Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Going in Debt for an Almost Perfect Game

Not long ago, I watched a baseball game where neither team scored a single point up until the seventh inning of the game. One pitcher had a nearly perfect game, giving up only two hits while the other pitcher had given up nearly ten hits. However, one of the two hits given up by the first pitcher was a home-run. That one run off that one hit lost him the game. He was almost perfect. More perfect than the other pitcher, but he still lost the game. Almost perfect is not considered the equivalent of perfect in baseball.

In Luke chapter 7, Jesus had been invited to dinner in the home of Simon the Pharisee. According to the custom of the day, strangers were allowed to come in and join the conversation. A woman of ill repute searched out Jesus and sat at his feet. When Simon recognized her, he began thinking about how much better he was than her. Jesus sensed his thoughts and told him this parable: "A man loaned money to two people—500 pieces of silver to one and 50 pieces to the other.  But neither of them could repay him, so he kindly forgave them both, canceling their debts" (Luke 7:41-42, NLT). Jesus reminded Simon in a not so subtle fashion that, while his sin may not put him in the same category as this woman, he was incapable of dealing with it himself anymore than this woman was.

Sometimes we can be tempted to look at people whose sin has them in over their heads and forget that, while we may not be in as deep as them, we are in over our heads too. We may not have as much sin-debt as the next person, but neither of us can actually pay our debt. Just like "almost perfect" doesn't count in baseball, our small imperfections are imperfections nonetheless. No matter how good we may be or how much better we think we are than the horrible sinner over there, we all have a debt we are incapable of paying. Jesus stands ready to cancel our debts but let's never  pretend that the size of our debt matters. Regardless of how big or small, we can't repay it. Let's not look down on others who receive same grace we did.

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