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She answered, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “I also don’t judge you guilty. You may go now, but don’t sin anymore.” John 8:11 (NCV)

When Jesus stood before the woman caught in the act of adultery, he held in his hands the power to forgive or condemn. Not based on the law, for according to the law her guilt was established. Her condemnation rested in the fact that he was God.

Still, when he asked her who condemned her, the answer was “No one, sir”. Her accusers were gone, only Jesus remained. And in his eyes the woman didn’t see condemnation, she saw forgiveness. Imagine what a relief that must have been. One moment surrounded by her accusers with death imminent, the next, alone with Jesus!

Mankind is so ready and willing to condemn us for our sin, especially those steeped in religion. There is no feeling so painful as being guilty and surrounded by those intent on reminding us of our guilt. Human forgiveness is often dependent on our ability to prove ourselves worthy; or proof of a change in our lives; or our asking forgiveness.

The adulterous woman had no opportunity to prove herself worthy of forgiveness. The law was clear. There were no second chances. There would be no waiting period on Jesus part to see if life-change occurred. His forgiveness came without a single word from the woman. No record of her remorse. No record of a single word spoken by her until Jesus asked “Who condemns you?”

I’ve heard a million sermons on what Jesus wrote in the sand that day. The words written in the sand weren’t nearly as important as what was written on the heart of the woman. Not condemned. Forgiven. Free of accusation. Clean. Valued. Loved. Those are just some of the words that come to mind.

Whatever Jesus wrote in the sand that day isn’t as important is what he writes on our hearts everyday of our lives. He didn’t come to condemn you. He didn’t come to point out your faults or remind you of your failures. He didn’t come to punish you. He came to forgive you and grant you mercy and grace.

Your past isn’t important. Your current situation has no bearing on his love and willingness to come to you to heal you. The most important words Jesus has for us are written on our hearts, and they are written in his blood. It’s time to let go. It’s time to move on. He’s engraved your freedom on your heart with his hand.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I fail so miserably and so often. I’m still haunted by the scars of my past, still reminded by the enemy and other people that I’ve failed. Thank you for the words of forgiveness engraved on my heart. Empower me to live in the freedom you have given me. Amen.

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