Learn From the Past but Don’t Live in It!

Some people live with terrible regret over the past. Everyone makes mistakes. Some of those mistakes may be the result of disobedience to the known will of God. But most are a result of a lack of prayer, a lack of wisdom, immaturity, impatience, or misunderstanding of the facts. If we could have known in the past what we know today, most of us would have made different decisions in some area of our lives. As the saying goes, “Hindsight is always 20/20.” The reality is that we cannot go back in time and undo things that have been done. But what we can do, and must do, is stop moving in the wrong direction, acknowledge our mistakes, repent, and then move on.

When the Jewish authorities brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery, she was clearly guilty of the sin she was being accused of. Under the law adultery demanded death. Justice required that this woman pay the price for her sin. But Jesus had compassion on her. And after her accusers left, Jesus said, “‘Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?’ She said, ‘No one, Lord.’ And Jesus said,

‘I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more'” (John 8:10-11, nas).

Although we are emotionally moved by this story, let me ask you a practical question. What gave Jesus the right to contradict the demands of the Law of Moses? Justice must be served and lawbreakers must be punished. But you see, Jesus did not simply dismiss this woman’s adultery as though it were unimportant. When He said these words, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more,” He was already on His way to the cross where He would pay for that woman’s adultery with His own sinless blood. Justice would be served, and every debt would be paid.

This is my Word of Hope for you, my friend.

Reflect on this message:

1. As you read or hear this message, what does it mean to you?

2. What part of it do you have questions about? Ask God to explain it to you.

3. What should you do now to apply this message to your life?

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