today? Be honest. When you look at all the people you are encountering, what they are saying and doing—is your first instinct filled with compassion for whatever their circumstances are? Are you “loving much”? Or are you perhaps scoring closer to “loving little” and not caring as much as you know you probably should?
In our passage this week, Jesus points out the difference between the reactions of the Pharisee host and the uninvited woman. In adoration, she kisses Jesus’ feet! But the Pharisee? He shows nothing even close to that. All he seems to be able to muster is silent contempt. And Jesus, knowing his thoughts, calls him out on it.
But Jesus’ reply here is very instructive! Notice that He doesn’t chastise the Pharisee and accuse him of being “uncompassionate”. Notice also that Jesus doesn’t say, “You need to try harder and start loving more!” (That’s the kind of thing I upbraid myself with too often.) No, Jesus takes a different approach. He merely observes what has transpired, and then draws the obvious conclusion: “He who is forgiven little, loves little.” Now go and think about that.
It is the same with us, of course. When we walk in consistent understanding of our capacity to sin, of our desperate need for God’s patience, love and redemption, then compassion for others is the natural response. You can’t really help it! If you are forgiven much, you will love much and your life will be seasoned with graciousness. But when we find ourselves lacking compassion, the answer is not to yell at ourselves to “love harder!” In those times, there’s no better place to start than getting back before God and asking to be reminded of how much He has forgiven us. Because “He who is forgiven little, loves little.”
So… how do you score on the “love-o-meter” today?