Dear Central Members and Friends,
I pray your week is going extremely well. But, if you are frustrated for some reason, I urge you to thank God for His marvelous grace in the midst of your circumstances. You may be facing a challenging issue right now. But remember that God has a supreme plan for your life and nothing can hinder that plan, if you obey His will for your life!
There are times when our intentions are to do what is right, but we allow anger, jealousy and other emotions to govern our behavior. This is what happened with the Pharisees (Please read John chapter 8:1-12). The Pharisees were so angry and frustrated with Jesus that they tried to ensnare Him in His words and find a justifiable reason to get rid of Him. The sad tragedy is the lengths they were willing to go to prove their point and get their desired outcome. They were willing to stone a woman, who had been caught in the act of adultery to her death! However, their issue was not with the woman for breaking the law. That was a smokescreen. Their real issue was with Jesus and their hatred for Him motivated them to use the woman as a sacrificial lamb.
You see, the Jewish law required that a person who committed adultery to be stoned to death. However, the Roman law would not permit someone to be stoned to death for such an act. So, if Jesus had said, “Stone her,” they would have accused him of being in violation of the Roman law. If He had said that she shouldn’t be stoned, they would have accused Him of violating the Jewish law, which Moses gave.
Jesus knew their real motives were to trap him, and in this case He made a profound, but simple statement: “Those of you who are without sin, cast the first stone.” They were all convicted by His statement and dropped their stones. From the eldest to the youngest, the crowd departed and the woman was left alone with Jesus. Jesus was the only person qualified to judge and punish her. Yet, despite the fact that she was in violation of Moses’ law, Jesus told her that He didn’t condemn her and to go and sin no more.
Jesus extends the same love, mercy and grace to us every day! All of us have sinned. But, thank God, forgiveness is just a prayer away (Please read 1 John 1:9)! By God’s grace, we are forgiven, and, if we ask Him, He will give us the grace we need to forgive others of even the most hurtful offenses.
Forgiveness is not optional for followers of Christ. It is an act of obedience that is necessary for our freedom and wellbeing. Our failure to practice forgiveness causes physical, mental, emotional and spiritual problems and hinders our ability to have healthy relationships.
The next time you are frustrated about something or frustrated with someone, pause and reflect on the love, grace and mercy that the Lord has extended to you, despite your shortfalls. Consider how Jesus modeled grace as referenced in John chapter 8. Just as it’s important for us to nurture our relationships with family and friends, it’s vital that we spend quality time with God. Doing so helps us overcome our frustrations and allows us to be led by the Lord instead of our emotions.
I pray that you will benefit from the slides and observations outlined in the slides on my Sermons page.
Grace & Shalom!