1 John 1:9

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

There’s a pretty common story in the Bible about a woman who gets caught in the middle of her sin and is brought to Jesus by the religious leaders. Now, Jesus knew that He was being tested, but His response is so incredible. Back in those days, adultery was a sin that was punishable by death. Knowing this, Jesus responded in such a way that He would uphold the law, but also show the power of His grace.

“Let any one of you who is without sin throw the first stone,” Jesus said to the crowds of people anticipating the punishment of this woman.

As they all faced the reality of their own sin, they knew there was nothing they could do to condemn her because they too had messed up in some way. Some might have left because of fear that their own sin would be found out, some because they were repentant, and some because they realized there was nothing to see there. Whatever the reason, they left. There was now no one but Jesus and this woman left standing there.

I can only imagine the embarrassment and shame that flooded this woman’s mind while a sense of relief enters her heart. I can only imagine how she must have felt as she stood before the only man that had the right to punish her for her sins. After hearing this story more times than I could count, the Holy Spirit brought my attention to one incredible detail that changed how I engage with this story.

Not even the woman had the right to throw the first stone.

So often, we have the hardest time forgiving ourselves or accepting forgiveness for our sins and poor choices that we make. However, according to this interaction with Jesus, we don’t have the right to throw the first stone at ourselves. Far too often we walk around holding on to chains that God has already broken through His forgiveness and grace. Jesus set the woman free so she could be free, not so she could stand there embarrassed and full of shame.

“Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

There is nothing you’ve done that is outside of God’s ability to forgive and redeem. So instead of beating yourself up, run to the One who wants to set you free so you can leave your sin behind you.

QUESTION 1. What choices do you have a hard time forgiving yourself for making?
QUESTION 2. What is holding you back from stepping into the freedom that Christ offers you from sin?
CHALLENGE: Spend some time confessing your sins to God and to someone you trust. Then let go of those chains and keep moving forward, rejoicing in God’s power to set you free!
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