READ: Luke 7:36-50
THINK: How often have you stopped to consider just how merciful God has been to you and how much God’s forgiveness means to you personally? No matter how good or bad any of us think we’ve been throughout our lives, on our own we’re all hopelessly separated from God just the same. If you’ve accepted the forgiveness and new life Jesus purchased for you at the price of His own perfect life, then you must realize that you owe Him everything. Jesus doesn’t expect you to dwell on a past from which He’s liberated you. But the more you grasp the hopelessness of your former condition apart from Christ, and the more you consider His love revealed when He gave His life on the cross, and the more you lay hold of the inner assurance that you are now forgiven and cared for by God himself, the more your faith and love for Jesus will grow and endure.
RESPOND: In what ways did the woman display boldness and devotion to Christ, disregarding what other’s thought of her actions? How did the Pharisee’s attitude toward himself and toward Jesus differ from the woman’s attitude toward herself and toward Jesus? (See 7:38 note.) How can you tell that the woman was ready to be forgiven and to devote herself to Jesus? (See 7:47 note.) What response of the woman really allowed her to be saved (cf. v. 50)? What kind of attitude and awareness can help you develop deeper love and devotion to Jesus? (See 7:47 note.) How does receiving forgiveness from Jesus affect your love for Him and your faith in Him?
PRAY: Express thanks to Jesus for His love and forgiveness and ask Him to keep you constantly aware of the mercy and compassion He has shown you. Ask Him to help you view others with similar compassion.
ACT: Extend forgiveness to someone who has hurt or offended you. If possible, settle things in person. Otherwise, try to call or send a note. Be gracious and apologize if necessary for harboring any bitterness or resentment toward the person. Don’t worry about what he or she or anyone else thinks as you extend forgiveness.