In 1947, Major and Mrs. Ian Thomas opened Capernwray Hall in England to their first Bible school students. What makes this event extraordinary was the fact that the first students were German. Only 2 years earlier, not only had England and Germany been at war, but Major Thomas had fought in the conflict! His ability to forget the past but also to offer the hand of friendship and the love of Jesus to citizens of a former enemy nation is a beautiful example.
In Luke 7, Jesus also provides a beautiful example of what it means to forgive the “worst” of people (in the world’s eyes at least). He reveals the importance of knowing that each one of us is lost in our fallen spiritual state, if we’ll only realize it.
The “immoral woman” showed pain and penitence as she anointed Jesus (Luke 7:37-38). Due to her own feelings of unworthiness, she would not even face the Lord, but knelt behind Him. Then, in humility, she kissed His feet and placed “perfume on them.” Furthermore, the perfume she poured out was very expensive, but her tears revealed that she didn’t think the price was high enough for such a sinner as herself. She prostrated herself at Jesus’ feet, hoping for but not expecting forgiveness.
In contrast, the religious leader elevated himself not only above the woman but also above Jesus, assuming that he could see what Jesus couldn’t (Luke 7:39). He was blind to his dead spiritual state and therefore couldn’t repent of his condition. His pride made him completely unaware.
Major Thomas could extend forgiveness and love to others because he knew what Jesus had done for him. The fuel for forgiving others springs from our awareness of how much we’ve been forgiven by God.
NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: Matthew 6:19-34
Read Matthew 18:21-35 and consider what it means to forgive as Jesus has instructed.
How has the grace of God changed your view of those dealing with sin? What does it mean to forgive someone as God has forgiven you?