Two Uncomfortable Questions – Luke 7:47
I have two questions for you. Both of them sometimes make believers uncomfortable.
My first question is: How big a sinner are you? This one’s awkward because none of us likes to think about what we do wrong. But try to come up with an accurate assessment.
Now here’s the second question: How much do you love God? Think about it, and again be honest. It’s not unusual for people to admire God but wish they had a stronger, truer love.
What we often don’t realize about these two questions is that Jesus said they’re connected. He taught that how you answer one will determine your score on the other.
An uninvited guest
The occasion for Jesus’ teaching was dinner at the house of a man named Simon. Simon was a member of the Pharisees, who sought to keep God’s law both in deed and in their hearts. Anyone there would’ve figured him for a guy who was not a big sinner.
But a woman showed up who was a big sinner. The Bible calls her an “immoral woman,” and whatever she’d done was scandalous enough that Simon knew about it. This immoral woman proceeded to show her love for Jesus. She put perfume on his feet and washed them with her tears and her hair. Simon was appalled.
Jesus responded by telling Simon a story about two men, one who had a small debt erased from the books, and another who had a much larger debt cancelled, making him the more grateful of the two. Jesus pointed out that before dinner, Simon had failed to even show Jesus the hospitality of a warm greeting or water for washing. But the woman had expressed deep love.
His point: “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).
The key to loving God
Of course, this doesn’t mean you and I should go out and commit scandalous sins so we can be forgiven and love Jesus more. Simon was actually plenty sinful himself. He just didn’t realize it. So he never experienced the sort of vast forgiveness that results in deep love for Jesus.
Yes, there’s a third question that ties our original two questions together: How deeply do you know that you’ve been forgiven of your many, many sins? If you’re one of those people who wish you had more love for God, this is the key to growing such love.
Our sins are many. So very many. Selfishness and distrust bubble up from us at every turn. But the pure Son of God, Jesus, lowered himself into our infested world and took that sin upon himself. My sin and your sin. He died for it. And if we have faith in him, he forgives it. Every last bit of it. It’s cancelled. Erased from the books.
If that doesn’t make you love God, go back to question one. How big a sinner are you, really?
Jack Klumpenhower is a writer and children’s ministry worker living in Colorado.