My favorite passage of scripture in the King James version of The Holy Bible is found in St Luke, chapter 7, verses 36 - 50.
36 And one of the Pharisees desired him that he would eat with him. and he went into the Pharisee's house, and sat down to meat. 37 And, behold, a woman in the city, which was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at meat in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster box of ointement. 38 And stood at his feet behind him weeping, and began to wash his feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed the feet, and anointed them with ointment.
I am particularly drawn to this particular verse (38) because of the imagery.
39 Now when the Pharisee which had bidden him saw it, he spake within himself, saying, This man, if he were a prophet, would have known who and what manner of woman this is that toucheth him for she is a sinner. 40 And Jesus answering said unto him, Simon, I have somewhat to say unto thee. And he saith, Master, say on.
Verse 39 points out how judgmental the Pharisee was of the sinner woman. People all around us do this daily, several times a day. In my own life, having experienced such a colorful past, I was thoroughly aware of the people who whispered about me. I find myself doing it from time to time and have to remind myself to be compassionate.
41 There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. 42 And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? 43 Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou has rightly judged.
This is such a simple parable to understand.
44 And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavesT me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head. 45 Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not cease to kiss my feet. 46 My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth litte. 48 And he said unto her, Thy sins are forgiven. 49 And they that sat at meat with him began to say within themselves, Who is this that forgiveth sins also? 50 And he said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace.
This passage of scripture has pulled me through my sinful ways into the brightness and light of goodness.
The hardest, most difficult part for a sinner to do is to step back into the light. We are afraid of all the people judging. I remember folks telling me, "Did the chapel fall when you walked in?" That made it more difficult to come back the next time.
I had a Bishop stand at the pulpit and tell the entire congregation that the church is like a hospital and they don't make hospitals for people that are well. Bring them in who need Jesus! That forever changed how I view the church and humbled me. I became unafraid of those criticizing my awkward steps back into the light. And I shed tears and washed the feet of Jesus with my hair. And I kissed his feet! And in those moments, I gave up my sin for the forgiving touch of the Savior. And the most beautiful thing is.... YOU CAN TOO!