It is always a blessing of joy when the Holy Spirit reveals something not seen before when I study the Scriptures. Such was the case in my reading of Luke 7:36-50 in preparation for church. As has been my attempted discipline, I also read R. C. Sproul’s commentary ‘A Walk Through Luke’ and as he was commenting on the parable of two debtors and how the one who receives Christ's forgiveness is more loving. My heart and eyes were open to a reason in my call to prison ministry.
I saw a parallel between the prostitute in Luke's story and the repentant inmate who has saving faith and seeks to grow.
Many individuals, Christian included, may view a person's incarceration as having sin more heinous than any transgression they may have committed and thus are less likely to see the prisoner as being less worthy of forgiveness. The prisoner himself or herself often understands his or her sin, as being more unworthy of God's mercy.
Imagine the alcoholic who kills someone while driving drunk and as a result sees the consequences of his drunkenness. It took the life of an innocent person on their way to work or the life of a child on the way to school. Genuine remorse and conviction of that sin are unimaginable to most believers and unbelievers when they seek to compare their sin of envy against the 'drunk’s act of murder.'
Back to Luke and the story of the forgiven prostitute. The prostitute knows the ugliness of her sin, whereas the Pharisee could not even see his sin. He only saw the sin of the prostitute and thought her unworthy of Jesus' forgiveness. Is there much difference when a Christian sees the prisoner's sin of murder and compares it to their sin of being envious of a friend's bigger house?
Just like the prostitute the prisoner is more aware of their unworthiness but see no matter how unworthy they are Jesus still forgives them.
How easy it is for me or you to think that our sins of envy are more worthy of forgiveness then the alcoholic’s crime of murder.
Neither the prisoner, you or me are worthy. All of us are sinners unworthy of foregivenes. Praise God that Jesus Christ's life of righteousness and death on the cross receive unmerited forgiveness.
However, does the weight of our sin justify you and me receiving the teaching of God's Word but not the inmate?