|Everybody's Got One
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Thursday, September 19, 2002
In the house of Simon the Pharisee
“A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred coins, and the other fifty. When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave the greater sum”.
Now, why does Simon suppose that? Because looking from outside he compared the numbers, and one was absolutely larger than the other. But which was relatively larger? Suppose 50 coins is a huge amount to one borrower, and 500 is pocket change to the other ... does the presumption hold? Suppose the reaction of (at least one of) the forgiven debtors is not love but contempt, not thankfulness but a realization that here's a lender who can be safely cheated?
So was the lesson here really about forgiveness and gratitude, or about presumptions – not least about what was in the heart of the woman “known to be a sinner”?
Consider this: at the end of the story Jesus tells the woman her sins are forgiven and to go in peace, not the usual Go and don't do (whatever) in the future. Why the difference, hmm?
posted by Kelly | 2:45 PM link