The story of Jesus and the “sinful woman” (as Luke describers her in Luke 7) teaches us five big lessons about self-righteousness:
1. You will never know if self-righteousness lurks in your heart until you see someone you regard as “sinful” audaciously loving Jesus. How you react to that situation will uncover what’s deep within your heart.
2. Self-righteousness will disqualify you from the kingdom of God. Serving God, as Simon performed his entire life, doesn’t score brownie points with the Almighty. Humility and treating others the way you want to be treated in all circumstances is what Jesus is after. This, in fact, fulfills the entire Law and the prophets (Matt. 7:12).
3. It doesn’t matter what you’ve done or how bad you’ve failed, Jesus Christ is bigger than all your foul-ups, and His mercy and grace looms larger than any sin you’ve ever committed.
4. Ultimately, your God is after love. Beyond everything else, even service, He wishes to be loved (Matt. 22:37–38). You are His beloved.
5. In the upside down Kingdom of Jesus, if you deem yourself to be part of the class called “non-sinners” and judge those who are not like you, then you’re dangerously out of favor with God.
We all should be impressed by the sinful woman. She embodies the depths of fallen humanity. Yet Jesus loved her and forgave her. And despite her unbecoming life, she knew that Jesus was a friend of sinners . . . which means that He was her friend.
So the next time you feel condemnation over your past sins, mistakes, and failures, remember this: A sinful woman extravagantly loved the Lord of glory—your Lord—in the house of a Pharisee.
And He was not ashamed.