February 24, 2011
God's Love Changes Everything
Micca Monda Campbell
"Go now and leave your life of sin."
John 8:11b (NIV)
In the story of the adulteress woman found in John 8:1-11, we can see clearly that Christ's love is greater than sin.
It must have been an unruly scene until Jesus stepped into the situation. Caught in the very act by the Pharisees, the woman's fate hung in the balance. I imagine that the adulteress woman felt unbearable loneliness and fear as she lay naked in the streets at the mercy of those whose desire was to stone her to death.
Sin does that. It separates us from God, causing us to experience isolation and fear. This is a sure sign we need to search our souls and confess our sins so that we can have peace and enjoy Christ's sweet presence again.
On the other hand, it's not a sign that God's love is absent.
For years, I held on to my mixed bag of emotions blaming God and others for my troubles. I was alone, afraid, and angry, but not by my choice I reasoned. I was this way because others gave up on me, I insisted. And Christ—well, if He really cared then why didn't He free me from the pain that haunted me day and night?
Over time, I opened my eyes to the real problem. Instead of looking at myself, my eyes were always on someone else. When I finally did take a good long look at myself, I realized I was a child of God who had stomped my foot, crossed my arms, and turned my back on Him for not letting me have my way. Holding the Lord at arm's length only prolonged the healing of my wounds. In that honest moment with myself, I let go of my anger and fear and re-opened my heart to God.
Broken before the Lord, I asked for His forgiveness. I surrendered anew to His plan for my life. What was God's response? It was pure grace. I got up from my knees a new person. I was no longer afraid or angry—just filled with Christ's love and peace.
The adulteress woman also found indescribable love when she came face to face with her sin and her Savior. Publicly caught in the act of adultery, she must have felt shame and brokenness. But feeling broken is actually a good emotional place to be when we need to reach out for Christ's love and forgiveness.
All eyes were on Jesus as the Pharisees waited with rocks in hand to see if Christ would condemn and punish her. Jesus said, "Let any one of you that is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her" (vs. 7b). I picture the woman, hardly believing her ears, staring deep into the Savior's eyes. First with great terror, but then knowing by His gentle eyes that no matter what happened next, she could face it.
She must have felt relief when she heard the rocks drop to the ground and the scattering of feet. Then, "Jesus asked her, ‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?' ‘No one, sir,' she said. ‘Then neither do I condemn you,' Jesus declared. ‘Go now and leave your life of sin.'" (vs. 10-11)
Jesus gave this woman what every heart needs—love and forgiveness. Don't misunderstand. The woman was guilty and, according to the laws of the day, should have been put to death. However, instead of condemning her Jesus chose to save her.
He chose to save us all by dying on the cross as payment for our sins. Do you need forgiveness today? The Bible offers this promise: "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1John 1:9).
Just look at me. I'm living proof.
Dear Lord, I have felt so guilty. Today, as I look into Your eyes of love, I believe that You are reaching out and offering me forgiveness. I accept. Renew my spirit as I turn from my sin and run into the safety of Your embrace. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
An Untroubled Heart: Finding Faith that is Stronger than My Fears by Micca Campbell
Visit Micca's blog for ways to avoid temptation and sin
Confessions of an Adulterous Christian Woman: Lies that Got Me There, Truths that Brought Me Back by Lyndell Hetrick Holtz
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Turn from your sin, as Christ told the woman to do. And turn toward Christ. Find support to do so through church fellowship, Bible study, and daily prayer.
How does the truth that God wants to restore me instead of condemn me make me feel? Am I ready to confess my sin and start anew?
Romans 6:14, "For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace." (NIV)
© 2011 by Micca Campbell. All rights reserved.
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