Friday, February 23, 2018

Devotionals for the Heart: Gail's thoughts about forgiveness


Forgiveness
A devotional written by Gail Kittleson


I have yet to read a verse in the Bible that instructs believers to be nice. And the older I get, the more certain characteristics of our role model, Jesus, stand out. Luke chapter seven even reveals how he ignored certain people at times.

But that’s not nice, we may remark. Maybe not, but Jesus did it, and pointedly. Luke tells the story of the town harlot who washed Jesus feet with her tears and anointed them with expensive perfume. Jesus certainly focused on the woman but ignored someone else.

The Pharisee who invited Jesus to his home had a real problem with this woman. First off, we note that Simon recognized her ... now, why should a religious zealot know who she was?

Immediately, he conjectured: Jesus must not be a prophet like I thought—otherwise “...he would have known what kind of woman this is who is falling all over him.” (Luke 7:39)

But with far more awareness than Simon could have imagined, Jesus addressed his host right in front of everyone. The story he told Simon compares two forgiven men—one forgiven a little, the other with much in his life requiring mercy. We imagine him setting up the parable and then, in a very meaningful moment, asking Simon, “Which of the two would be more grateful?” (Luke 7:42)

Perhaps Simon shrugged as he replied, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.” (Luke 7:43)

Bingo! Jesus launched into teaching about forgiveness and gratitude. He then told the woman he forgave her sins, which shocked the dinner guests. “Who does he think he is ...?” (Luke 7:49)

Now comes the clincher. Jesus ignored them. Instead, he focused on the fallen woman, showering her with promise and peace. We might try to imagine how the others in the room felt, witnessing his extraordinary behavior.

Our Lord was such an intuitive fellow. His spiritual and emotional astuteness saw far beyond the surface, and led him to meet the deepest needs of the human heart. We all need His mercy, his love, and his forgiveness. Some of the dinner guests might not have agreed, but Jesus taught them a lesson by being what might not fit our conceptions of a nice Christian.

Help us, Lord to move beyond our childhood teachings into an obedience that delves deeper into the mystery of your unending love and forgiveness. Teach us to concentrate on your priorities and see people through Your eyes of unconditional love.


~*~
Author Bio: 

When Gail Kittleson's not steeped in World War II research, drafting scenes, or deep in an edit of her 1940’s novels, she does a limited amount of editing for other authors. 

She also facilitates writing and creativity workshops, both in Iowa and Arizona, where she and her husband spend part of the winter in the amazing Ponderosa pine forest under the Mogollon Rim.

Favorites: spending time with grandchildren, walking, reading, meeting new people, and hearing from readers who fall in love with her characters.
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