Please and Thank You
I tell you, her sins--and they are many--have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love. Luke 7:47
In the movie Splash! the main character, played by Tom Hanks, meets an adorable but strange woman who eventually turns out to be a mermaid. One of the telling signs of her true identity is that she has very little experience with everyday events and reacts inappropriately. When she is taken out to a fine restaurant and served lobster, her etiquette (though very mermaid-like) becomes a source of embarrassment, humiliation, and a wake-up call to her newfound friend. She is not what she appears.
Most rules of etiquette are guidelines to practical and polite behavior, like washing one’s hands before eating or wiping muddy feet at the door. But some rules of etiquette simply mask pretense. Etiquette can be used to honor people--or to point out their inadequacies. Jesus wisely uses this man-made custom to teach a spiritual lesson in Luke 7.
When a woman entered a dinner uninvited, poured perfume on the feet of Jesus, wept over him, and used her hair as a towel, Jesus saw only a deeply grateful and loving heart. This woman recognized immediately that Jesus was the only one who had the authority to judge her. She knew the consequences of making a spectacle of herself, yet she risked all to express her gratitude to Jesus for his mercy. She treated Jesus as a king. Jesus honored her humility and praised her actions. Jesus used the contrast between his host and this woman to teach a lesson about the way actions reveal the heart. While the host had neglected all proper etiquette for a regular guest, indeed having treated Jesus as no one special at all, this woman had honored Jesus as royalty (Luke 7:44-46). Why the difference in attitude? Those who know the depth of their sin are deeply grateful when they are shown mercy.
How much was this woman forgiven? All her sins were forgiven, known and unknown. Of how much have we been forgiven? Of all our sins, regardless of their severity? How will we show our gratitude to one who has loved us so generously--by treating him like no one special or by treating him like a king?
Thank you, Father, for loving me and for forgiving me of my sins. When I stop and really think about all that you have done, I'm overwhelmed by your grace and mercy. When I think of how you use me for your Kingdom, I'm blown away. You are the great I Am. You are the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are Faithful and True. You are Everlasting. You are Omnipotent and Omnipresent. The one thing I ask of the Lord, the thing I seek most, is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my lift, delighting in the Lord's perfections and meditating in his Temple. (Ps. 27:4) Be with each person who reads this message today and let her know how loved she is and how you long to spend time with her. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.