Forgiven Much

This post was originally on Timothy Generation.

Friend,

We’ve heard it all the time:

Love like Jesus loves.

WWJD.

And we’ve walked out that mission to an extent.

But don’t you love it when God completely takes you to another level of revealing how He REALLY does things?

That’s what He’s been doing for me in the past few months, especially in the area of what it means to REALLY love.

Christians sadly have a reputation that does not resemble the slogan on the bracelets we proudly wear.

I have to say that I thought I did a decent job of loving like Jesus until I began noticing that my response towards some people looked more like a Pharisee and less like Jesus.

(Let’s not get WWPD bracelets made, please. Let’s just be more like Jesus.)

In Luke 7, we see Jesus had accepted an invitation to have dinner in a Pharisee’s home. These leaders had Jesus sitting in their very presence, but I can assure you that feast was not JESUS-centered, but PHARISEE-centered.

They possibly could have invited him so they could show off their goodness.

A spiritual show-and-tell of how holy they were.

“Look Jesus, I can recite the Torah!

Or-

“Jesus, did you see that I stoned that woman for doing unrighteous acts?”

During their dinner a woman entered the home who the town undoubtedly gossiped about. This prostitute woman came and lavished her love on Jesus and the Pharisees were disgusted.

“She’s not fit to receive forgiveness. She’s too dirty. “

How dare she come in OUR house, a place of Holiness and uprightness. She doesn’t belong here.

Let me stop here for a moment.

Friend, what is a home for if it isn’t for the sinner?

What is this hope for if it isn’t for the hopeless?

Jesus said it himself: I didn’t come for those who are already well, I came for those who are sick.

Praise God for believers! Praise God for those who know God!

The Bible tells us we must do good to all, especially those in the household of faith.

But that is not where we should solely spend our  time “doing good.”

When a girl walks into church with a skirt that’s too short.

The world isn’t going to end.

I have to be honest: I have judged many times in the past people who walked in not “dressed for church.”

As the Lord has renewed my heart and mind I realize that God isn’t looking at the clothing of a body first, but at the condition of a heart.  

And I want that to be the first thing I see too.

The Pharisees required people to first look pure outwardly in order to be approved to receive what could change them on the inside.

The Love of God as displayed through Jesus couldn’t care less about a sinner’s outside behavior. He just loves their heart.

 Jesus received this woman without any look of judgment or condemnation.

Jesus received her devotion and gave her forgiveness for everything…EVERYTHING she had done in the past.

To Jesus, she was no longer a sinner.

He then said,  “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

The Pharisees were too busy showing off their holy skills and traits, that they spiritually  kissed their own feet and poured water in their own cups.

But the woman they felt didn’t DESERVE God’s forgiveness was the one who really knew how to love on Jesus.

I believe that because this woman KNEW the love of Jesus, it enabled her to pour her devotion like she did.  And the Love of Jesus caused her to change her ways.

The way that we perceive that we are loved by God, is in direct relation to how we give love to others.

When we realize that GOD has loved us while we were yet sinners, we can and should pour that same love.

The other day I was in a service and the minister had us get on our knees, bowing before the Lord. We were looking up to Jesus and began to receive His love.

As I was doing this, He opened my eyes to see that even though He pours His love out on me without conditions, once it gets to my heart, I often add stipulations: I didn’t do this right so He’s looking at me this way. I didn’t pray enough this morning, so He is thinking this.

But the truth is this: Your Father Loves you, because He’s your Father.  

We must determine to receive Love and forgiveness in the perfectness that it originated. Once we do that, it will change how we pour out love to others.

May we know, comprehend the GREAT Love in which He loved us.

May we realize: WOW. I’ve been forgiven deeply. Therefore, I can love deeply.

When I realize how patient God has been with me, it empowers me to give patience to others who may be getting on my nerves.

When God’s love is allowed to freely pour out in my heart, it enlarges the borders of my heart to pour out love.

We can’t be Pharisees, swimming in our own goodness.

If we see someone that has a reputation of a sinner, or someone who swears like a sailor, sleeps with their boyfriend gets pregnant out of wedlock, just walked out of the abortion clinic… what is our response?

Not just the response of our lips, but the reaction of our hearts. 

No longer can we turn our backs on the hearts of the ones who need Love the most.

We’ve been forgiven much. Let’s love much.