How Much Have I Been Forgiven?

One of my favorite stories in the gospels is in Luke 7:36-50. Take time to read that entire passage. It’s where a “certain immoral woman” anoints Jesus’ feet while he is a guest at Simon the Pharisee’s home. There is so much packed into these few verses. John Ortberg, in his book, “Everyone’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them,” has a chapter entitled “Gratitude” that opens up this passage in an amazing way. It is certainly worth your read.

Within this story, though, Jesus tells Simon a simple story: ” ‘A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other. But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts. Who do you suppose loved him more after that?’ Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one for whom he canceled the larger debt.’ ‘That’s right,’ Jesus said.”

Jesus was pointing out to Simon through this story that the woman who was anointing his feet realized that she had been forgiven of much. Jesus even says that her sins were many in verse 47. Because she realized she had been forgiven of much, she loved Jesus much. What is interesting about the story that Jesus shared, however, was that neither of the people in the story could repay their debt; the amount, in essence, was insignificant to the story. It really doesn’t matter at the end of the day if you owe a bazillion dollars or one dollar. If you can’t pay it, you can’t pay it. If the debt you owe has been canceled, you have been forgiven much.

Whether you and I have been forgiven of much or forgiven of little is all in the way we view our own sin. If I could live my entire life and only commit one “little” sin, that sin would still have nailed Jesus to the cross, and I would need his redeeming power to free me and bring me into a relationship with him. The way I live my life in worship to the One Who has set me free will reveal my answer to the question, “How much have I been forgiven?”

– Jay LeBlanc

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