“Therefore, I tell you, her sins, which were many, have been forgiven; hence she has shown great love.” (Luke 7:47)
Grace is a funny thing. If you need it, it can be amazingly comforting to receive it. But if someone you don’t like needs it, it can be very frustrating to see it given freely when you really wish they would get their just rewards!
When Jesus’ comes to Simon the Pharisee’s home for dinner, somehow a woman finds her way in through an open door. In our modern world this seems almost impossible. How would an unwelcomed person find their way into our dinner table? But ancient Middle Eastern architecture was much more open and someone with a goal could almost always find their way in somewhere.
Simon is offended at the woman’s presence. He’s also offended that Jesus is not offended by her! How could Jesus even pretend to be someone so insightful when he doesn’t see what a terrible person this woman is? And not only is Jesus not offended, he seems pleased at her displays of affection.
When Simon objects to the whole situation, Jesus responds with the above verse. People who have received grace are naturally transformed by that grace and want to show their gratitude and love toward the one who has offered it.
Jesus seems clear: the more aware you are of your need for grace the happier you will be when it comes. On the other hand: the less aware you are for your need for grace, the angrier you will be when it shows up.
So, are you someone who is aware of your need for grace and glad that we worship a God who has offered it to us freely in Jesus? Or, do you find the notion that God can forgive people who you are offended by and who you find to be “unworthy,” to be a real thorn in your side?
How you answer that question will tell you a lot about how you see God, grace, your neighbors and yourself.