There’s a passage from the Christian scriptures that over the years has become something that I know to be true, at least for myself, in my own life. It goes, “she loves much because she has been forgiven much.” To me this means that the outpour of love that one is capable of is dependent on the debt they have been forgiven. Moral debt. Emotional debt. Spiritual debt. Another way of seeing it is, the degree to which a person feels freedom in their heart.
In the book of Luke, from which this passage comes, Jesus tells a story to a man named Simon. He was prompted by Simon’s criticism of a woman (a prostitute) who lay at Jesus’ feet weeping, washing his feet with her tears and drying them with her hair. To paraphrase, Jesus tells Simon a story about two men, both whom owe money to a banker. One man owed five hundred pieces of silver and the other owed fifty. Because neither man was able to repay what he owed, the banker forgave the debts. Finishing his story, Jesus then asked Simon, “which of the two men do you think is more grateful?” to which Simon replied, “the one with the greater debt.”
I’ve heard this story several times over the years, with different interpretations, one of which seems to stick with me.
In this biblical passage, Jesus shared a story with Simon in order to make a point that the woman crying at his feet will not be subject to criticism or judgment because of the great love she demonstrated. And her ability to love so greatly was due to the great debt that she had been forgiven.
According to this particular interpretation, forgiven much means that the woman was cognizant (or conscious) of her shortcomings, her sins- what she needed forgiveness from. And in her acknowledgment of these things came a humility that birthed the ability to show great love.
Does that make sense?
She wasn’t just forgiven because she needed lots of forgiveness. She was forgiven because she acknowledged all of the things which she needed forgiveness from. She needed freedom. Forgiveness is freedom. And she got what she needed.
In the deep dark pain of really acknowledging ones shortcomings, comes a humbling of the ego, a taming of it, and that changes a person. Granted, not everyone has the wherewithal to catalyze a heap of heaviness into acts of love and kindness or into a better version of themselves, but for those who do, or hope to, I believe that there is power in acknowledging your shortcomings because then you can begin to forgive yourself, and/or ask for forgiveness, and move on to experience greater love.
I think at times, after we’ve made a mistake, we’re susceptible to our own pride and fear of admitting what we’ve done. When we do that, I believe that a tiny callus grows on the heart, making it hard, insensitive and inflexible. Over time the habit of ignoring what we need forgiveness from creates more calluses, making for a very hard heart. I want my heart to be soft, strong and healthy, so that I can feel all of my life, even the painful parts.
Anyhow, I wanted to share these thoughts because they came to mind as I began to re-read a book called Women Who Run With the Wolves, by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. I decided to pick this book off my shelf after I noticed a big group of women posting pictures of themselves and the book on Instagram. Apparently it’s their March book club read, and so I decided to join in.
I started reading the chapter on retrieving intuition (chapter 3 to be exact). The chapter begins by describing that intuition is the treasure of a woman’s psyche. It is a wise old woman inside of her that tells her which way to go. The author calls this inner wisdom, La Que Sabe, or The One Who Knows.
And that’s just it…
That’s where the magic is- the freedom. It’s in the acknowledging. It’s in the knowing. The ability to feel your own heart and know what it’s telling you. I think that the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet accepted herself. She knew herself. Not just her shortcomings. Of course not. She must of known the good insider of her, too. But she knew. She knew herself. And when we know ourselves, and accept all parts of ourselves, within the cradle of Gods love (or the universe, or Shiva, or Zoroaster, or science, or whomever you believe a higher power to be…) we are able to navigate our lives in freedom, in grace and in love.
So here’s to letting the knowing make us more free. Let’s love much because we are free from much.
Happy Saturday, y’all.
With lots of love,
P.S. I want to be clear that knowing ourselves and growing intuition and wisdom doesn’t just include knowing our shortcomings. I think we must attempt to know all of the things that life brings to us, pain and pleasure, and everything in between. There’s wisdom and freedom to be found in all of the things ❤