And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, (Luke 7:37 NASB)
There was a woman...who was a sinner." This woman is commonly perceived to be a prostitute, and she may well be, but that is not what the Scripture says here. The word translated as sinner is hamartōlosIt would, then, be accurate to say "There was a woman who was a sinner, just as I am a sinner." It looks a little different that way, doesn't it?
Whatever her sin, whether it was prostitution, adultery, gossip, or unforgiveness, she had become known as the woman who had continued to sin. The description of her as a sinner implies that, whatever the sin, it had been a regular part of her life, at least until she met Jesus. How horrible that must have been! Even after trusting Christ, she was still haunted by her past.
I cannot imagine how painful it would be to constantly be described by the things I did before I was transformed by Christ. Can you? What if people described you as "that woman who will not forgive" or "that man who is always angry"? Remembering who we were before Christ saved us helps us to keep in mind that great mercy He has demonstrated to us. At the same time, when we give our burden of sin to Christ, it is His alone, and should not be used like a ball and chain to hinder us for the rest of our lives.
For this woman, who likely knew exactly what people said about her, their gossip meant nothing in comparison to the great gift of forgiveness that Christ had given. She had been transformed by grace and the gratitude she felt knew no bounds. Are we as cognizant of that mercy and grace demonstrated to us, as grateful as this woman? We should be.
She was a sinner, just like us. We should be extravagantly grateful, just like her.
Pray today that our hearts would be so full of gratitude for the gifts of forgiveness and transformation that it spills over into every part of lives and is apparent to all, especially those we love the most.
Link to last might's post is here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/05/sealed-with-handshake.html