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Is Love and Acceptance Enough?

“You don’t drown by falling in the water. You drown by staying there.”-Unknown

I sat holding back the tears while emotions just washed over me, listening intently to a young women pour out her heart.

With her head hung low she could barely utter the words, afraid that judgement would come. Afraid that her sin in some way would  disqualify her as a Christian.  Shame and condemnation covered her like a heavy haze on a summer night.

The words finally came, “I messed up again…only once though…maybe twice.”

As that last word fell out of her mouth she dropped her head and began to cry. I knew the only way to pierce through such shame and condemnation is love and acceptance.

“It’s ok, It’s ok,” I said as tears began to well up in my eyes, gripped with mixed emotions ;Angry because the enemy had stolen from her, sad because so many women function on a daily basis with such shame and condemnation, unable to move forward in their relationship with the Lord or others. Yet, at the same time I felt an over whelming sense of the love of the Father.

God sees the melody within our hearts and how it sings even in our pain. He wants more than ever to see us walk in freedom. He was so desperate for this young woman to hear the sound of freedom that He began to untangle her from shame in those moments we had together.

There is no denying it, we all sin, we all battle the natural flesh, and the onslaughts of the enemy. Yet we all have a choice to either accept that His mercies are new every morning and move forward, or allow our shame to keep us where we are. There are times when God will come up close and press on an area in our lives that needs to be changed. Paul wrote, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldy sorrow brings death.” 2 Corinthians 7:10  

Shame, however, attacks our identity, the very person we are. The job of shame is to keep us from the presence of God and all he has planned for us to become. It speaks lies striking the very heart of your identity in Christ.

The story of the woman brought before Jesus  caught in adultery has brought me such freedom in the area of identity and acceptance. Many of us know the story well. The religious leaders caught her in the act of sin. They bring her before Jesus quoting the law, like He didn’t know it.

“Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such things should be stoned.”

Jesus ignores them. According to the law she should be stoned, killed.

Did Jesus hold to the law? Did the man without sin hold the law over her head and condemn her of sin?

No!

I may have chosen the right words to say to this woman, but there have been many times I have thrown the first stone. I am embarrassed to say I have held onto the law rather than holding onto their hands as they slip. I have been the very person that has made them feel condemned and ashamed. I am grieved to think that I have caused such pain in someone else’s life and held them back from the Father’s love.

Jesus says those without sin cast the first stone. Those who have it all together, you stone her, you throw the first stone. Go ahead.

Jesus then does the unthinkable. He stoops down and writes something in the dirt. What he writes in the dirt is a mystery, though many theologians have their ideas. Some say he wrote the names of the accusers and others say He may have written the accusers’ sin. I wonder, as I heard a pastor once preach, if He stooped down just to be able to look in her eyes to say, “It’s ok, my daughter.” Whatever He wrote, the real beauty of the story is that he never condemns us, which means we don’t need to live condemned or cause others to feel condemned.

I believe she encountered something she had never experienced before…a love encounter. She had never felt such love and acceptance. Jesus saw past her sin to the woman He had made. He saw to her original image, the image He created in the garden. He saw His own image and likeness.

When we are born-again we no longer have the image of sin, we are dead to sin and alive in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:11

She never asked for forgiveness or did anything to rid herself of her own sin. Many times we require people to show us they will change before we offer forgiveness. Even in our darkest sin Jesus will never condemn, never shame us. We can fully trust in His acceptance of us, and have confidence, no matter what happens He loves us.

This unconditional love He has for us in the mist of even the worst sin is the very power that makes sin undesirable!

God will never give up on us, no matter how many times we fall. He never chooses to say, “You know what this person just went to far. Their sin is just too much.”

He never gives up on us, no matter what we do! This very fact brings us freedom.

The lie Jesus exposes here in this story is this:  that He sees us as sin, and we will always struggle with the same sin, we are just human.

Not true.

God came as a man in Jesus to reveal that are design was not prone to  sin. The truth is that we were made righteous. That’s who we are. That’s our original design and when we become born again He stamps us with this truth…”Righteous”

This is why Jesus says to her, “Neither do I condemn you. Go from now on do not sin anymore.” John 8:11

He saw her in that moment as her original design. Holy, perfect, and righteous.

As long as we get up we win. The minute we stay in our guilt the enemy wins.

God is more concerned that you get up and reach for Him, even in your sin.

Love and acceptance creates a desire for us to obey and wills us into obedience. Sin doesn’t even have a chance when we realize His love is..“Never Stopping, Never Giving up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever.”The Jesus Storybook Bible

 

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