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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Forgiven Much

In the seventh chapter of Luke, Jesus is confronted with the dilemma of a very sinful woman making a fuss over him ... with the disapproval of those around him. Jesus explained, in so many words, that those who are forgiven much are grateful much and love much. By contrast, he explained that those who have been forgiven little, love little (Luke 7:47).

Overflowing love and gratitude seem to be the natural response to forgiveness. They are also the appropriate fruits born of true faith. But only those who realize the depth of their sin can appreciate the complete forgiveness that God offers them through Christ Jesus.

You see, Jesus came to rescue all of his followers, whether they were extremely wicked, or just conventionally good before they met him. And herein lies the dilemma. Most of us in modern American culture will, if we are honest, admit that we tend to think of ourselves as conventionally good.

When I first became a Christian, the truth of the matter is that I thought of myself as a generally good person. But I believed the preacher when he told me that if I didn't have Jesus I would go to hell. Being no fool, I chose Jesus! But the truth is, I really didn't believe in my heart that I needed a savior. Even the sins that I was aware of I could justify because I was a victim of this or that circumstances.

It was many years later, after some very intense spiritual growth, that I began to realize and own my own brokenness. I was in despair when I realized the depth and breadth of my sinfulness. And then I was reminded that I do have that Savior that I so desperately need.

So I've talked before on this blog about Christians who behave badly. I've lumped many of them into the category of people who call themselves Christians but don't act that way. But I see that perhaps the real problem is that they just don't know how sinful they really are. They aren't aware of how much forgiveness they've already received. So they only love a little.

How big is your forgiveness? Why do I ask? Because that's going to be directly proportionate to your capacity to love.

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