Tuesday, October 7, 2014

John 8:10-11 -- On Sinning no more

"When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."
John 8:10-11

This is the end of an exchange that Christ had with the scribes.  They brought him a woman who had committed adultery, and there was no question as to her guilt.  They knew that he preached compassion, repentance, and forgiveness, and they wanted to see if they could catch him in a betrayal of the law, because by the law of Moses she was condemned to die (Leviticus 20:10).  This end of the story strikes me, because we know that "the Lord cannot look upon sin with the least degree of allowance" (Alma 45:16, D&C 1:31).  That statement always sounds very harsh, and we sometimes wonder where the room for our mistakes is, and how we can possibly become perfect.  But here, God shows us quite clearly the space between allowance and mercy.  He doesn't let her go to condone the sin, but to allow her space in which to change: to repent and become clean.  He tells her to sin no more, and that is the same message that he extends to us, today.  Even if, like this woman, we are obviously and recently guilty of serious sin, God loves us and often protects us from the harshest consequences--not because he embraces or even accepts our sin, but because he knows that we need space to repent before the consequences catch up with us.  Today, let's acknowledge his mercy and grace, and not sneer at his gift and continue in our evil ways.  No matter our level of sin or guilt, let's take the immense gift of his love and protection and use the precious time he has given us to change, and to become clean before him.  Let's work at being worthy of his repeated rescues, and truly sin no more.

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