The Power to Forgive

Here is the Gospel in its simplest form: God says to you by declaration of His Word, by design of our world and by demonstration of His Life (He loved not his own life unto death) given up for you on the Cross, “I love you. I made you because I want you. Let me show you the full extent of my Love. Won’t you trust Me enough to turn from your own strivings and fears and deny yourself and come to Me? Turn and come.”

These words came to me and what follows in a flash of revelation as I sat down to read my Bible this morning and saw the title “The Woman Taken in Adultery” John 8:1-11. I have been asking God to show me the power to forgive those who hate me and spitefully use me. He showed me Himself in Christ in this passage.

Here is a woman caught in the very act of adultery, a sin clearly condemned by the Law. She is brought out immediately in broad daylight before God for judgement. How is it then that she can be forgiven and set free from the Law? In a word, redemption. But didn’t she sin? Without a doubt, in living color and real-time. So how do you forgive that?

Please indulge me some license here. I want you to see what God showed me in that flash so I will try to put it into words.

Ma    n looks on the outside but God looks on the heart. 1 Sam. 16:7. We see sin as acts, behavior, what we do. God looks at the heart, the intentions, the very motives. I saw what He saw, I saw her heart by way of revelation. I saw the scared child, living in fear, desperately seeking that which only her heavenly Father could give her.

She had felt needs. She needed food, shelter – in other words, provision and protection. She needed to know that somehow these would be secured, that what she needed would be there. She did not know that. As she looked around she found herself in a culture that devours its inhabitants, a sin sick world, a world that says, “Why should I provide for and protect you? What have you done for me?”

She found herself in Babylon, the originator and inventor of capitalism, the buy-sell economy. Everything is for sale in Babylon, EVERYTHING. “So my pretty, what do you bring to the market to buy with?” “I have nothing, nothing but my body”, she replies. The market sizes up her wares and decides, “Well, it will have to do, you have youth on your side today.” So she prostitutes herself to meet her felt needs. She uses her body and wiles to attract a customer, hopefully one with a lot of money.

She did not want adulterous sex, that was the symptom, the external, the visible sin. She wanted security (albeit a pseudo-security) the kind sought and found in money and things. She needed provision and protection. But didn’t she have a husband? Good point. I will also ask you a question. Doesn’t a billionaire have money? Then what drives him like a demon to want more, and more, and yet more? He thinks he needs money to fill his hole. She thinks she wants sex and things, to be desired, to fill her hole. They both want Love. They both need Love. They and we are designed that way.

Money cannot fill his hole. Sex, things and controlling power cannot fill hers. Right here is where compassion and mercy come running to her, heralding forgiveness.

This child is sinning externally, under the Law, this child is not sinning internally. She is lost, she has not found her Father, she has not found God’s Love yet and so she lives a pathetic, self-absorbed, self-destructive half-life, driven by fear. The world, the devil and the flesh have all hammered on her mind making fear her reality and driving motivation.

So here is this child of God (who does not know her heavenly Father) brought before Jesus by the religious leaders. They come seeking judgment for her sin and with the hidden motive of testing Him to find something against Him. They all come pointing fingers at her sin, her external act. Man looks at the outside but God looks on the heart.

“So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.  And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.  And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.” John 8:7-10.

There has always been a lot of conjecture and interest regarding what He wrote. What sin or sins could He have listed in the dirt that could have brought that kind of conviction? I have a thought. If He wrote in the sand, “Fear = Sin” I believe He could have silenced everyone there. Fear grips everyone, the fear that it will not be good for me. That I won’t measure up, that I won’t have enough, that I have failed in some way. The enemy is continually sending messages to you that you are guilty of something and must be condemned. He is accusing you that you haven’t done enough right things or you have done too many wrong things. Fear is believing these things. Fear is faith in the enemies lies.

Fear will drive you to desperation either by tying so hard to measure up you become exhausted or by giving up altogether and not wanting to please Him. It puts all the focus on you and what you have done, can do or will do. Both of these preoccupations are effective in keeping you from the heart of your Father. You are so distracted with Self and producing self-righteousness or Self pursuing unrighteousness that you will not come to Him.

Notice, they all left His presence. All but she. They were cockroaches, she was a moth. They fled from the Light, she was drawn to it. I believe she saw compassion, mercy and Love in His eyes. I believe she died to herself, her own righteousness. She had nothing else she could do but trust in His mercy. I believe all her fears were vanquished. Finally, someOne Who I can trust, someOne who Loves me, someOne. Self-destructive behaviors are often driven by fear.

God has told us 365 times in His Word in one way or another, “Fear not”, “Be not afraid”, “Trust in Me” and so may other ways.

I believe we need to realize that people are driven by fear more than any other reason, if not exclusively, until they have an encounter with God. I believe this woman met God that day and He removed the fear that kept her from Him and replaced it with Love. I believe He looked on her heart and saw a scared child who needed her Daddy desperately. I believe she found Him.

The power to forgive is found in the ability to see what God sees, through His eyes.

“So then, from now on we do not think of anyone from a human point of view.” 2 Cor. 5:16.