I want you to think about this story again. Even if you have heard the story before. But imagine, for a moment, in modern day settings, that you are invited to an upscale dinner party. It’s the kind where no one would dream of using a spork. There’s 3 forks, 2 spoons, a knife and some of those after-dinner mints that nobody eats unless you are at one of these parties.
You’ve had the formal invite on your fridge for weeks. You meticulously plan out what you will wear. You take extra time to iron your clothes and wear the special perfume or cologne. Maybe you even Googled dinner party manners, just to be sure.
You arrive and everyone is decked out. Waiters are in tuxes and everyone is being careful not to snort when a joke is told. And the guest of honor? Everyone is watching him, even when they are part of another conversation. You can see the host making sure all the details are perfect.
That’s when it happens. You stare in shock as a prostitute, dressed quite like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman before she gets to go shopping, enters the room. Despite not wanting to draw attention to herself, her thigh high boots echo across the floor with every step. Her attire makes it difficult to move, but all of the sudden you see her at the feet of the guest of honor. She’s weeping openly and crying thank you, over and over again.
You look around and all the other guests are just sitting there, shocked, not knowing what to do. So they just sit there, thinking, ‘Well, this is awkward’.
The irony here is that the guest of honor has not done any more for this prostitute than he did for you. We don’t celebrate forgiveness the way we should. Our church settings are much like a formal dinner, where we intend to thank the guest of honor with a dignified thank you, spoken while looking into his eyes. Perhaps we will attempt to make a sizable donation to his cause.
When we are willing to become a bigger fool than ever before, when we decide the stares and the whispers don't matter, when we come to the conclusion that the Giver must be thanked properly, that is when we are celebrating forgiveness the way it should be celebrated.
Are you celebrating properly?