Would your friends describe you as an appreciative person? Are you grateful for the many blessings you enjoy? Or, are you prone to take the benefits you daily enjoy for granted? Do you occupy yourself more with giving thanks for the good things or keeping count of the bad things? Today we’ll learn from the master, as the Lord Jesus Christ teaches us to have hearts of gratefulness.
41″A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42″When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?” 43Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.” 44Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45″You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46″You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47″For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48Then He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.” 49Those who were reclining [at the table] with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this [man] who even forgives sins?” 50And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”
A Huge Debt Forgiven
As was so often His habit, Jesus used a simple and relatable story to communicate a deep and powerful spiritual lesson. In the parable, we meet two men who are both in debt to a wealthy man. One owes him 50 days wages (say $10,000 or so) and the other owes him ten times that amount. Although the wealthy man has every right to demand his due payment, he does not. Because he is gracious, he completely forgives both debts. The two are of course grateful—but not exactly the same. Imagine being forgiven a debt of $100,000! How much weight would you feel lifted off your shoulders!!
The Lord then goes on to explain the spiritual truth underlying the story. Like the men in debt, you and I owe a monstrous sum. But it’s not money we owe—it’s a debt of sin. Because God is a just God, and we all fall short of obeying His perfect Law, we must pay for our unrighteous actions. The penalty for sin is death, and not just death, but eternal separation from our Creator. But, like the gracious rich man in the story, our heavenly Father has paid our debt. He did this through Christ’s atoning death on the cross. Our Savior paid the penalty we owe by dying the death we deserved—He Himself being without sin. If we will turn from our sin and accept Christ as Savior and Lord, He will wash us clean and forgive our debt.
Do Your Actions Show You Grateful?
Now, whether we have been forgiven for a collection of small or lesser sins, or if we’re forgiven from a lifetime of rebellion and grotesque sins, we will be overjoyed and thankful to our gracious Father. But the one who is saved from the mountain of heinous sin will tend to have a greater appreciation for the gift he has been given. Like the woman in the story who was saved and forgiven from her life of adultery, we should recognize and give thanks to God for blotting out our transgressions.
If you’ve been forgiven much, take the time to recount and remember what God has saved you from. Pray and give thanks that Jesus has paid your debt and God has forgotten your iniquities. Conversely, do you think yourself forgiven relatively little? It can be easy to downplay our own sinfulness, to view our godless words and actions as “minor slipups,” or “small infractions.” But God is holy, and a sinner cannot enter His presence. Instead of looking on others, whom we deem as “worse sinners” than us, let’s take the lesson of this passage and fall at our Savior’s feet in overwhelming gratefulness for His grace and love toward us poor, undeserving sinners.