Ever been someplace where you feel like you don’t belong? Eyes boring into you? You’re sure the whispers are about you? I have…I’m guessing most of you have too.
In Luke 7 we meet someone who could have felt that way…
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, (Luke 7:37 ESV)
[Luke 7:36-50 – the WHOLE passage]
This woman – a sinner, many believe the language points to the fact she was a prostitute – walks through a household of people on her way to Jesus. One wonders how many whispers, how many raised eyebrows, how many looks of disdain…were cast her way?
Yet, she made her way through. She learned Jesus was there and she strode in with a purpose, not to be turned aside. She made it through the judgments, the cold shoulders…not caring, because her focus, her target, her world, was Jesus. She fell at His feet and worshipped Him. Openly, unabashedly, with her whole being.
Simon the Pharisee “said to himself,” the Greek implies this was a thought…”say in oneself”…which would indicate Jesus knew what Simon was thinking. If we take it to mean he muttered to himself, then Jesus overheard…either way, Jesus had a response.
Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “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.” And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” (Luke 7:39-40 ESV)
Jesus then shared a parable about a moneylender and two parties having their debts wiped out – one of the debtors owed significantly more. He asked Simon which one would be more grateful. Simon pointed out the one with the greater debt. Jesus agreed and then compared it to what was going on…
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.” (Luke 7:44-47 ESV)
I pointed out earlier that the woman was focused on Jesus. Simon was focused on how unworthy she was…how she didn’t belong. He, and I suspect the others at his house, were all saying…”if Jesus only knew.”
How often do we look at others with the same type of question…maybe phrased a little different…but with the same tone of judgment.
“They aren’t the right type…”
“If only everyone knew what type of person they really are…”
“Who do they think they are?”
“How can a ____________ show their face around here” (fill in blank with a political party, nationality, race, gender…any other bias that is out there)
Many…in fact I’d go as far as to say…most of us have also muttered or thought:
“If they only knew who I really was…”
“No one would accept me if they knew…”
“I’m not worth anything, because…”
Judgment of others and/or of self are a symptom of a person who has lost (if they ever had) focus on the Savior. We dismiss God’s love for whomever we start claiming “if only” about…we cast aside “for God so loved the world.”
Another aspect of this account needs to be looked at…I admit this is “Kenn’s understanding” here…but I do think it bears out. When Jesus talks about the amount that is forgiven…I don’t think He’s saying the woman sinned more than Simon. I believe He’s pointing out that she understood how much she had been forgiven…Simon still lived under the belief he was “pretty good” and didn’t need near the forgiveness that other people might need.
I’ve met many Christians that seem to operate from the same viewpoint…they admit they need forgiveness, but not near as much as others…they’ve been “pretty good.” That whole idea stunts a person spiritually…soon as we begin to compare, contrast, and judge ourselves better (or worse)…we are looking to self and not to Savior. We are back into that “if they only knew” trap…a place Satan is more than happy to lead us to, dulling our effectiveness for Christ.
We must stop comparing, we must stop thinking – “if they only knew…”, we must set aside bias and bigotry, we must show the love of Christ to the world. We must focus on Him to the point we don’t see those who try to belittle us or our walk. We must be focused on Him, at His feet – worshipping the One who paid it all, because we are worth it to Him. We belong, we are worthy, and God paid the price for us to be with Him.
Now we need to live our life in a way that everyone who knows us…knows of Him.