Pause

Love itself may be at stake. If we are unable to forgive one another, we will not be able to love.

Perhaps this is why we can declare with confidence that God is love; it is because, first, God is forgiving.

With so much at risk, God will see to it that love does not leave room for resentment. Instead, God will lead in the cause of mercy.

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Listen

One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house and took his place at the table. And a woman in the city, who was a sinner, having learned that he was eating in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster jar of ointment. She stood behind him at his feet, weeping, and began to bathe his feet with her tears and to dry them with her hair. Then she continued kissing his feet and anointing them with the ointment.

Luke 7:36-38

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Think

Jesus has been invited to a share in a meal at the home of a Pharisee and, as they are sitting around the table, all of a sudden a woman enters. We are told she is a “sinner,” and it doesn’t seem that she’s made it on the guest list. The town had been stirring with stories of Jesus, the man who was healing and forgiving people of their sins. This was her chance to be close to Jesus, to receive forgiveness.

While our human instinct might tell us two wrongs make a right, thankfully, God doesn’t follow this reasoning. God, through Jesus, offers unconditional forgiveness. The woman in our story today knows this, and she is determined to be with Jesus, to receive the forgiveness he offers.

Peeking in through the window wasn’t enough for her; she had to get to Jesus. The woman understood her deep need for forgiveness, and knew that Jesus was the source. May we know the forgiveness offered freely to us, and may we, like this woman, passionately pursue it.

Sara Hunt

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Pray

God of surprising guest lists, grant me the same passion and thirst exhibited by this woman who found her way to Jesus and fell at his feet. I am, just like she is, a broken and sinful person in deep need of your forgiveness. Thank you for offering it to me, new each day. Amen.

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Go

There's a gate just ahead, inviting you to pass through. It is marked "Forgiveness." It leads the way to acceptance, confirmation, recognition, being embraced and held. It takes you down the pathway that brings you love.

Reach out and open easily the latch. Step lightly through the gate's portal. Our forgiving God welcomes you there.

Sara Hunt

Sara Hunt is from Tampa, Florida, and is a graduate of Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama. Currently she resides in the lovely Pasadena, California, where she is studying at Fuller Theological Seminary and sharing life with Fuller’s Intentional Community at Madison Square.

Here I Am to Worship

Ken Medema

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