“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.” (Luke 7:47)
Does this verse teach that a Christian who once lived a wicked life of sin loves God more than someone who was saved young and perhaps did not experience the same degradation? It would seem so, would it not? But since we all know God never considers sin to be an advantage under any circumstances (1 John 2:1), there must be another explanation. After all, using the distorted rationale of those who slandered Paul (“Let us do evil that good may come.”), one could make the argument that an adulterous wife, whose husband has forgiven her, will be more loving than a faithful wife will be.
I am aware, of course, that often someone whose sin is more blatant may be quicker to acknowledge the gift of forgiveness, simply because it is more obvious. While at the same time, someone else, who, for one reason or another was restrained from overt sin, does not always realize the awful wickedness of so-called “respectable” sins such as pride, covetousness, hatred and lying. These sins cost the life of Jesus Christ every bit as much as murder, thievery, adultery, drunkenness, or drug abuse. In today’s world of religious “celebrities,” who sometimes cash-in, spiritually and materially, on their pasts, it might behoove one to ask this question: Which is the greater sin, the awful deed or awful pride in the deed?
What I am saying is that any sinner who understands how much he or she has been forgiven, and how much that forgiveness cost, will love God dearly, no matter what his or her sin may have been. Who loves most? The one who is willing to see—and acknowledge—personal sin.
The older I get, the more I begin to understand that some things I thought were gross sins only covered the truly hideous ones hidden deep within my heart. And I have come to see just how desperately I am need of God’s forgiveness. I think I can understand a little of the motivation of this dear woman in Luke seven. Those times when I see myself as I truly am, I think if I had been there that day, I would have wanted to mingle my tears with hers.