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Thursday, April 5, 2007

No greater love...

I stood at the kitchen sink moving one dish at a time from the soapy dishwater to the running water to the towel on my counter. Tears began to fill my eyes as I peered out the back door at my two young daughters (I only had two children at the time) playing on the Little Tike toys in our backyard. “Guilty!” cried the thoughts that ran through my head. Like the woman in John chapter 8, I sensed an overwhelming amount of worthlessness and shame as I began to take up stones in my own mind of what I knew I deserved. The harsh words that I had spoken to my husband that morning only forced the tears to stream heavily down my face.

As I stood there broken and empty wishing someone would throw a blanket or cloak over my body to hide my shame, I thought of how she too must have wished, “if only I could run and hide”. I was not standing before a crowd, but my own heart was condemning me and screaming the word, “Guilty!” A sharp stab of pain cut to the core of who I was and I could no longer see the dishes before me through the layers of tears that filled my eyes.

My legs became weak and I soon found myself on the floor of my living room weeping. I no longer wanted to live with the regret of unfulfilled expectations I had placed on myself. I no longer wanted to walk around with the anger I had towards past mistakes and choices I had made. I no longer wanted to throw the heap of stones I carried against myself at the one person God had brought into my life to love and cherish.

My thoughts quietly went to the woman heaped over on the ground as the crowd accused her and pointed out to everyone her guilt. What was she thinking as Jesus spoke to the crowd with a voice sure and steady? He drew a line in the dirt for her. My thoughts quickly went to, “He died on a cross for me”. Jesus spoke the words, “…Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her." There was silence. A long silence. Now their heads were bowed. Thud. A hard rock hits the ground. Thud. Another, then another. Again, I turned my thoughts to, “He died a painful death for me, washing every difficult place, every decision I had made, all of my sorrows and pain completely away with his own blood”. One by one her accusers walked away. "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:2

She was left alone with Jesus. I stood to my feet as the afternoon sun peered through the windows of my living room. I heard the same words Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?" She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said, "Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more." (John 8:10-11)

It no longer mattered how I got to this place. The truth was I was there and my sin and shame no different than the woman dragged from her bedroom. But just as the woman, I was to walk in obedience and “sin no more”. It began with asking my husband to forgive me (which at this point I need to chuckle as I think of all the times over the past almost 21 years I have said those five words, “will you please forgive me”). The next thing was I knew that it would only be through the washing by the word of God daily that my life and thoughts would continue to be transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit. I also held on to the promise that "as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us." Psalm 103:12

There is no greater love than what He demonstrated on the cross, “that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8

In Him...Chris

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14 Comments:

Blogger Denise said...

How very precious our Saviour is to love us, and forgive us, instead of condemning us. Thanks for sharing this beautiful truth.

April 5, 2007 at 12:23 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Chris,

I am writing though tears. You have no idea how much I needed this word from the Lord today--it is as if He laid this on your heart just for me! One of my favorite encounters with Christ in Scripture-a picture of His forgiveness and love for me, as well as a picture of how I should forgive and love others. I am challenged to "go and sin no more."

Blessings my friend,
Kelly

April 5, 2007 at 8:37 AM  
Anonymous Lynn Donovan said...

Chris,

Absolutely stunning! I too am that woman. I have been washed in the word and the blood of my Redeemer. Thank you so much for sharing from deep within your heart. Beautiful!

April 5, 2007 at 9:22 AM  
Blogger Susanne said...

Chris, how my heart relates to this post from beginning to end. What would I do without God's forgiveness in my life.

This was beautifully written, Chris.

April 5, 2007 at 10:09 AM  
Blogger janiswrites said...

This post so touched me. Thank you for allowing God to use you! Blessings!

April 5, 2007 at 11:42 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

I too have stood over the sink many times, crying, thinking, and praying. Thank you for sharing this Chris. "Go and sin no more." How powerful.

April 5, 2007 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Darlene said...

Chris, that was so well put. I'm sure that you've touched the hearts of many women today--me included.

April 5, 2007 at 12:57 PM  
Blogger Stacey said...

Chris, your words are weighing heavy on my heart today--it's an easy thing to put aside for me, my time with my Bible, with the words that I also know will transform me day by day. Without consciously reading Scripture, I find I'm much more apt to slip back into darkness. Thanks for such a poignant look into your experience.

April 5, 2007 at 2:11 PM  
Blogger Terri @ In His Hands said...

Chris, what a powerful post! His love and forgiveness overwhelms me every single day.

April 5, 2007 at 2:28 PM  
Blogger The Preacher's Wife said...

"It no longer mattered how I got to this place."

We all have arrived at shame at some point or other on various roads but God can redeem it no matter the path we've traveled to get there.

I am reminded of Isaiah 61:7 "Instead of their shame, my people will receive a double portion"...Praise the Lord, the inheritance of the first born! You've reminded me today to remember my position in the family...

Well done!

April 5, 2007 at 5:37 PM  
Blogger Elise said...

I hear it so often, too - Guilty! It is crushing.
Thank you for this beautiful post, the picture you painted, the joy you reminded us of! I am heartened this evening!

April 5, 2007 at 9:59 PM  
Blogger eph2810 said...

Sometimes I too wonder how I got to the place (in His arms)...I just know that He never gave up on me and pursued me until I could not longer hide from Him...

What a beautiful post. Thank you so much for sharing, Chris.

Blessings to you and yours.

April 5, 2007 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

This was so powerfully written. Perhaps powerfully received because I've been there. Thanks for the encouragement.

April 6, 2007 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

I thank God that this forgiveness is available to us each and every time we seek it. Shame is the enemy's domain, we are entitled to strip ourselves of it as often as we come to the Savior in repentance.

Wonderful post, Chris.

April 6, 2007 at 7:25 PM  

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