“…..her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”
Not really sin, not really grace. There are numerous “little” sins we like to ignore or overlook in the modern world, to rationalize and justify. Things like divorce or gossip or usury, or strife or whatever.
One of the hardest things for me has been being the bug on someone’s windshield, a victim of circumstances, and therefore not really responsible for many of the things I’ve had to deal with. We tend to have this idea that sin is our fault, we’re to blame, so if we didn’t cause it, it isn’t our sin. Or we can rationalize it away, it’s not really sin at all since we really had no hand in it, no choice.
We relate sin to the person rather than accepting that it is this thing that exists in a broken world. Connecting sin to the person is a very legalistic misconception, one that actually blocked and delayed my own healing. That kind of legalism can be a major factor in depression, too.
The problem being, when something is not really sin, then there is not really grace. Victims especially, don’t need to forgive more, they need to be more forgiven. How do you get more forgiven? Well, there must be something there to forgive. We avail ourselves of that abundant and overflowing well of grace, by asking for forgiveness ourselves.
That’s tough in a world that insists things are not really our fault, or that sin is not really sin. Often we think of forgiveness as something we do for others and not really something we require ourselves.
Since learning this truth, I’ve come to realize that the ticket to His abundant well of grace, is actually sin itself. We don’t have to go sin some more, that bank account is already full, trust me. A few times I’ve even asked for forgiveness for despair itself. “This is the day the lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Forgive me Lord, search my heart, because I just can’t seem to manage the “rejoice and be glad” part today. He answers me too, He responds, He always points me to the root of the problem, and pours out abundant grace.
Sometimes people get cranky with me about this kind of thing because allegedly depression isn’t sin, fear isn’t sin, despair isn’t sin, and yet if we don’t accept that they are, we’re basically saying that it is somehow pleasing to God when we are afflicted, miserable, unhealthy, full of anxiety and despair. Once again, sin is not always about the person, it is not always about being “bad,” it’s about straying or being led astray from what is Holy, desirable, pleasing to God.
The best way to avail ourselves of abundant grace and healing is to be more forgiven ourselves.
The lessons to be found within the tale of the woman with the perfume are so profound, so multi-layered, so important to us as Christians, that Jesus Christ Himself actually says, “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
“Wherever this gospel is preached through out the world, what she has done will also be told….” One reason for that is because she is the very tale of grace, the metaphor of pouring out all that we have and all that we are, so that we can be set free, so that we can love much.