Why I say to you, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.
Learn from the mistake of the Pharisee to be very careful in the formation of your opinions of others, and especially in the expression of your judgment. Great changes may take place in persons, which changes do not come to your ears.
I. THE FIRST OF THESE LESSONS IS, THAT GRATITUDE IN A LIVING HEART RISES WITH THE OCCASION. YOU know that gratitude is a joyous sense of obligation. I lay great stress upon that word "joyous." There may be a sense of obligation without thankfulness-there may be a sense of obligation associated with hatred, and malice, and revenge. There are men who are excited to indignation by obligations which they cannot cast off. Gratitude is a joyous sense of obligation to another, accompanied by a desire to confess that obligation. If this sense be absent, and if the consciousness be painful, and if a man shrink from the utterance of acknowledgment of the obligation, gratitude is not in his heart. Now, as the mercury in the barometer rises with the lightness of the atmosphere, and in the thermometer with the heat of the atmosphere, so gratitude in a true heart swells with the extent of the obligation. Christ says of this woman, "Her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." Thankfulness in this poor woman's soul had reached a very high point; that is, it responded to the demand made upon it. Gratitude in a living heart will not be stationary. As the clouds of guilt and sorrow are blotted out from the firmament of the man's heart, and from the firmament of the man's prospects, thankfulness will rise. Gratitude cannot be the same in two individuals of equal spiritual sensitiveness, but of different conditions. "She loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little." The difference in the condition, the heart being alive, produces the difference in the thankfulness. As a trunk-line receives traffic from its branch-lines, or as the principal stream through a valley receives accession by tributary streams, so thankfulness is deep or shallow, wide or narrow, in proportion to the circumstances which call it forth. The highest occasion of thankfulness is large pardon from God — pardon dispensed by God abundantly. Sin admits of degree. Transgressions may be many or few, and they are marked by degrees of aggravation. Observe, too, the manner in which God dispenses forgiveness. He pardons freely, without money, and without price; readily, without the vain repetition of continued entreaty — abundantly, making the scarlet, snow, and the crimson, wool. Now, until a guilty man is forgiven by his God, none of the gifts of the Father of Mercies partake thoroughly of the nature of blessing. He has health, and strength, and life; but these are only adding distance to his wanderings from God. Strong gratitude, brethren, is very free in its utterance. It is not restricted to place. The man who is really thankful cannot expend his emotions in the sacredness of retirement only. Yet the thankful heart is not dependent upon the excitement of the multitude. Still, gratitude is not restricted to time, or to mode. It finds regular seasons for utterance — in the morning and evening, and at noon-day. It will lisp like an infant; it can chant like a seraph. It will utter itself in a sigh or in a song, in a tear or in an alabaster, in a look or in a course of service. Look at a third fact. Gratitude breaks the laws of propriety which a formalist would recognize. It puts its hand on the best and it offers the best. Now, how ought the gratitude of a forgiven man to be expressed? Honour the Saviour's person in the persons of His disciples.
Parallel VersesKJV: 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 little.