March 8

TODAY IS…

an ideal day to “Go and sin no more”.

“She said, ‘No man, Lord.’ And Jesus said unto her, ‘Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.’”  John 8:11 KJV

The gift of forgiveness is not a license to do whatever we wish.

It is an act of love for which we should be grateful and it should have an impact upon us that creates change within us. As long as we are of this earth, we can never be perfect, but our conscious goal each day should be to “sin no more.”

When the woman who had been caught in an act of adultery was brought to Jesus in the temple, He knew that the religious teachers were trying to trap Him. When He agreed that according to the Law of Moses she should be stoned, He said simply, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone.” (John 8:7b NLT).

When He looked around and discovered that all her accusers had slipped away, Jesus told the woman to go. He did not condemn her, but He did not condone her sin. He forgave her and sent her on her way with a clear admonition to sin no more.

It is important that we all come to terms with this admonition. Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, God gave us the gift of forgiveness and it certainly must be God’s intention that we ask for forgiveness when we have allowed ourselves to succumb to the temptations that surround us in our daily lives. Once we have asked for forgiveness, we must ask the Lord to provide us with the strength to “sin no more.”

We must endeavor to seek a change within our hearts that will strengthen our love for God, for ourselves and for those around us and will ultimately cause us to ask God for strength to resist a particular temptation before the need arises to ask for forgiveness.

Being sin-free just may be beyond our human reach, but there is a saying that goes, “If you aim for the stars, you just might hit the moon.”

So set your sights on a sin-free life. If you live to “sin no more,” God will certainly not be disappointed with the result.

*******

Taken from “TODAY IS….A Gift From God”, (C) 2013 Tony Casson

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AUTHOR’S ADDENDUM:

Most of us are familiar with the expression, “Give until it hurts.”

The subject of forgiveness has been at the forefront of my mind this past week as I (and others around me) have had to deal with some heartbreaking and difficult issues in the workplace. I have prayed (alone and with the others) and read applicable scripture and I have developed a different version of the aforementioned expression that applies to us when we are wronged (or feel that we have been wronged):

“Forgive until it stops hurting”

It wasn’t really clear to me until a couple of days ago (even though I have addressed it in these daily devotions) that the forgiveness an individual receives when they ask God for it, is different from the forgiveness we give to each other.I knew this, of course, but I didn’t quite ‘get it,’ if you know what I mean.

God’s forgiveness is complete, of course. When we ask for His forgiveness, He graciously and lovingly provides it, and then…..He forgets whatever it is He is forgiving.

“I, I am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”  Isaiah 43:25  ESV

Our forgiveness of transgressions against us is different. While it demonstrates our Christian love to the transgressor, the forgiveness we extend to another is intended to help us lay down our hurt at the foot of the Cross. When we truly forgive another individual’s transgression against us, we are releasing the pain it caused us while demonstrating our faith to that person.

Anyone who has spent time in the Word is familiar with the more well-known versus relating to our forgiveness of others. Jesus was quite clear on how many times we are to forgive those who sin against us.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?” Jesus answered, “I tell you, not just seven times, but seventy-seven times!”  Matthew 18:21-22  NIV

And, of course, He was also quite clear what would happen (or not happen) if we did not forgive others.

“But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.Matthew 6:15   NIV

What if the sin is one that involves a loss of trust? Knowing that God has forgiven them (provided they have asked for it, of course) and forgiving them ourselves does not mean that we must instantly restore trust. Jesus demonstrated that it is acceptable to not trust someone.

“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all people. He did not need any testimony about mankind, for he knew what was in each person.”   John 2:24-25  NIV

So, we forgive others to lay our burden in the Lord’s capable hands as well as to ensure that we receive God’s forgiveness when we need it (and we will all need it at some point!) And then we pray for those who sin against us, that they will ask God for His forgiveness, knowing they will receive it, and knowing, too, that if there is any judgement due relating to the sin requiring forgiveness, God will deliver it.

And how will we know when we have truly forgiven someone?

When the hurting stops.

Until then, forgive, forgive, and forgive some more. Seven times seventy times, if that’s what it takes. Just

“Forgive until it stops hurting”

 

 

 

About Tony Casson

" For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
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