“A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 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.” And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” (LUK 7:41-48 ESV)
Two levels of devotion to Jesus are on display in this story – Simon’s and the woman’s. Which are you? Jesus explains that your level of love for Jesus isn’t a product of your righteousness, as we so often think of it. Rather, it is a fruit of your own forgiveness. This woman understood what she had been forgiven. She understood the nature of her debt before God AND the degree of love from Jesus to forgive her of it. Our tendency to self-righteousness would blind us to the true degree we have been forgiven and consequently leave us shallow in our devotion and love of Jesus. Stories like this inspire us to be like the sinner rather than Simon. Not that we should sin more, but really sin our own sinfulness. It is already there and it is painful to see. We would rather punish ourselves than confess it, thinking that we can somehow drive it out rather than let Jesus forgive. But this is just another form of self-righteousness.
Let Jesus love you. Let if reach down into the dark places of your heart and wash it clean. Don’t hide them away as if to show Jesus what a good person you are. Let him see your brokenness instead. Cry over it if you must. It is painful to face the reality of your own sinfulness. Let Jesus forgive and love him.