Daily Devotion January 31, 2024

 “But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little”  (Luke 7:47, NRSV).

     I enjoy attending twelve-step meetings. The beauty of the recovery community is its transparency. The ability to stand in front of a group of people and say, “Hi, I’m Suzy, I’m an alcoholic,” requires humility. By humility I mean       self-knowledge that goes public.

     Self-admitted addicts know their weaknesses, are painfully aware of their past misdeeds, and are willing to share their story of redemption with others. In Jesus’ parlance, they aren’t afraid to publicly share their story because they have been forgiven much.

     One of the cultural teachings that came out of the early twentieth century is that people are not inherently bad. They may make bad choices based on bad experiences or misinformation, but their basic character is in no way defective. Reinforcing this ideal does all of us a disservice. If, in fact, we convince ourselves that we have nothing for which to be forgiven, then we have little hope of receiving and expressing true, authentic love.

     Jesus put the matter this way. “But the one to whom little is forgiven loves little” (Luke 7:47, NRSV). I can’t help but wonder if the reason we witness so few expressions of love in our world today stems from the reality that too many of us feel we have no cause to be forgiven.

     We have assumed a works-righteousness mindset that love is given only to the most deserving among us. Such an assumption is an affront to the gospel’s message and makes a mockery of Jesus’ crucifixion. If there was and is no cause for Jesus to die, then his death was and is for nothing.

     Perhaps, then, the first step to increasing the influence of love in our world today begins at the same place Jesus found the “immoral woman”—on her knees (see Luke 7:36-50). Hers was a posture of repentance. Hers was an acknowledgement that something was awry with her character. Hers was the first step toward being made whole.

Contemporary Christian artist, Toby Mac, echoes the following declaration of freedom from sin in his song, Forgiveness:

   ‘Cause we all make mistakes sometimes,
   And we’ve all stepped across that line;
   But nothing’s sweeter than the day we find,

   And we all stumble and we fall,
   Bridges burn in the heat of it all;
   But nothing’s sweeter than the day,
   Sweeter than the day we call.

Lord Jesus, help me to live with an awareness of my continual need for your mercy. Grant me the capacity this day to forgive others in the manner by which you have forgiven me. Through Christ I pray. Amen.