Then Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are your accusers? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she answered. “Neither do I condemn you, Jesus declared. “Now” go and sin no more. John 8:10-11
When someone hurts me badly, seeing them can be a reminder of what they’ve done. The sin is attached to the person. Even after I forgive them, I can still remember it when I see them across the room. Did the woman caught in adultery still struggle with the crowd who dragged her to the temple to be stoned? I think not. She had experienced Jesus’ radical forgiveness up close.
I need to remember that when God forgives, he separates my sin from me. I no longer wear it when He looks at me. One of the words for ‘forgive’ is to ‘send away’. This is what Peter meant when he said, “He himself bore our sins in his own body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live to righteousness.” I Pet.2:24 God took that ‘thing’ for which I repented, took it off of me and put it on Jesus. Jesus died for it as if He was the One who committed it.
So why would I wallow in past failures? Why would I let my one huge mistake weigh down my spirit and cause me to walk with my head to the ground? Jesus took it from me and put it on Himself, forever. When He looks at me, He does not see the sin. He sees His own perfection. I am not defined, in heaven, by my past.
I echo David’s words to himself in Psalm 42. “Why are you so downcast, oh my soul?” Satan is the author of a self-punishing lifestyle. He takes every failure, magnifies it by a thousand, records it like a movie and plays it over and over again in my head. He rejoices when I am hard on myself. He encourages payback and self-hatred. He offers a heavy robe of guilt as a part of my wardrobe and I often wear it because it appears to fit me perfectly. Right color. Right size. Right length.
When I can’t hold my head up, I remember that I am not my sin! Christ wore my sin, once and for all, on a cross. Then He declared, “It is finished.” Sin, forever removed. So, who am I? A forgiven, justified, righteous, child of God. He is the lifter of my head to this new reality. I throw guilt into the depths of the sea.
Do I really understand justification yet, Lord? Write Romans on my heart, in every place. Amen