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Archive for May, 2014

This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – and I am the worst of them all. – 1 Timothy 1:15

 
I may not be the worst, but I’m no saint! Although, sometimes my guilt and shame gets to me and I feel like the worst of sinners. I make mistakes on a daily basis and have enough issues to fill a house full of magazines, but thank you, God, I’m changing every day.
There are hundreds of examples in the Bible of how Christ treats sinners, but one BEAUTIFUL story stands out this morning, the woman tossed on the ground in front of Jesus, ready to be condemned to death for her sin.

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The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought in a woman caught in adultery. They made her stand before the group and said 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 8:3b-5

 
As they forced her to stand before a large group of holy men what must she have felt? (These are things that always run through my mind when I read the Bible.) Embarrassment over being “caught in the act”? Shame over what she had done to violate the marriage? Fear that she was about to die painfully? Disgrace over having brought dishonor to her loved ones and deep sorrow that she would never see them again? Repentence or Rebelliousness? Feelings of unworthiness for anything but death? Unforgiveness? Unloved – hated by those who shouted her sin for all to hear?

 
How awful it is to have your sin out there for everyone to see! To have people judging you and pointing fingers in anger, ready to condemn you to death. My heart is heavy for anyone who has ever been in a situation like this; it is a lonely place to be! You or I may not have the exact sin as this woman, but if your sin has ever been out in the open, you KNOW what it is like to go through this incredible pain. We may not be in fear for our lives as she was, but sometimes it might feel that way… like we can’t go on… the sense of lonesomeness… like no one understands… the hopelessness.

 
They were using this as a trap, in order to have a basis for accusing him. But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground. At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. — John 8:6b-9

 
The worst part of being brought before all of the holier-than-thou Pharisees was surely being used as a human trap on display before Jesus! How humiliating! There was probably not a person for miles of cities around who didn’t know of Jesus and how amazing this “Rabbi” was, who went around teaching the law with more authority than anyone had ever heard, working miracles of which no one had ever seen! Yet here she is, in front of the most famous, holy man of her time, covered in shame and wretchedness. I can imagine the sickening feeling in her gut over what HE must think of her. What would happen? But then HE DEFENDS HER! What???

 
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:10b-11

 
This is amazing grace! I know sometimes people like to point out that Jesus tells her to go and leave her life of sin, but that’s another story. Anyway, it’s not our job to follow up with people to make sure they leave a particular sin behind. Some people might always struggle with certain things, who are we to judge? Did Jesus follow her around after to make sure she behaved herself? I think she reacted to His unconditional love and forgiveness with a changed heart and a changed life, but who knows?

 
My point is this: I will never be the one to cast the first stone, the last stone, or any stone in between! I am not perfect, and am certainly not without sin!

 
I have a lot of regrets in my life, some of them from years ago, and some of them from yesterday. There are more times than I can count when I wish I could be like Marty McFly in Back to the Future and go back and change the past somehow. Unfortunately I can’t, none of us can. I CAN be grateful for forgiveness, and for Jesus, who “wrote in the sand” for me.

 

I won’t be pointing any fingers at anyone else, because I’m a rotten scoundrel myself! I definitely live under the constant scrutiny of others, subject to a lot of judgment, criticism, and sometimes the condemnation of people, but I know of One who doesn’t condemn me. Thank you, God!

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KidsIt’s been A LOOOONG time since posting a public blog. Truth is, ever since starting this outside job about a year and a half ago I’ve felt pretty overwhelmed and short on time. That’s NO EXCUSE.
A scripture today hit me between the eyes and I wanted to share…

 
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14

 
That was what I texted to my kids this morning as they went off to school, with these words for them to think on:

 
“Hey guys, I can’t even begin to imagine how life would be if we thought about others as much as we think about ourselves! We don’t even realize we are doing it, but all day long our world revolves around the self-focused thoughts taking place in our heads. What kind of impact do u think we could have if we spent even half that time thinking about what we could do for OTHERS?”

 
As I slowly punched in those words with my thumbs (not winning any cash prizes with my pathetic texting abilities), I did it knowing that I WAS GUILTY of this as much as, or more than, just about anyone!

 
I get so caught up in frustrations or pity parties or feeling overwhelmed or busyness or… the list goes on, that I become too self-focused to see what’s going on in others around me. How is that loving my neighbor?

 
When I looked at this scripture closely I realized something! A lot of times we are self deprecating, with a negative outlook about ourselves. We are so hard on ourselves, picking apart our flaws with every chance we get! If you ask many of us if we love ourselves, we would say, “No!”

 
In actuality we think about ourselves more often than anyone else and protect ourselves more than anyone else, even to the extent of building walls up or hardening our hearts against pain when we are afraid of being emotionally hurt. Isn’t this a subconscious love that we have for ourselves? One that surpasses any effort that is put forth for anyone else on the planet? Even when you fall in love with someone or have that first crush and spend every waking moment thinking of them, it all comes back to how they make YOU feel, which, of course, all comes back to YOU.

 
I only say all of that to circle back around to the scripture and those words I sent in the text to my kids this morning. Loving someone as much as “yourself” is a crazy concept! Can it be done? What if we really DID make an effort to think of others as much as we thought of ourselves?  What do you think?

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