Monday, July 8, 2013
Forgiven Little or Forgiven Much?
If you have been in the church long enough you've probably heard the story of the alabaster box. If you don't remember the alabaster box you may remember the woman who came into the house where Jesus was and washed his feet with her tears and dried them with her hair. It comes out of Luke chapter 7. Once she had dried his feet with her hair she anointed his feet. This was done through breaking her alabaster box full of perfume over his feet. Well, I didn't grow up hearing about the alabaster box or the woman but I did hear the scriptures that came after it. It was a parable that Jesus told the Pharisee.
This is how I would hear that scripture: We would be having a time in praise and worship where someone would just be overcome with God's spirit and what he had done for them. They would lose track of their environment as if it was just them and God alone in the room. The pastor, in order to help others not get offended by this sudden interruption or to keep order in the service would refer to this scripture. In essence letting everyone know that this person had been saved out of or from much in their life and this is where this praise was coming from.
There were also the times when it would happen in the midst of testimony time. Now, my testimony was simple. I was six years old when I heard the message that changed my life. An evangelist had come to speak at a revival at our church. That night his words pierced my heart. I didn't want to go to hell but more than that, I recognized that I was sinful and in need of a savior. I was only six so there wasn't too much I could have done at that time but I KNEW what kind of sinner I was. I knew where I would go that night if I died without giving my life to the Lord. I understood that I was given a choice that night and I couldn't put it off. I NEEDED HIM. However, growing up in the church it wasn't the testimonies of how God had kept someone out of sin that brought praise or honor to God, no, it was the ones of God saving someone out of deep depravity.... those were the testimonies everyone wanted to hear. Those were the ones everyone got excited about. And then the pastor would refer again to Luke. He would refer to that scripture.
It didn't sound right.
How could that scripture say that?
Why was it that every time that scripture was quoted I felt like I was being told that because someone else had lived a life worse than mine... and been forgiven for it..... that somehow they loved God more than I did?
I found that I began to compare myself to others around me and knew that I had never done the kinds of things God had forgiven them over. But I knew I loved God. However, I couldn't fight with the scripture, I didn't know how to argue against the way it was being taught to me. So I learned to keep my mouth shut. From church to church throughout my life I've heard this scripture misinterpreted. It has nothing to do with comparing our sins to the sins of others. In no way was it ever meant to mean what it has been turned into.
When we recognize that our lives are a woeful mess.... when we recognize that we can do nothing to fix it.... when we realize that we need a savior.... we come to Christ and ask for forgiveness. We are telling God that we realize that we can't do it right on our own... we need him. And that is where this scripture comes in. It has nothing to do with comparing ourselves to others. It has to do with comparing ourselves to Christ the only perfect one. Once we do that we realize how woefully needful we are of him. We realize how much he is willing to forgive. This is what creates that love. However, as we grow and mature in Christ we will come to love him more and more. It's like a marriage. You get married and think that there is no way that I could possibly love my spouse any more than I do on this day. But years later your relationship is so much deeper than it was when you got married and your love has changed and deepened.
The more time I spend with Christ, the more is revealed to me. The deeper I go in my relationship the deeper an understanding I have of just how much he has forgiven me for.... that understanding is what deepens that love. I KNOW more now about the depth of forgiveness God has poured out on me than I did when I was six. So my love for God has deepened with that knowledge. Now that scripture means something totally different to me.
"He who has been forgiven much loves much but he who has been forgiven little loves little."
Maybe it's time to consider evaluating your love for God. Do a check up. Do you realize how much you've been forgiven? Do you realize how much he has done for you? Ask God to reveal to you just how much he has forgiven you..... and then step out a little deeper into HIS love and let your love for him expand.