v. 37 - "And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner..." (emphasis mine)The woman that came to anoint the feet of Jesus lived in obvious sin. The entire community knew about it. However, she was obviously humbled by the grace of Jesus. Simon (the Pharisee) was a sinner too, but either his sins were not as obvious or he was very careful with hiding them. The fact is that both of these people were sinners and both needed God's forgiveness, which is illustrated in verse 42.
v. 39 - "If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner." (emphasis mine)
v. 42 - "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both..." (emphasis mine)
What we learn from this story and parable is that we must be very careful not to compare our sins to others' sins. Though the sins of others may seem more obvious or even more "severe" than ours, the truth is that we each need Christ's grace and forgiveness. Without it, we are all headed to an eternity of torment under the righteous wrath of God (because He is perfect and we are not).
So, what will it take to maintain a right perspective toward ourselves and others? There are three things we can do to keep our eyes focused in the right direction:
- Stay Humble. Philippians 2:3-4: "Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others." Remember that Christ paid the price for you. You did not achieve salvation by any effort of your own. You received salvation because Christ purchased and gave it to you.
- Stay Thankful. Hebrews 13:15: "Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name." Because He has paid the price for our sin while we were undeserving, our hearts ought to overflow with gratitude for His wonderful gift. 2 Corinthians 9:15: "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!"
- Stay Faithful. 1 Corinthians 15:58: "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord." When we are serving, we are focusing outwardly and not inwardly. When we are serving Christ, we are focusing on heavenly goals and not earthly goals. This will keep our minds from comparing ourselves to others because when we see Christ, we know we fall short, but He lifts us up. Hebrews 12:1-3: "... let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart."
Let's bath in the grace of Jesus and invite others to do the same. We are all sin-sick people and the cross of Christ is the only cure. Let's walk arm and arm as co-sinners depending fully on the gift of salvation offered by Jesus and make a difference that matters for eternity.
For God's Glory,
Chris S. Sweet