Jesus called out to the Pharisee, Simon, over the head of the woman who was cleaning his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair: “’Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven; hence she has sown great love’” (Luke7:47). It is that “hence” that draws our attention: Because… therefore. When Martin Luther in his Small Catechism writes about our prayer that God would forgive us for our sins as we forgive those who sin against us, he explains: “We sin every day and deserve nothing but punishment. So we on our part will heartily forgive and gladly do good to those who sin against us.” Because we know the grace of forgiveness, we can forgive, too.
This message is adapted from “Forgiveness: The Gift That Keeps On Giving” by Susan Gamelin in March 1998 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.