I’ve been reflecting on the beautiful story of the sinful woman in Luke 7. The one who washed Jesus’s feet with her tears. To reveal the heart condition of an observant self-righteous Pharisee, Jesus gives an everyday scenario anyone can understand. Two men owed a creditor money. One owed, let’s say, around fifty dollars. The other, let’s say, around five hundred thousand dollars. The creditor forgives both debts. The one who had the greater debt (the five hundred thousand dollar guy) would obviously be immensely more grateful than the fifty dollar guy. Jesus’s point? If you have been forgiven little, you love little. If you have been forgiven much, you love much.
It’s a beautiful (and convicting) story; and a simple, yet rich, scenario. But can I be honest? If I was the fifty dollar guy I would be a bit miffed. I mean, he only owed five Alexander Hamilton’s. The other? He owed five thousand Benjamins. In essence, the five hundred thousand guy “got” four hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and fifty dollars MORE than the fifty dollar guy. Are you picking up what I am laying down? One got out of having to pay half a million dollars. The other got out of having to pay what he could earn in thirty minutes at a garage sale.
I don’t know. Maybe this reveals the selfish/sinful nature of my greedy heart. Maybe it’s because I have three teenagers. Being “fair” is the name of the game right now. But does it bother you that one guy’s debt was so massive? What would you think if you were the fifty dollar guy? If I am being real (which, why not. . . it’s my blog), I would probably think, “If I had known THAT would happen, I would have borrowed a whole lot more!” Right? At the very least, I think, “How come that guy gets so much!?!?!?” It simply doesn’t seem fair. And, if you are anything like me, you are hardwired to want fair.
Maybe that’s the point. Grace is never fair. Fair wants something for our striving. Fair wants to see everyone treated equally. Fair wants punishment to be just. Fair wants gifts to be the same amount. Fair always looks around asking, “what about me?” Or, “why didn’t they?” Fair prays, “God, why did you let this happen?” Fair painfully pleas, “God, why didn’t what happen to me happen to them?” Fair loves to judge, “How could that person be forgiven?” Fair has a hard time “just” receiving something.
When it comes to Jesus and the way He treats humans, fair isn’t a factor. Grace spits in the face of fair. Actually, that’s not harsh enough. Grace hammers fair to a bloody cross. What is fair is us being punished for all of our sins. Jesus took our place. Now? Nothing – NOTHING – but grace comes flooding our way. Grace is never fair.
Could it be that I am like Simon the Pharisee because I keep waiting for Jesus to be fair? Could it be that the point of Jesus’s scenario is that if I actually think I only owe fifty dollars’ worth, then no wonder my heart is so cold? Could it be that we all owe more than we could ever repay and we are all reliant on One to cancel it for us? Could it be that maybe, just maybe, if we would let Jesus cancel the debt of our sins, we might quit worrying about fair?
When it comes to Jesus and the way He treats humans, fair isn’t a factor. That’s right. Because of the cross, you can stop worrying about fair. You can simply enjoy His gracious and loving and merciful and life-changing presence – right now. He who has been forgiven much, loves much.