Summary: If you can write out your love for the Lord in a nice, neat little paragraph, you probably don’t understand your love for the Lord. The difficulty with love is the inability to express adequately in words how you feel.

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If you had to describe your love for the Lord, how would you do it? Could you find in the proper words to express your passion and appreciation for the Lord?

If you can write out your love for the Lord in a nice, neat little paragraph, you probably don’t understand your love for the Lord. The difficulty with love is the inability to express adequately in words how you feel.

The parable in Luke 7 emphasizes this truth. The interesting thing about this incident is that it happened in the home of a Pharisee who invited Jesus for dinner. The Pharisees were proud of their education, composure and ability to understand weighty spiritual matters. They were religious knobs of the first order.

As far as they were concerned, they had everything figured out. Everybody had to accommodate the Pharisees definitions. After all, they were the experts.

A woman discovers where Jesus is and seeks him out, much to the irritation of Simon the Pharisee. He had good reason to be upset.

The woman who washed Jesus feet with her hair is described as a "sinner."

The host was embarrassed by the woman’s display of affection. This woman had a history, she was known as a sinner in his city and he wanted no part of her especially in his home while he was entertaining guests. Some felt (Pharisees in particular) that her history should disqualify her from any ministry to the Lord.

The Pharisees religion made no allowances for this kind of extravagant behavior. They were straight-laced and rather boring. "Legalism" believes their life and experience is the definition of normal. They judge everybody by their own life and experience.

He then called into question the integrity of Jesus.

"38The proud religious law-keeper who had asked Jesus to eat with him saw this. He said to himself, “If this Man were One Who speaks for God, He would know who and what kind of a woman put her hands on Him. She is a sinner.”

It’s easy to judge people using ourselves as a standard and then rule them out. Those whom people rule out Jesus rules in by his grace.

Some would keep away from Christ those who need Christ the most. But this is exactly why he came. The apostle Paul understood this perfectly.

1 Timothy 1:15 (KJV) "This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief."

In order for us fully to understand forgiveness, we must appreciate the horridness of sin. Several truths in this parable enable us to understand forgiveness from God’s viewpoint and how we can define love in an appropriate manner.

I. It takes as much of God’s grace to forgive one sin as any sin.

We sometimes think some sins are worse than others. We love categorizing sin and arranging them in some sort of priority.

We believe someone’s sin is worse than ours.

There are two errors in this thinking:

* Our Perception - that sin is horrible in someone else’s life but not so bad in our life. Our sin is never quite as bad as somebody else’s because we have a good reason for our "shortcomings."

* Our Deception - that God will make an exception with regard to our sin. We tend to condemn in others what we condone in ourselves. Also, that God views sin the way we view sin.

We need to understand that God treats every sin the same. He makes no difference between one sin and another. The apostle Paul makes this clear: Romans 6:23 (KJV) "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."

In light of this let me offer some words of caution. People make two mistakes in this area:

* They overemphasize the importance of sin. The tendency is to blow it all out of proportion and overwhelm people to the point of just giving up. "No hope for me."

* They underemphasize the influence of sin in their own life. The tendency here is to disregard the long-term effects of sin. "There’s nothing for me to worry about."

Our society today gives the message that you can do as you please and not suffer the consequences. If some disease develops because of some sin, the confidence is that somebody will discover a pill to correct it. Don’t worry. Science has all the answers.

Some people sow their wild oats on Saturday night and come to church on Sunday to pray for a crop failure. God’s grace is never intimidated by any sin.

II. As we comprehend the depth of our sin, we begin to appreciate God’s forgiving grace.

The Holy Spirit is adept at peeling back the layers of our life revealing the presence of our sin. Where we think there is no sin, he uncovers a nasty nest.

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