Calloused Heart

Message: In Luke 7 what grabbed my attention was at the end of the chapter when Simon, the Pharisee invited Jesus over for dinner. A woman with a sinner’s reputation came with an alabaster jar of oil crying, anointing and kissing the feet of Jesus with her tears and wiping them with her hair. When this offended the Pharisee, Jesus gave him the story about the two creditors. One who owed 500 denarii and one who owed 50. He asked him which one would love more when he was forgiven and the Pharisee acknowledged that the man forgiven of more would. Jesus compared the behavior of the woman to Simon’s behavior. Simon didn’t just give Jesus less love in response. He gave him none at all. So when Jesus forgave her of all her sin this also offended the Pharisee because he didn’t accept the authority of Jesus to forgive sin. I have always looked at the part of the story that acknowledges that the woman had more sin to forgive, just like the man who owed more money. While this is still true, today  I also saw something else here. The woman knew who she was and what she owed. She was very self aware and I’m sure society played a pretty great role in reminding her that she was a sinner. Simon, the Pharisee probably lived by the rules, but as a Pharisee he would have also allowed himself certain loopholes. This is the stuff Jesus was always calling them out on. They gave a certain appearance of following the law, but their hearts were far from God and full of evil. Simon, the Pharisee may have in fact, been further and deeper in sin than the woman. He was just blind to it because of his religious pride. Simon had not been forgiven of anything because he didn’t believe he needed it.

Command: I need to examine my heart always, to see what is in it. If I don’t know what is in there, I won’t have the opportunity or the gratitude for forgiveness and it’s easy to slip into a religious walk.

Promise: Not only is God faithful to forgive me, but the gratitude and joy that results from that is beautiful, and is contagious. (or in this case, offensive to a religious person)

Warning: If I am not examining my heart regularly, I can develop a religious hardness that like Simon, is completely unaware of my condition or need for forgiveness. That hardness makes me callous and lacks compassion

Application: This is  a strong reminder to me that no matter how long I have been walking with Jesus and have cleared out most of the obvious junk in my heart, I always need to be talking internal inventory and allowing Jesus to deal with things that rise up in there. Attitudes and mindsets can lay almost dormant and undetected but the result of this shows up in the form of callousness.

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