How many tears does it take?

We have heard her story. It does not take much imagination to fill in the blanks. However, have we allowed Jesus’ words to profoundly shape our thinking?

As Jesus reclined at a dining table following the first century custom, she entered Simon’s house. Simon recognized her as a sinful woman. How had she gained this reputation? Does it really matter what her sin or sins were? The results of being aware of one’s sin are the same: shame, guilt, brokenness and a sense of being out of control.

After entering the house she approached Jesus and stood behind him as he reclined at the table. At the very least she had heard of Jesus and knew stories about him. Perhaps she had listened to him teach how God loves the lost and had witnessed his merciful kindness. What is clear is that she regarded him as a man of God, whom she intended to honor.

Standing behind him her eyes welled with water as the tears began to roll down her cheeks. How many tears does it take to wet someone’s feet? How deeply does your heart have to ache and how profoundly do you have to sob for someone’s feet to become wet? She bent down and dried his feet with her hair and then anointed them with an expensive perfume.

Because Jesus knew that Simon had negative thoughts about him for allowing her to touch him, he told a story about a banker who loaned two men some money. In Jesus’ story one man borrowed about a year and a half salary while the other borrowed about a month and a half salary. When neither could repay, the banker canceled both of their debts. Then Jesus asked, “Who do you suppose loved him more?”

Simon answered, “I suppose that one who owed more money.” Jesus responded that he had judged rightly. Jesus proceeded to say, “He who has been forgiven little loves little.”

I know how much God has forgiven me. My question for you is, how much has God forgiven you? Did you almost make it to heaven and just needed a little forgiveness? Or do you have an awareness of sin, the horrible and ugly nature of sin, requiring you to depend upon help from ground zero?

I suspect that self-righteous people do not realize the weight of their sin.  If we view ourselves as barely falling short of God’s glory, I suspect our love for God might be quite shallow.

However, if we accurately perceive the reality of our sin, any and all sin, then as those who have been forgiven we are more likely to love God more. We are more likely to be grateful and gladly obey because of the grace that has been poured out upon us who are so unworthy.

Hence, we have good reason to reflect upon our brokenness. For in facing the truth of what we have done, we become truly prepared to love God for having released us.

Want to worship profoundly? We won’t find it in the thrill of lights and technology. It is found in the story. When we encounter a holy God whose very presence makes us aware of our own sinfulness, and when we remember how God has released us from such an incredible burden, our love for God pours forth. Worship is the natural result.

 

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Barry Newton

Married to his wonderful wife Sofia and a former missionary in Brazil, Barry enjoys trying to express old truths in fresh ways. They are the parents of two young men.

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