A Lesson in Forgiveness
Forgiving others as we have been forgiven.
Forgiving others as we are forgiven.
Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little." Luke 7:44,47
Have you ever done something you wish you had not of done? Maybe afterwards you felt bad about it? (you could insert a personal story or use mine...) I remember once when I was at a summer camp in elementary school I started making fun of a girl in our camp to another girl. I didn’t know the girl was right behind me and she heard everything! I felt horrible and nothing I did could make it better. Sometimes we mess up in life and feel sorry. Not only did I mess up, but I didn’t make it better. I didn’t take responsibility for what I did. That’s a big word – does anyone know what that means? In this case, it means, that instead of making excuses for what you did wrong—like "she made me do it!" or "He started it!", you admit that you messed up and then try and make it right.
Well, today we are reading a Bible story about a woman who did some bad things in her life. It doesn’t say what they were—it’s not important—but we know that she was very, very sorry. She felt so bad in fact, that she went to see Jesus in someone’s house–when she wasn’t even invited!! I wonder how she felt. She didn’t know anyone, the people in the house didn’t want her there and she was meeting Jesus! I imagine she must have felt very scared and very little. I don’t mean little like she was tiny, I mean little like she was with people who were very important. She probably felt UNimportant. Not only did she go, but she knelt down behind Jesus and washed his feet WITH HER TEARS! Then she washed them with perfume.
You can imagine how the other people in the house felt. One of them got upset with her and with Jesus! Simon the Pharisee didn’t think Jesus should be letting her do that. But Jesus not only let her do it, he told her that her sins—all the bad things we do in our life—were forgiven. She was able to leave with a happy and peaceful heart. There are so many lessons to be learned from this story, but let’s look at just two. One, the woman did something wrong and wanted to make it right. This is what Jesus wants us to do. If we do something wrong, what could we do to make it right? What are some things we could do to make it better? (ask that person for forgiveness, ask God for forgiveness, tell that person you’re sorry, fix what you broke, do whatever you forgot to do, etc).
The other thing we need to get from this story is how Jesus reacted. Did Jesus throw the woman out? Did he say—you did something wrong, leave me alone? What did Jesus do? He let her stay, he let her ask for forgiveness, and then he forgave her. It’s important for us to do the same.
Let’s pray: Heavenly God, when we mess up, help us to ask for forgiveness and try to make it right. Help us also to forgive people that hurt us. In Jesus’ name, Amen.