Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Go and sin no more

Good morning. This is a devotional for single adults from Parenting Solo, but the message also applies to single adults without children who may one day marry a single parent and be a step-parent. Feel Free to forward it to a friend.

Scripture: John 8:3-5 (The Message) The religion scholars and Pharisees led in a woman who had been caught in an act of adultery. They stood her in plain sight of everyone and said, “Teacher, this woman was caught red-handed in the act of adultery. Moses, in the Law, gives orders to stone such persons. What do you say?” They were trying to trap him into saying something incriminating so they could bring charges against him.

We are always quick to point out the flaws of others, to judge, to condemn. We gossip, quietly, in the corridors of our churches. When one person throws out an accusation, another comes out of the crowd, and perhaps another. Word travels fast among God’s people. Why is that? It’s as if when we bring out the sins of others, we feel better about our own weaknesses. “Hey, someone else has bigger sins than mine!”

The Pharisees are trying to trap Jesus, so they bring a woman caught in the act of adultery before him. Mind you, they have not brought the guilty man before him. The woman’s partner in sin also would have been eligible for the punishment of stoning, yet he is nowhere to be found. The Pharisees think they have Jesus cornered. They are hoping he will tell them to release her, so they can catch him in a heretical act. As usual, Jesus outsmarts them by telling them, “Sure, stone her. But the guy who is without sin should throw the first stone.” One by one, they quietly walk away, knowing that their sins are just as large, if not larger. I picture them mumbling as they walk away.

Jesus didn’t want a dead adulteress on his hands; he wanted a woman with a changed heart. Imagine being this woman. She thinks her time is up. The lump in her throat must have been the size of a golf ball, and she could hardly breathe. Had she been asked to speak out on her own behalf, would she have lied? Or would she have blamed the man, or would she have come up with an excuse why her sin was OK? Maybe she was just trying to feed her family, and she had no other job skills. We will never know, because Jesus absolved her of her sin. Imagine how she must have felt as her accusers walked away.

Then Jesus asks her if any of her accusers are still around. They have all gone, she tells him. Then he says something remarkable. Absolving her of her sin is not the key issue. That alone would make her feel good for a day or two. The key is telling her “Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.” (vs. 11). The forgiveness of sins is not what changes lives, though it often sets a person free to change her life. Stopping the sin – whether it be premarital sex, pornography, spending money you don’t have, an anger issue, a filthy mouth, or just a hard heart toward others – continuing the sin leads to death. Jesus offered her a way out of her troubles by first forgiving her, then setting her free by reminding her to leave her life of sin behind her.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, help us to search our hearts and find that secret sin and put it out in the open. Help us to put our life of sin behind us. “Help us to go and sin no more.” Amen

Doug Mead
Parenting Solo

Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Vol. 3, No. 162

This week’s reading plan can be found at http:/www.oneyearbibleonline.com/november.asp?version=51

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