Posts Tagged John 8: 7

Forgive & Forget

Jeremiah 31: 34

I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.

The entire topic about forgiveness fills volumes. There is God forgiving us and us forgiving others. However, there is another aspect of this topic that is interesting. Let’s call it forgive and forget. Is it truly forgiveness if we retain the memory of the transgression? Do we forgive someone only to later resurrect that offense in times of anger or self-victimization?

God not only forgives our sins but He puts them behind Him, literally. Isaiah 38: 17 says that he casts our sins behind His back. They are behind Him where He can no longer see them. He isn’t holding onto our sin, mistakes, misdeeds, errors or even plain stupidness. The God’s Word translation of today’s verse reads, “I will forgive their wickedness and I will no longer hold their sins against them.” To God, forgiveness means that He has erased it and put it out of His mind. Whew! That is what I call “Good News.”

Now with people, it can be a different thing. We like to retain the sin of others. “Forget my sin, Father, but I will never forget what that person did to me.” We even retain the sins of people who do not directly affect us. There is no better example of this than David. We are first introduced to David in 1st Samuel. He was a shepherd boy who the great prophet, Samuel, anointed to be king. After his calling and anointing, though, he returned to tending sheep, which is so often the case. The next big thing we hear of David is of him slaying the giant, Goliath. David eventually went on to live in the palace of King Saul and served him faithfully. He became a mighty warrior but in his madness, Saul chased him off. Eventually though, David does become the king of Israel. In fact, The Complete Book of Who’s Who in the Bible by Philip Comfort and Walter A. Elwell, says that he was Israel’s most important king. But the great king fell. He lusted after Bathsheba, contrived to have her husband killed, and then took her for himself. Later he repented, God forgave him and his life prospered. We wrote most of the Psalms and through the Psalms we get the most clear picture of a close relationship, a true loving connection between a person and God.

I am always amazed when out of all of the Psalms, 1st Samuel, 2nd Samuel, 1st Chronicles, and the slaying of Goliath the one thing people choose to bring up about David is that he sinned. Really? Jesus made it quite evident that we have all sinned when he said, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone” (John 8: 7). Paul just came right out and said it in Romans 3: 23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” But then Paul, knowing God and His forgiveness, went on to write, “being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus” (v. 24). In other words, although we have all sinned and as such fall short of the glory of God, God, by His grace, extends mercy and forgiveness to us as a free gift. We haven’t earned forgiveness. We don’t deserve it but that is what grace is, a free, undeserved gift. Yea!

Likewise, it was God’s grace that forgave David. Psalm 51 is a clear picture of a contrite and repentant heart. David knew that he sinned against God and even against himself but he also knew God’s loving-kindness better than any human that had walked the earth. He believed in the kindness of God and he repented. Do you know what God had to say about David? The bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13: 14). God’s opinion of David isn’t of David as a sinner but as a beloved child. He loved that, although David messed up, he sought God’s heart.

What does it say about us if our recollection of David is of his sin with Bathsheba? How many sins have we committed? In fact, Jesus told us not to judge (Matthew 7: 1) and yet we sit in judgment of David as if we are any better. That is sin. If God has forgiven David, why do we insist on holding on to his sin? If God remembers his sin no more, why do we post it on our bulletin boards? Is this an attempt to make us feel better about our sin and inadequacies? I am thankful God forgave David. I praise God that He has put David’s sin behind Him because I need that same grace. I want Yahweh to forget all the times that I have messed up too.

Jesus died for my sin and yours. The grace that was big enough to pardon David is more than able to cleanse us of our iniquity. The blood of Jesus is more potent than any sin or any sinner. Whoever puts themselves under the blood is cleansed, praise God, so we must ask ourselves what relationship we are to have with another person’s sin. Secondly, Father God chooses to forgive your sin (even your sin of judgment) and remember it no more. So, why should you retain the memory of it along with all of the accompanying emotions if God has put it behind him?

I encourage you to take your sin to the loving Father and lay it at His feet. Speak with Him with an open and contrite heart. When, however, you leave the throne room, leave that sin there along with the memory of it. Bury your sin and stop digging it up. Dad doesn’t want to be reminded of it. He has put it behind him. Now, can you?

Free from Judgment

Romans 2: 1

Therefore you are without excuse, every man of you who passes judgment, for in that you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.

First, I am not sending you this for the purpose of condemnation. It just struck me so hard and so loudly that I needed to write about it. If this is not for you, then just read it for the other people in your life that may need light in this area. However, having said that, I find that most of us have little pockets of judgment left in us. I wish I was clean of all judgment but if I said that you would know I was lying.  

The great Apostle Paul wrote this. I was first struck by how strongly he addressed his followers. It does not seem that he was in the least concerned with offending his followers. He did not even seem to consider how this counsel might affect his offerings. I could wish that all ministers had the courage to tell us what we need to hear but that is not an easy thing to do. You never want to offend people or hurt their feelings but at some level there is a time when the truth must be told. I believe Paul was more concerned about his flock’s eternal souls than their overly tender feelings.

Paul understood how large a stumbling block judgment really is. Jesus said if you judge you will be judged (Matthew 7: 1). Well, for my part, I do not want to be judged by Jesus. I want our beloved Father to look at me and see the blood of Jesus rather than my stupidity. I do not wish to enter into a theological debate about salvation and the blood but it seems clear to me that Paul picked up on the revelation of Jesus as it regards judgmental attitudes and behaviors and that those judgments we make have a detrimental effect on us rather than on the object of our judgment.

How far does this non-judgment go? In order to answer that please allow me to show you how the Father taught me about judgment. I knew someone involved in adultery. Now, of all the “sins” the sin of adultery is about as clear as any sin can be. It is black and white, no gray area at all. Well, I was struggling with loving the one involved in this sin and being supportive of their needs. What they were doing was just WRONG and they were confessing Christians. Where was I to stand? I wanted to stand with the Bible and on the side of right. Dad drew me up short on this though. He said it wasn’t my job to judge them. I didn’t think I was, frankly. The Bible judges them, the Word judges them. Their behaviors, quite honestly, were none of my business, as it turns out. Their actions were a private matter between them and God even as my own are between me and God and for no one else to judge. You don’t have to ratify actions or encourage actions that the Bible prohibits but it is not our job to judge other people’s souls. If the truth were to be told, we each have our hands full with our own missteps.

Since that situation Father has taught me a lot about judging others. Whether you think a thing is right or wrong is completely irrelevant. Isn’t that something? Even if the Bible says that a thing is a sin, it still is not our place to judge people as right or wrong, sinful or saints. None of us have been appointed as Lord High Judge. “For not even the Father judges anyone, but He has given all judgment to the Son” (John 5: 22). Even Jesus does not judge for he said, “I did not come to judge the world, but to save the world ” (Matthew 7: 1). If Jesus set aside judgment, why do we so revel in it? Consider the woman caught in adultery in the eighth chapter of John who the Pharisees brought before Jesus. He had the most brilliant response to them. They wanted her judged, condemned and punished. They knew, however, that Jesus went around preaching love and grace. They had him trapped, sure enough. You probably recall the story, Jesus challenged the accusers saying, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7). Well, that is the point isn’t it? Who among us is without sin? Let the one without sin judge others. When Jesus looked up, all of the woman’s accusers were gone. Why? They had the stain of guilt and sin on them. They were not qualified to judge anyone.

Isn’t it clever that these legalistic, holier than thou, Pharisees chose an adulterous situation to confront Jesus with? That was the very situation Father used to confront me. Jesus knew that our Father does not want us to engage in adultery. He knew every word of scripture. None the less, he did not judge the woman. Whatsmore, by his handling of the confrontation from the Pharisees, he prevented her being judged and stoned. Jesus, the sinless, Jesus the holy allowed a sinner to escape judgment. Howbeit that we, the sin stained, are so righteous that we would enforce judgment, condemnation and death on the accused?

Jesus did not agree with sin nor encourage it. So many times we think that unless we wave a red flag at someone else’s sin it is the same as encouraging sin but it is we who need the revelation. Then we will be able to help others. Jesus showed grace to the woman. He extended the Father’s love but he did not encourage sin. You will see in the closing verses of this story that Jesus said to the woman, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” When she confirmed that not one person condemned her he said, “Neither do I condemn you; go your way. From now on sin no more”  (v. 10 – 11).

Paul understood what Jesus taught when he was in the earth. Our judgments of other people do more damage to us than they do anyone else. Judgments are very like unforgiveness. They each deal out enormous damage but the damage is reflective. In other words, they hurt us. “And do not judge and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned” (Luke 6: 38). Surely Jesus understood the things of the Spirit. He is trying to reveal to us that we are our own worst enemies. Paul wrote that those who judge others condemn themselves. That is exactly what Jesus said.

I realize today’s devotional is long but it is important. We are condemning ourselves through our determinations about other people’s lives. So let us all do ourselves a favor. Free yourself from condemnation. Leave judgments of others to the Lord. It’s not your job. It’s not your business. Get free and save yourself.