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3 Ways Luke 7 Teaches Us How to See Ourselves

Published Aug 03, 2023
3 Ways Luke 7 Teaches Us How to See Ourselves

How we see ourselves determines how we see others. We need to treat others with love and forgiveness, as we have been forgiven and loved. When we see ourselves in need of grace and forgiveness, it is easy for us to see others in that same light.

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One Sunday at church, my husband was doing a sermon on perspective. In it, he wanted us to see ourselves as God sees us. That week was communion, so as part of the communion experience. He placed a mirror in front of the bread and juice.

As each person came up to receive communion, he challenged us to take a moment and look at ourselves in the mirror. He asked us, “What do you see when we look in the mirror? Ask the Lord to reveal to you what he sees when he sees you.”

The enemy took it as an opportunity to bring out my inadequacies and whisper lies. Lies about my inadequacies, my value, and my worth.

We all struggle with our value and worth. But it’s how we see ourselves determines how we see the world.

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 — as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little” (Luke 7:44-47).

Jesus was reclining at the table of a Pharisee’s house. But a woman came to the pharisees’ house after hearing Jesus was there. Uninvited. Not only uninvited but prohibited by society to be there.

So not only is it a woman who appears at the house, it’s a woman “who has a reputation.” Because society sees her this way, it’s safe to assume she thought of herself as having low value and worth in the world.

She stood behind him, weeping. She knew she shouldn’t be there. The woman starts anointing his feet with kisses and oil from behind, not in front. She can't even face him!

She doesn’t want to be seen by Jesus because she’s too ashamed. It’s ironic that he asks Simon if he had seen her since Jesus hadn’t seen her until after she created this garish scene.

Here are three things we can learn from this passage.

1. This Woman Demonstrated Great Faith to Go to Jesus

This woman came to the Pharisees’ house after hearing Jesus was there. Because of her shady past, she probably sees herself as unworthy of being in Jesus’ presence. But she still takes a risk because she sees Jesus as a way out of her life. He was her chance at freedom from her past!

2. Jesus Looked Past Her Past

The woman stood behind him, weeping. By standing behind him, her tears were all he needed to perceive her not as a sinner but as a woman deserving of mercy, just like the Pharisee. Jesus doesn’t need to turn around and cause this woman shame.

He saw her as a woman in need of a Savior: the people he came to earth to save. This is her desperate attempt to give a lowly gesture of washing his feet in the hopes she’ll be worthy to even be in his presence.

3. Jesus Sees Us for Who We Are

Jesus sees us as sinners in need of a Savior. That’s why he came! He sees us in our reality, even when we see ourselves with distorted thinking. Simon saw himself with this distorted thinking: he acted as if he didn’t need Jesus at all. Simon only saw the woman’s sin. Not her as a person.

He sees her for who she is: a woman risking it all in the hopes he will forgive her of her sins and release this public shame. He’s comfortable with who she is because his love for her outweighs her reputation.

Jesus saw her as a human in need of forgiveness. When we see ourselves as saved by God’s grace, we can extend love and forgiveness to others because our lives reflect the love and forgiveness to others we have received from Christ.

What do you see when you see yourself? Do you see yourself as a sinner saved by Jesus and in constant, desperate need of a savior? Or do you see yourself as not that bad of a person, able to be saved by your own merits?

How Can We See Ourselves and Others the Way Jesus Sees Us?

We need to see ourselves as people who need Jesus. The woman makes a scene by showing Jesus her need for him and his forgiveness. Her big act displayed her trust that God would forgive her of her sins. Simon’s acts, however, demonstrate a lack of grace.

The second Jesus doesn’t do what Simon wants (overreact and throw the woman out because she is disobeying societal rules), he calls Jesus’ identity into question.

Jesus asserts the woman has been forgiven and loved much, solidifying her identity as a child loved and accepted by God no matter what she’s done.

Perhaps you need to change how you see yourself. Ask the Lord to reveal to you any lies you tell yourself that you may not be aware of so you can replace those lies with the truth.

Search Scripture and write down the ways God loves you and cares for you. Place those truths in prominent places around your home as a daily reminder of God’s love. Repeat them to remind yourself of God’s truth.

We need to see others in the same way. How we see ourselves determines how we see others. We need to treat others with love and forgiveness, as we have been forgiven and loved. When we see ourselves in need of grace and forgiveness, it is easy for us to see others in that same light.

1 John 4:20 says, “Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.”

We cannot claim to love Jesus and not forgive our brothers and sisters. Perhaps God is asking you to forgive that person with whom you hold a grudge. What step can you take today to make that happen?

Forgiveness is a process. It does not happen overnight and, due to the nature of the offense, may take years to fully process. That is okay! But we must forgive others even when we don’t feel like it.

Write that email. Send that text. Make that phone call. Offer an apology for your part in the offense. Tell that person you forgive them. Strive to make peace with everyone in your life. Reconciliation may not always be possible, but forgiveness is our obligation.

Let’s live in the light of his grace and forgiveness. Let’s love others because we have been loved and forgive because we have been forgiven. Let’s see ourselves and others the way Jesus sees us: people redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

For further reading:

Why Does Man Look at the Outward Appearance When God Looks at the Heart?

How Is Charm Deceptive and Beauty Fleeting?

Why Did Mary Anoint Jesus’ Feet with Perfume?

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/Marco_Piunti

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.

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