36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and reclined at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.” 41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
- Sin Is Relative – This is the thought that says, “I’m OK to sit at the table, but you can’t.” Viewing sin as relative, errs because of what one compares it to. For example, a person might say, “The wedding dress might seem expensive, but it’s all relative” meaning, It may be expensive for a person of average means, but for a person of wealth, the dress may not be that expensive. Who decides what is right and what is wrong? Culture, us as individuals, or God.
- Sin Is Subjective – This is the thought that says, “Your sin is worse than my sin.” This mistake occurs when we change our definition or perception of sin based off of our personal views, experience, or background. It leads us to view other’s sin as worse than our own. After all, we like to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt. We make mistakes, others are being led by evil. We battle addictions, others live in rebellion.
- Sin Is Action – “Your actions are worse than my actions, so you’re a bigger sinner than me.” Don’t hear me wrong, sin is action. We commit, we do sinful things. But let’s look at this from a different angle. Why do we commit sin? The short answer is because we are sinners. Sin is also a state of being. Psalm 51:4-5, gives us a proper perspective of sin. David says both that he has “done” wrong and also that he was conceived in sin. Consider also Paul’s verb use in Ephesians 2:1, “And you WERE dead in the trespasses and sins“.
- Sin Is Bad, But I’m Good – This thought says, “I can sit at the table because I’m a good guy.” It is the misconception that we, apart from Christ can balance the scales of sin and righteousness. It assumes that personal righteousness can please God. However, scripture teaches us that righteousness is imputed, not attained. This is not to say that we disregard the need for personal holiness and seeking to live like Christ, but what I am saying is that if this method is what you’re counting on when you stand before God, you’re not going to balance those scales.
- Great Sin = Great Love – After all, isn’t that what verse 43 teaches us. No, I don’t think so. Paul said it this way, “Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! (Rom. 6:1). However, I think it does teach us that a great awareness of sin, results in a greater love. In keeping with the theme of Jesus’ story, we need to be aware of how much we owe. Jesus also told a story in Luke 18:9-14 which reiterates my point, He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and treated others with contempt: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.
Our take away from this passage of scripture for each of us should be: I’m a great sinner who needs great forgiveness. Jesus is a great Savior who paid a great price form my sin.