I have always thought I was not capable of loving the Lord as much as some people who came from very wicked lifestyles. Then recently, my thinking changed. It did not change because of something I did but because of what Jesus said.
First, to give you a little back story, I have to take you to the scene where Jesus said, “Those who have been forgiven much will love much.” It’s in Luke 7 if you want His exact words.
He said this at a feast at the house of a religious bigwig named Simon. A sinful woman showed up weeping, washing, and worshipping Him. The bigwig was coming unglued thinking about how Jesus had no sense of discernment that such a horrible woman would touch His feet like that.
So, Jesus told him a story about two people who were in debt. One owed a man $5,000 and the other owed the same man $50,000 (in modernized terms). When the man erased both their debts, who would love him more? The one who had owed the most, of course.
This is where I come in. I grew up in church and never murdered anyone. I cannot love Jesus as much as those who have, I guess. But then, something in this story screamed at me.
Jesus mentioned the affection and love of that woman who had committed a lot of sins. But He never mentioned her specific sins. Instead, He mentioned the sins of Simon, the “good guy.”
Putting on a big feast that day, we can see that Simon was a good entertainer (Jesus being the entertainment). Simon, however, was not hospitable. He did not show Jesus common courtesies in cleanliness, friendliness, or comfort.
Simon’s sins were that He did not respect Jesus or honor Him. This outcast woman had (Luke 7:44-46). Simon’s heart was wrong toward Jesus. Which is worse? Sins against other humans or sins against God?
Who was more deeply indebted to the Lord? Simon or the sinner woman? Does God see religious pride as worse than her moral failings? Perhaps not seeing the Savior is the greater wrong. Overlooking God in flesh racks up more felonies in heaven’s courts than all the charges leveled in earthly ones.
Simon’s problem was that he had not been forgiven. He could have loved Jesus. If Simon had humbled himself, perhaps he could have been more devoted than she was.
I may not have committed her sins but I have his. She had sinned much, but had he sinned more? I cant think of a Bible story where a thunderous voice from the sky stopped a drunkard, prostitute, or some typical villain. Instead, we see Jesus call Saul of Tarsus off his high horse.
When Saul turned from his religious pride and his rejection of Jesus, the world suddenly changed. Saul, later called Paul, must have loved deeply to give his whole life to the service of Jesus. This man apparently loved Jesus more than anyone else on record. You probably have what it takes to love Jesus deeply. I just discovered I do.
First, we have to recognize and turn away from our religious self-importance. We can do this!