I was dealing with some personal issues this morning. Periodically, pains from my past haunt my memories and I have to deal with them. While doing this, I was also thinking about how different people follow God differently. The common phrase is, "Everyone is at a different level." While that may be true I was wondering if there was more.

I got to thinking about different people in my life and how they respond to God. One person I know is hooked into a denominational theology that they refuse to break free of. At one point in our conversations they made it known they did not do anything extremely bad in their past. Another person I know studies hard and there's some things they abide by but others they fight against. I know this person pretty well and they love to know how things work. They also did not do anything extremely terrible in their past. I have a friend who studies hard and seems to try and follow what they know to be true though the system fights against them. They do deal with issues from their past. Another person I went to church with follows the Bible by the letter but talking to him is like talking to a pharisee. They were raised on the Bible and they didn't do anything wrong in the past. They follow the letter for letters sake but I can't tell if there's a relationship there. And there's me, I screwed up royally in the past, hurting people and hurting my wife. I suffer from periodic bouts of low level depression during certain times. I love to study hard, find hidden truths in Scripture, and try to follow what I find. I'm often viewed as legalistic or taking things too seriously, not understanding what I'm studying.

Is each one of these people at a different level of understanding or following? I can't count that out but I also can't help but see a pattern. It appears that those who have no guilt from their past tend to not follow as hard as those who do; and most don't study as hard. Out of the people I know, those who suffer from things they've done study and follow Scripture hard while those who don't hold guilt tend to not study as hard and make excuses to not follow what they read as hard.

I was dealing with my past this morning and thinking about these differences and the passage about the woman who bathed Y'shua's feet in fragrance came to my mind.

And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, 38 and stood at His feet behind Him weeping; and she began to wash His feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head; and she kissed His feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he spoke to himself, saying, "This Man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what manner of woman this is who is touching Him, for she is a sinner." Luke 7:37-39

Luke could have easily told this story about a harlot who repented, turned, and followed Y'shua. He could have told the story and said she broke the bottle of perfume that she used for her line of work. Instead, Luke tells this story of how the woman not only repented but she poured out her bottle used for the sins she committed onto the Saviors feet and bathed Him in the expensive perfume and dried His feet with her hair. Later, he records Messiah Y'shua saying,

"…her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little." Luke 7:47

So, I'm wondering if the main why some who follow after God hard is because of the guilt they have, the pain they deal with because of their past, and the ones who don't follow as hard is because they don't truly see the value because they were not that bad or feel they were not that bad.

This is not to condemn anyone or to make me feel better but more of an understanding for all of us. If I see someone who does not follow like me, maybe it's because they were never as wicked as I once was. If you see someone who follows hard then understand they deal heavily with their past and, likely, don't feel they deserve the grace given by God.