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Forgiveness is a powerful thing. Forgiveness enables the place of reconciliation, redemption, and renewing. Recognized forgiveness releases that exhale of freedom.

Forgiveness is a theme laced in every area in the bible. Forgiveness is the major theme of the bible. There are some stories I am drawn to more than others. Today I want to tell one woman’s story taken from Luke 7. Some suppose that the “sinner” in this story was Mary Magdalene. So that is the name I will use.

The emptiness was overwhelming as Mary rolled over to find a denarii on her bedside table. She sat up and tears began to stream down her face. “I didn’t even know his name” she whispered through her deep breaths. Mary looked around her room and wondered how long it had been since she really knew who she was. Mary spent so much time in this life style of one wrong choice after another that she forgot what joy felt like. She spent too long associating joy with the few moments spent in the arms of another.

Some men she knew, some she didn’t. Some she enticed, some forced themselves on her. All ended with the same emptinesss of her own heart’s echo.

Mary wiped her eyes, got dressed, and headed out to the market. She rarely made eye contact with others out of shame, but she could still hear their taunts and words to her. Silent tears would lace her face as she made her way through the streets. Some voices were familiar. Some voices were of those “friends”she new growing up. Her heart stirred as she asked herself, “how long ago did I become this person?

That late morning, she heard rumors of a man named Jesus coming to town. He would be having dinner at Simon’s house that evening. Mary’s curiosity grew and asked someone who this Jesus was. “Jesus is the healer of disease. He awakens the dead, casts of evil spirits, and even forgives sins.

Forgiver of sins?” For the first time a feeling of hope began to grow in her heart. She went back and forth all day in her heart, wondering if she had too many sins that were beyond forgiveness.

That night, Mary grabbed her alabaster jar and headed to Simon’s house. Mary crept up to the house and peared through the window. She found them all reclining at the table. After deliberating for quite some time, she entered the house and walked straight to Jesus. The site of him was overwhelming. She could already sense something different about him. Jesus smiled as Mary approached. Mary bent down and wept like she never wept before. It was as if years of pent up tears flowed from her soul. She poured everything she could out on Jesus. She offered everything she could in hopes for mercy.

At this point grumbling broke out among the men. She heard names being hurled in her direction. At one point it got so bad she stopped and looked up at Jesus. In that moment, his eyes were full of compassion, joy, love, and genuiness. She felt seen for the first time. Jesus’ eyes pierced her wounded places.

Jesus then did something no man had done. Jesus owned Mary in front of everyone. Jesus stopped the party and acknowledge Mary as a real person. She had been overseen her whole life, and tonight she was the center of attention in a new positive way. Jesus loved her.

After a story, Jesus turned to her and smiled. He said words that she wanted to engrave on her heart, “your sins, which are many, are forgiven.” Jesus spoke to the heart of Mary.

Oh the rush of exhale and freedom. She felt whole and new. She felt redeemed and loved. Mary was over joyed that her many sins were not too many for forgiveness. She left different that night. A new beginning started. Mary finally knew love not condemnation.

I don’t know this woman’s story. I don’t know what constituted her “many sins.” I can imagine her titles. I can imagine some of her decisions. She humbled herself long enough to realize that she was in need of forgiveness. We are all included in her story. We are all in need of forgiveness. The question is, will you humble yourself long enough to realize that?

What keeps you from knowing forgiveness?

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