LUKE 7:44-47: “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.” (NKJV)
OBSERVATION: What produces a critical spirit and a judgmental heart? Truth be told, many times my attitude is more like a Pharisee than like Jesus. When I see people whose lives are broken by sin I am tempted to size them up and judge them. This is what Simon the Pharisee was doing in this encounter with the woman who came in and washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and anointed them with perfume. Wasn’t Jesus able to perceive what kind of a sinner she was? Was Jesus really a prophet? Was he really a righteous man?
What happens to our heart when we are tempted to act like Simon the Pharisee, when we look upon those who have made bad choices in their lives, and walk a large arc around them? Jesus reveals the answer in one simple sentence.
- “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.”
When we begin to forget our own personal sin, and how much we have been forgiven, we easily fall into a judgmental and critical spirit. However, when we are fully aware of our own brokenness we have a great capacity of love and compassion for those who are lost and whose lives are bound and broken by sin.
How does this critical and judgmental spirit begin?
It is easy to become isolated from the reality of the world and the reality of our lives. This happens gradually. As believers we begin to establish new relationships and activities. Our close friends become those of like faith. Our activities begin to revolve around the church and associations with these friends. We create a safe “bubble” from the world. Then something happens. We begin to forget our roots. We begin to trust in our new life as if we had something to do with it. And when this happens we begin to water the seeds of a critical and judgmental heart.
Jesus told the parable of the tax collector and the sinner who went to the Temple and prayed. This is a picture of what can happen to my life and heart. The Pharisee, proud of his religious heritage and practice, prayed – “Lord, thank you that I am not like other people, sinners!” The tax collector beat his chest and cried out – “Lord forgive me, I am a sinner!” Jesus said only one of these pleased God, only one of these left justified, and it was not the Pharisee! When we forget that – “But by the Grace of God….go I” – we are on the slippery slope to a critical and judgmental heart.
What we need is a unveiled look in the mirror, and a revelation of the love of God in our hearts!
Lord, forgive me when I have acted more like the Pharisee than the woman who humbled herself and washed Your feet. Help me to remember that everything I am, everything I have, and everything I am becoming is only because of Your Great Grace! Let me take heed to where I stand this morning, lest I fall by trusting in my own righteousness, and not fully trusting in Your righteousness. As I look honestly and fully into the mirror, let me only see Jesus, and let my heart be filled with love and compassion for the hurting, the broken, the lost.
May I extend to all what You so graciously extended to me – Amazing Grace…that saved a wretch like me!
In Jesus Name!