January 19, 2015
Let’s Start Over
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness(1 John 1:9).
Friend to Friend
Laura lived in a small town with parents who were morally sound and family oriented. She went to church from her earliest remembrance and was baptized when she was twelve-years-old. In high school, she began dating Barry. After Laura went off to college, both of Barry’s parents died. He was lonely and missed the close-knit family he had once enjoyed.
After Laura’s first year of college, Barry began talking marriage. He had not gone to college and wanted her to come home and be his wife. Laura was torn, but made the decision to marry Barry and continue working toward her degree.
Laura and I held hands and prayed together before she walked down the aisle. It was a beautiful day as I stood with her and the two were united as man and wife. But after the wedding comes the marriage—something that neither the nineteen-year-old Laura nor Barry was prepared to face.
After five years, Laura was bored with the marriage, restless in her job, and disappointed in her husband. While working in a medical office, Bob, a salesman for an international medical supply company took on their account. Bob was older and lived what seemed like an exciting lifestyle. It started as friendly bantering, which progressed to enticing flirtation. Laura found herself looking forward to Thursdays—the day the rep made his weekly visits.
A touch here, a lunch there, and soon an affair ensued. Laura packed her bags, left her marriage, quit her job, and moved on to greener pastures.
But the greener pastures weren’t so green. Thorns infested the relationship. Bob wasn’t interested in a long-term relationship. Laura was just a young plaything he toyed with on weekends.
What promised to be an exciting life away from small town Americana, away from a mundane, monotonous marriage, turned into a deep, dark pit of regret and remorse. Laura discovered Bob wasn’t anything special. He was just someone different. And she was his flavor of the month.
After her divorce was final, Laura was left all alone in a strange town. What have I done? she cried.
Laura’s husband remarried and put the broken pieces of his life back together. Laura, on the other hand, was just broken.
Laura felt like the woman caught in adultery who stood before Jesus. She felt the stares of her accusers and recoiled at the rocks that would surely fly. In her own mind, she stood naked and ashamed before her community, her childhood church body, and her lifelong friends. But more importantly, she stood in shame before Jesus.
When she called, I welcomed her in my arms and brought her to my hometown to heal. My husband and I found her a job, helped her get her finances in order, and directed her to a great Bible-based church. That’s what it looked like on the outside, but here’s what really happened.
“I didn’t think God would forgive me,” she began. “I hurt my family, my husband, and my witness. What would God want with someone like me?”
“Laura,” I began, “we are all sinners. We are all saved by grace. None of us deserve it. That’s what makes grace, grace. You made a terrible mistake. But so did the woman who the Pharisees brought to Jesus who had been caught in adultery. What did Jesus do with that woman? What did he say?”
“He told her to go and sin no more.”
“Exactly. He told her to leave her life of sin. That doesn’t mean that she never sinned again. But we can safely believe that she didn’t make that mistake again. That is what Jesus will do for you. That is what he does for all of us.”
Dear God, thank You for being a God who allows U-turns. Not only do You forgive me of my sin, You allow me to start anew.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
God promises: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Another translation uses the words “cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NASB). I love the picture of God washing away all our sins, erasing the list of offenses, throwing our sins into the deepest of seas. All gone.
Laura did begin again. She repented of her sin, immersed herself in Bible study and ministry, and began a new life totally committed to the One who forgave her and set her free from condemnation. And that my friend, is what Jesus does for each and every one of us who come to him with a repentant heart ready to start anew. Today Laura serves as a missionary in eastern Europe.
Are you allowing any shame to shackle you?
Here’s your challenge for today: memorize 2 Corinthians 5:17. “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation: the old has gone, the new has come!”
If you’ll take the challenge, click over to my Facebook page and say, “I’m in!”
More from the Girlfriends
Today’s devotion was taken from my book, What God Really Thinks about Women: Finding Your Significance through the Women Jesus Encountered.
If you are struggling to let go of past mistakes and failures and receiving God’s forgiveness, my book, Your Scars are Beautiful to God: Finding Peace and Purpose in the Hurts of Your Past will show you how.
Click here to find out more about
how to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
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