“Jesus said to him, ‘Simon, I have something to tell you.’
‘Oh? Tell me.’
‘Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?’
Simon answered, ‘I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.’
‘That’s right,’ said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, ‘Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.'” (Luke 7:40-50).
In this story, Jesus asked a question that struck me as I read it: Do you see this woman?
I’m sure Simon had seen this woman before. He knew enough about her to be able to question Jesus’ judgment on letting her near Him. He knew enough about her to know her reputation and her past.
But the question Jesus asked is closer to “Do you see her the way I see her? Do you only see her sin? Do you only see her past?”
I wonder if we don’t really see people. We see their actions that may or may not offend us. We see their sins. We might see a different skin color or culture.
But do we really see people the way Jesus sees them?
And how did Jesus see this woman?
He saw a woman looking for a way out of her life. He saw someone who was ashamed of her past and who didn’t like who she’d become. He saw that she looked at Him and saw a way out. The only way out.
I wonder what we communicate about Jesus to people the way we look at them. If we only see them for their failures, do we preach a gospel of works and moralism? If we only see them for their past, do we tell them that Jesus came to judge and condemn and not to save the lost?
I believe Jesus loved her as she was in the moment– not as she should be– and His love led Him to see a repentant heart and to forgive her of her sins and declare her salvation.
I need to remember the way Jesus looked at me once. He saw me at my worst and loved me best. He saw me at my lowest and loved me as if I had never sinned. He saw me the way He sees each of His sons and daughters, the ones we often condemn and discount.
Perhaps the prayer for you and me is that we see other people the way Jesus sees them and love them that way.