March 31, 2012

Luke 7:47 “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”

It is very interesting that the way Jesus put this seems like a chicken-and-egg sort of situation. Does love invite forgiveness, or does forgiveness generate love? I think the answer is, yes. The thing is, God’s love and forgiveness are available equally to all, but how much we experience either depends on our response. If we don’t understand that we need to be forgiven, we won’t open up to receive the forgiveness we need, and our love for God will be tepid at best. I don’t know how this woman realized God’s love was available to her through Jesus, but it probably got through to her in ways that might seem insignificant to someone else. With our current understanding of human psychology, it was quite possibly her hunger for real love that earned her the reputation she had, but multiple sexual partners will never satisfy that kind of love. Something she saw in Jesus told her that here was the love she had been searching for, with no sexual component whatsoever, and she responded with her whole being. God revealed to her that His love was greater than all her sin, and Jesus confirmed that with His words. As Augustine said, “Love God and do as you please.” That saying is misunderstood only by those who don’t really know what love is!

Once again I have been incredibly blessed throughout my life by being bathed in love. I have certainly felt rejection at times from various directions, but I have always had the core knowledge that God loved me, and that there were people who loved me too. That has made me desire to express love in return, and God very graciously gave me a magnificent partner in that at a young age. People today are surprised to find I married at 20. However, the even more important question is how I have loved God. I certainly don’t think I have done it well enough! In loving people, sometimes we have to choose what is best for them over what they want at the moment. However, in loving God, the best expression is total obedience. He always knows better than I do! I wish I could say I have always expressed that sort of love toward God, but that won’t be perfected until I’m before His throne. Meanwhile, I need to keep growing in my understanding and expression of His love, for me and for those around me. If I will do that faithfully, many will be drawn to repentance and faith by that love, for their salvation and His glory.

Father, thank You for the privilege of expressing Your love. Thank You again for what You have done and are doing in the family of the brother who recently went to be with You. That is very much a story of love, and I am honored to have been part of it, and to know I have a further role to play. I seem to have the most trouble expressing love when it involves correction and discipline. Help me love people enough to risk their not liking me! May I be a clear, undistorted channel of Your love at all times, so that nothing will get in the way of people seeing You through me, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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