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Girlfriends in God - July 31, 2007

  • 2007 Jul 31
  • COMMENTS

 

July 31, 2007

What’s In Your Trash Basket?

Gwen Smith

 

 

Today’s truth
“Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" (John 8:10 NIV).

 

Friend to Friend

A precious little four-year old girl was overheard reciting the Lord’s Prayer, “…and forgive us our trash baskets, as we forgive those who passed trash against us.” When I first heard that story, I giggled at the sweetness and innocence of this child’s obvious misquote. My mind went on a journey to recall some of the funny things that my three children had said in their pre-school years. Then my mind went to another place…to a conversation that I had had recently with a girlfriend. She is a Christian…a great woman of faith. But even as a secure child of our merciful, loving God, she struggles deeply with letting go of her past mistakes. And though she has “emptied her trash basket” of sin before the LORD in sincere repentance, she has not emptied the trash basket of condemnation in her own mind.

 

In the New Testament book of John chapter 8, we read of a woman caught in the act of adultery, who was brought before Jesus by the legalistic teachers of the law and the Pharisees. They publicly humiliated her, and stood her before the people saying to Jesus, "…Teacher, this woman was caught in the act of adultery. In the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. Now what do you say?" (John 8:4-5).

 

Jesus bent down and wrote on the ground with his finger as they continued to question him regarding the matter. Finally, He stood and told them that only someone who has not sinned should throw the first stone. The crowd eventually thinned to nothing. When they were the only ones remaining:

 

“Jesus straightened up and 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"
(John 8:10-12).

 

The woman in this story was guilty when she was brought to face Jesus, but as she left His presence, her guilt was forgiven. Her trash basket was empty. Her experience teaches us a valuable lesson about judging others. But what lesson does it teach us about judging ourselves?

 

My girlfriend that I spoke of earlier carried around a trash basket that was filled with junk that she threw in herself. Sure, it was accompanied by trash from other people to, but the lingering condemnation came from memories of decisions she had made, things she had done, places she had been, and brokenness she has experienced because of her own choices. In her heart, she could accept the forgiveness of Jesus, but could not bear to forgive herself.

 

Friend, I’ve been that woman! I know that woman. I know that self-loathing. I’ve lived it. Personally, it wasn’t until I allowed the stubborn, strong, and, unconditional love of Jesus to pry my fingers off the lid of my trash basket, emptying the condemning contents that I experienced true freedom and complete forgiveness. Is there something that you have not been able to forgive yourself for?

 

A heart that is made right in the sight of the LORD is a heart that is worthy of forgiveness. Not worthy in itself, but worthy in Christ Jesus. He said a few verses later in chapters 8 and 10:

“So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36).

 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10).

 

Are you experiencing freedom and fullness of life? Those verses are the spoken words of the God-man Himself! My friend, stop beating yourself up for sins of your past. Stop allowing guilt to chain you to unproductive living. Jesus humbled Himself in humanity, endured an excruciating death, and then defied the grave in His resurrection, so that you could be restored to a place of complete healing. Be free today! Forgive yourself. Take your hand off the lid and allow the LORD to empty your trash basket once and for all. Embrace the freedom that Jesus intends for you to live in.

 

Let’s Pray

Holy Father, Your mercy defies logic in my mind. I don’t deserve it, and I just don’t understand how You could possibly forgive me for all that I have done. Please take my trash basket and empty it. Forgive me today and help me to forgive myself, and others, so I can live freely in Your amazing grace.

 

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

 

Now it’s Your Turn

Recite, write, and memorize these verses: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2)

 

Prayerfully forward this email to a friend (or friends) who might need to read this message.

 

Journal what God is teaching you. Praise Him for revealing truth to your heart and for His matchless grace.

 

More from the girls

Today’s devotion is a core message of faith. I know that many of you might have had to read it through tear-filled eyes. I pray that you will allow God to replace your tears of pain with tears of joy. There’s a song I would love for you to hear right now (make sure your volume is turned up)…click here to hear a song that I co-wrote called “Broken Into Beautiful”.

 

Gwen’s song, “Broken into Beautiful” can be found on her BECAUSE CD. Grab one today…or better yet; get one for you and one to share with a girlfriend!

 

 

Girlfriends in God

P.O. Box 725

Matthews, NC 28106

www.girlfriendsingod.com

 

 

 

 

Click here to learn more about hosting a Girlfriends in God conference in your area.

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