April 22, 2009
A Little Forgiveness
by Katherine Britton, Crosswalk.com News & Culture Editor
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven – for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” – Luke 7:47, ESV
How do you explain to a child that’s never been to the ocean what waves are like? You might fill a bathtub with water and splash it back and forth. That could teach action of waves – but what about the look? You might take the child to a nearby river with a few rapids, and show them how the foam collects at the bottom of a fall “like on top of a wave.” You might show them a 4x6 inch photograph. You might try to show them what waves sound like with a conch shell. But what about their vast dimensions along the shore? What about their unending nature? What about the undercurrent of a wave going back to sea?
No substitute can convey the scale and true nature of waves continually breaking on the shore. No analogies or to-scale models prepare children for their first trip to the beach. They can’t grasp the greatness until they’ve seen it for themselves.
Have you seen the greatness of God’s forgiveness yet?
No measure of teaching, preaching, and analogizing can make us really grasp what God’s forgiveness means. Even after we reach adulthood, we’re still creatures of experience. It takes a firsthand experience – recognition of how vast our sins really are – before we can appreciate how vast God’s mercy is to cover them.
Jesus gave Simon the Pharisee the example of two men who owed another money – one owed him five hundred days’ wages, one owing him fifty. The moneylender forgives both debts, but, as Simon empathizes, the one forgiven the larger sum has a greater reason to love the one who cancelled his debt. But all Simon heard were the Jesus’s words. He failed to realize what a vast stretch of sand he stood on, and what a great tide it would take to overtake all of those grains of sand. As a result, it’s the woman Jesus recognizes for her great love of her Savior.
Intersecting Faith & Life: Is it possible that we can extend love and forgiveness if we don’t understand how much Christ has shown us? Take your own “beach trip” and survey the vastness of God’s incredible forgiveness that covers incredible sin.