Luke 7: 44-47 presents a story that I find difficult. “Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.’” Why difficult? Because we all have sinned, and when we realize our need and Christ’s provision, we love deeply, for we see we have all been forgiven much.
Yet, somehow the more spectacular conversion stories get labeled as ‘real’ while the rest of us get lumped into a category called boring conversion stories. I have actually lived this! At a faculty gathering many years ago, the hostess wanted one of us to share how we came to faith in Jesus. She stole a cursory glance at me and then said, “No, not you, You’re story is boring.” My sin, while not cast in the Anne Lamott mold, certainly qualifies me as a needy sinner. Actually, as I think of it, my Dad understood this back in the 50s and made it painfully clear to me. At that time church activities for teens involved taking a group to hear some ex-criminal’s electrifying testimony. A foreign language would have communicated to me more clearly than Jim Voss’ story did. Syndicated crime, and wire taps didn’t mirror my life in rural New York. Anyway, after one such youth rally, I made the mistake of hinting to my Dad that I had, perhaps, not been bad enough yet to have turned to Jesus. With all his Dutch ire, he told me straight out, “In being born you were sinful enough to need Christ.” Immediately, Dad put a moritorium on my future trips to hear such testimonies!
Experiencing forgiveness for abortions, drug addiction, eating disorders, theft, affairs, and other traumas allows a new convert to marvel at the love and grace offered in Jesus’ salvation. But all humans soon discover that sin manifests itself in thoughts, words and deeds. The thought and word sins debilitate too, even if they’re not as visible as the deeds.
The older I get, the more I thank God for the gift of life He extended to me through Jesus’ sacrifice on my behalf. I also have grown to thank Him for not taking me through all the sins I could have wallowed in through the years. After all, I am a child of the 60s, and I still struggle with sin every day. I just get tired of the hype or supposed super validity of the bad. All of us know the authenticity of our dark sins and truly thank God for His unspeakable gift of love and mercy.