Posts tagged ‘Forgiveness’

What A Shame

What A Shame!

“To You, O LORD, I lift up my soul. O my God, in You I trust,
Do not let me be ashamed;
Do not let my enemies exult over me. Indeed, none of those who wait for You be ashamed.” (Psalm 25:1-3a NASB)

It is a beautiful and wondrous thing to experience the forgiveness of sin that is found in Christ alone! Especially when we contemplate that price that was paid to make that forgiveness available to us! But often, even though we have been forgiven from the sin, we still carry around the shame of it with us.
Shame can be spiritually debilitating. Whenever we begin to step out in faith and do the work of the Lord, our adversary whispers in our ear saying, “who do you think you are, telling people about Jesus? If they only knew about your past, they would see what a hypocrite you are for trying to do something in Jesus’ name.”
It is shame that causes people to believe the lie that they are unworthy of God’s forgiveness and grace. As a result, many spend their lives addicted, defeated, and feeling like they have messed up their spiritual lives beyond repair and are no longer useful for God. That is why so many times we turn from a sin, especially an addictive sin, and eventually go back to it. We stop the behavior, but because we have not left the shame, we don’t feel any better than we did before, and it draws us back into the trap.
And all because they have believed a lie! I love a quote I heard today by Beth Moore. She said, “Shame is satan’s laughter morphed into a human emotion.”

But walking in shame over forgiven sin is not the way Christ would have his children to live! For on the cross, Jesus not only paid for our sin, but he also bore our shame!
“keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2 NET)

Isaiah prophesied about it this way (from the Amplified Bible):
“Surely He has borne our griefs (sicknesses, weaknesses, and distresses) and carried our sorrows and pains [of punishment], yet we [ignorantly] considered Him stricken, smitten, and afflicted by God [as if with leprosy]. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our guilt and iniquities; the chastisement [needful to obtain] peace and well-being for us was upon Him, and with the stripes [that wounded] Him we are healed and made whole.” (Isaiah 53:4, 5 AMP)

When we carry around guilt over sin that God has already been forgiven, we are in effect saying that either we don’t really believe what God has said about forgiveness, and/or that the blood of Christ was not sufficient to pay for their sin. We dare not go there!

I am not saying that we don’t try to make amends when we sin, or not to not remember how bad the guilt and shame felt before we were forgiven. But we must also remember to leave behind both the sin and its guilt at the foot of the cross and not go back for it!


How Much Forgiveness Did I Need?

How Much Forgiveness Did I Need?

To begin, I want to start with an encounter that Jesus had with a Pharisee and a sinful woman in Luke 7.

Then one of the Pharisees asked Him to eat with him. And He went to the Pharisees house, and sat down to eat. And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisees house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner. (Luke 7:36-39 NKJV)

There are some things in this story that stand out to me.
1. Despite of the reputation of the Pharisees of being holy men, this “sinner” was not hesitant to go right into this one’s home. There is no indication that the servants had tried to resist her entry. Why is that? Could it be that they were used to seeing her there?
2. Extravagant forgiveness provokes extravagant love in response. No one had to tell this woman that she was a sinner. The knowledge she had of her sinfulness and her desperate spiritual bankruptcy is what motivated her to seek out Jesus in the first place! Only a deep sense of gratitude for the magnitude of what has been blotted out of our account would cause such a spontaneous outpouring of worshipful adoration! Jesus had spoken about this in Matthew 5 when he said “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV) Only when we comprehend our spiritual poverty will we run to Christ for rescue from our helpless estate.
3. Yes, Jesus knew EXACTLY what kind of woman this was, for she was just the type of person He came to seek and save.
“For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:13 NKJV)

But the narrative does not end here.
And Jesus answered and said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. So he said, Teacher, say it. There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more? Simon answered and said, I suppose the one whom he forgave more. Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little. (Luke 7:40-47 NKJV)

When Jesus had arrived at Simon’s home as an invited guest, he had been treated with rude indifference. The woman, on the other hand, responded with such humility and love, that she had the attention of everyone present.

And she didn’t care who saw her or what others opinions were of her. Love makes us that way. And Jesus tells Simon that this s because she had been forgiven much and therefore loved much. Notice that Jesus did NOT say it was because “she had a lot worse sins than you did, Simon.”

You see Jesus didn’t link the love to the amount of sins, but to the amount of forgiveness granted. Jesus did’nt say it was because she sinned much, but because she had been forgiven much. That is a critical distinction, because Simon the Pharisee was in just as much need of forgiveness as the sinful woman!

Sin carries with it a death penalty. And since all have sinned, everyone is under that sentence of death (Romans 3:23). That is why John 3:17 says Jesus didn’t come into the world to condemn the world, but to save it. It is because the world was already condemned!

And a death penalty is a death penalty, whether you were sentenced for a murder or 100 murders. When the condemned is pardoned, he is taken out from under that penalty and should be thoroughly grateful. The real problem in the story is not the woman’s lavish, unsolicited, and unauthorized response. The problem was Simon’s lack of any response other than indifference.

So with this story in mind, let us examine ourselves and ask who we are most like in this story; Simon, or the woman.

I conclude with words of ex-slave ship captain John Newton.
“My memory is nearly gone; but I remember two things; That I am a great sinner, and that Christ is a great Saviour.”


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