This past week we heard from Luke chapter 7. A woman enters the scene of Jesus reclined at Simon the Pharisee’s table, and begins to kiss his feet, and anoint them with perfume…drying them with her hair. It’s quite a scene, and Jesus points out her undignified response is out of a realization of how much she’s been forgiven.
He tells the story of two men, who both owe money. One a large amount, and one a small amount. Both are forgiven. Who loves the forgiver more? Simon reluctantly answers “the one who was forgiven more”.
Forgiveness is mentioned twice here. The first, in Jesus’ story, it pertains to a debt that was owed, and then canceled. The word used here is “χαρίζομαι” (care-eez-oh-my). It involves showing grace, which is actually the root word, “χαρίζ” (care-eese). It involves the restoration of a relationship. We see this also in Colossians 3:13, where it talks about putting on the New Self:
“Bear with one another and, if anyone has a complaint against another, forgive each other; just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive.”
It’s an important aspect and type of forgiveness we yearn for…to be brought into right relationship with God. But there are other times, where a different emphasis is needed. In these cases, it’s also very helpful to remember/recognize the power of the God we serve.
When Jesus talks about and to the woman who is anointing his feet, he mentions her sins are forgiven. He says the person who is forgiven much, shows great love. The one forgiven little, loves little. The word used here is “ἀφίημι” (af-ee-ay-mee). This seems to focus on the relationship of the person to the sin. An emphasis on separating them from it, releasing them from it, and allowing them to completely set it down at walk away. We see the word used in Matthew 4:20 when Jesus calls His disciples:
“Immediately they left their nets and followed him.”
There are definitely times where our emphasis is on wanting to get rid of a bad habit, a bad choice, a life-damaging path or element we’ve found ourselves to have. I’m thankful for a God who recognizes the need for both types of forgiveness, and who is ready to offer both any moment we come to Him… 🙂
Forgive us Lord. And while you’re at it….forgive us too. 🙂