‘Those’ People

Luke 7:40-43And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on. There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him mostSimon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged.”

There are those who hold to a certain class of people. Others allow into their circle of friends those with shared interest. Still others will tolerate certain individuals, but then there are some whose very presence makes the hair on the back of our neck stand up.

They might be those who lack social graces. They may be those who seem ‘odd’ to us. They say the wrong things at the wrong times. They have quirks that seem different than most. Their hygiene might not be the best. Their responses in public situations might cause embarassment.

It might be that they have wounded us at some point and we haven’t quite forgiven them.

It could be they have an annoying habit.

It could be that they don’t dress the same or live in the same neighborhood. They live on ‘that’ side of town.

Such is the case of the woman that showed up to a dinner party given by one of the prominent Pharisees of the day. Jesus was invited to come to Simon’s house and apparently, this woman starts kneeling at Jesus’ feet.

She is weeping which is heard by all in attendance. Even if it was soft sobs, it set the whole dinner party to acknowledge her presence. Her behavior was such that her tears fell on Jesus’ feet whereby she wiped the tears and the dirt from His feet with her hair. She thought nothing of what it did to her, but it was not something to which the dinner party was accustomed.

She anointed His feet with a fragrance that filled the whole room.

By this time, she had pretty well garnered the attention of everyone in attendance. Jesus. used her to illustrate a very cogent truth.

Jesus used an illustration that related to all. Forgiveness of a debt. Think of it… Who wouldn’t be extremely grateful if forgiven such a great debt as Jesus described? But here is where Jesus sets the whole dinner party on edge – especially His host.

It was the custom of the day to provide a basin to wash an invited guest’s feet upon entering their home. It was a sign of acceptance to kiss them on the cheek once they entered as well. Then, to anoint them as they entered, showed honor. Simon had done none of these.

What may have seemed like a social slight to those around was now revealed as a total lack of love on the host’s part.

As I read this passage, my heart was cut to the core about those whom I have slighted in my life.

You know… You are in conversation with a friend and this person walks up and you do not even acknowledge their presence – let alone introduce them to your friend. This just one of many situations that we have opportunities to help someone, yet fail miserably.

I wonder how the Lord feels when I do not invite Him into my everday relationships?

When I fail to introduce Him to those with whom I interact on a daily basis, I show my lack of love for the One who, quite literally – saved my life!

I know this; I act far too selfishly in my everyday interactions with those who would benefit greatly from knowing my Savior.

“I’m busy”

“What would they think?”

“What if they reject me?”

What Jesus was trying to teach Simon, and us as well, is that our love will show in acts that go beyond social acceptance and class distinction. It is fully understandable that there are those whom each of find difficult to love. But, Jesus asks us to go beyond what rubs us the wrong way; what seems socially unacceptable or would make us look different in other’s eyes.

Simply, when I can view others as one for whom Christ died, I can rightly apply my spirit to what that person might need from me.

“If” I love my Savior like I say I do, I should be able to love others and treat others with more love , compassion and grace than I ever have in the past. God challenges me to love like that.

God allows someone to come that will cause me to extend that love across lines I draw or exist within the circle of friends that I keep. When I do not possess that love within me, I must connect with God’s love for them. It is as if Jesus says,

“I know you do not love them like I am commanding you to, but allow me to love them through you.”

Love your enemies – How do we do that?

Simon was oblivious to the lesson Jesus was about to teach until the truth was revealed about his lack of love. Take some time today to look into the faces of those around you. Say to yourself;

“This is a soul for whom Christ died – they deserve to hear the good news so they can be saved like me!”

I cannot love like He can, but I can allow Him to love through me!

 

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