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Gene’s Daily Scriptural Postings

(39) Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him: for she is a sinner.

(47) Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little. King James Version Change Bible versions

Notice the scornful comment of the self-righteous Pharisee in Luke 7:39: "Now when the Pharisee who had invited [Jesus] saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, 'This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner.'" Yet, notice that Jesus does not forgive the disdainful Pharisee but the woman: "Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little" (verse 47).

The Pharisee loved neither God nor the woman. If he had loved God, he would have served Jesus and been more sympathetic and tolerant toward the woman. This leads us to understand that beginning to love God triggers the seeking of His forgiveness. From that relationship flows the merciful attitude and the ability to forgive as one is forgiven by God because it induces consideration of one's own failings.

Self-exalting, self-righteous people have such a high opinion of themselves that they are essentially ignorant of the need to grant forgiveness, especially to those they judge as beneath them. We are often guilty of setting limits on our granting of forgiveness because we believe that it merely opens the door to further abuse by the offender. Jesus addresses this in Matthew 18:21-22 and Luke 17:3-5. His instruction helps us to understand God's expectations of us as His children. His standard for us is exceedingly high.

When Peter asks how often he should forgive his brother, it appears he understood his estimation to be quite high. He asks, "Up to seven times?" (Luke 17:4 adds "in a day"). No, Jesus replies, "but up to seventy times seven"! Jesus' figure of speech implies "without limits" or "without number." This so shocks the disciples that they reply, "Lord, increase our faith" (Luke 17:5)!

Offenses against one another within the church are inevitable. To God, pardoning these offenses is so important to the creation of Christ's image in us and to the peace and spiritual well-being of the church that it must be done regardless of what we fear the outcome will be. Our trust in God that He is overseeing the well-being of all concerned must be strong enough to place the outcome in His hands. God is well aware of all the facets of the offense and all the hurts inflicted. Do we believe that He knows who did what and why, as well as the correct balance of innocence and cause in every case?

— John W. Ritenbaugh

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