Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many are forgiven — for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little. – Luke 7:47
Two weeks ago one of my children’s leaders came to me with news of shenanigans at The Chapel.
Leader: [With distress and concern] “Pastor Ryan, someone has been stealing the dimes the kids have been donating to the children’s ministry playground fund.”
Me: “Sweet! We must be attracting the right kind of people to The Chapel.”
I wish I had a video of their face following my response because it told a great story. Within 10 seconds they moved from concern and upset to a warm smile that spoke volumes. It was a picture of grace. In that moment the good news of Jesus was cast over the dime-thief like a net of love and forgiveness. Religious people might expect a sermon on why stealing is bad (which it is), but I’d rather preach a sermon on why God loves thieves. I’ve never seen someones life radically changed because they heard a message on the evil of some particular sin, but I have seen countless lives changed when people hear the good news that Jesus loved them so much he died for that sin, loves them despite that sin, and will walk with them through that sin. Does this make you squirm?
Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks and floods into the lives of sinners while making the religious types nervous. Grace offends our deepest sensibilities because it removes our ability to earn God’s love. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is God’s love drenching the unloveable. Remember, the Bible is not a record of good people earning God’s love. It is a record of bad people receiving God’s love because of what Christ earned on the cross for them. The prostitute was forgiven much and loved much. The religious person did not see their need for forgiveness and, as such, loved little. Look at Jesus’ love for you on the cross. Dig deep in the well of his grace. Go and love much.