I am blessed and honored to be one of the contributing writers for an incredible ministry called She BelievesThis post was originally published on February 24, 2017 for a series called When Women Encounter God. I encourage you to check out the entire series!

READ: John 8:1-11, ESV

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” {John 8:10-11, ESV}

I’m going to tell you something I have only told about five people in my life. I’ve never shared this in anything I’ve written before or anytime I have spoken. Why? Because I’m ashamed, and because I’m terrified that once people know my past sin that is all that they will be able to see. I’ve shared my heartaches, but sharing my sin, who could possibly benefit from that, right?

Many years ago, I had an affair with a married man.

I was 17, did not know the Lord, and, somehow, justified my foolish behavior. I wasn’t even a super rebellious teenager; everyone knew me as “sweet, innocent Cari.” But even the “sweetest” and most “innocent” of people are capable of doing things they never thought they would do.

After all, sin is our master when Christ isn’t

I’ve just unveiled one of the ugliest parts of my life, and doing so makes me feel exposed, vulnerable, and, in a sense, naked. It makes me think of another adulterous woman. She was caught in the act of adultery by the Pharisees and dragged out to Jesus in a vain attempt to trap him. They thought they had him for sure, but instead of trapping him, they gave him the opportunity to display his abounding grace and wisdom!

There this woman was, literally dragged out from her sin which was now known by everyone around, and she knew the punishment that likely awaited her (see Leviticus 20:10Deuteronomy 22:22, 24Ezekiel 16:38, 40). I would imagine she was filled with shame and fear (for that is how I felt). But. Jesus. He could have been the nail in her coffin, but instead, he took the nail(s). He did not abolish the law, rather he perfectly fulfilled it! He didn’t throw the stone, how much less should we!

I wasn’t looking for God, or even forgiveness, when he graciously revealed himself to me. I imagine that she wasn’t either. Jesus knew he was about to die for her sin, and he paid the price for my yet uncommitted sin at the same time.

When I remember my sin, and how the Lord has forgiven me and lavished his amazing grace on me, a few very specific things take place:

  1. It causes me to literally fall on my face in worship ~ He who is forgiven much, loves much (Luke 7:47). May our recollection of past sin remind us of his great grace and therefore be a catalyst for worship, rather than a rod to beat ourselves with.
  2. It reminds me to extend that same grace to others ~ How can we withhold grace and forgiveness when Jesus himself forgives us (believers in Christ) of our most egregious sins?
  3. It challenges me to share my story ~ A life changed by the grace of God is a bright light in this dark world. Share what God has done in your life! Don’t just share the pretty. Don’t just paint the picture of yourself as the victim, for we are all also often times the offender. Paul the apostle didn’t keep silent about his past sin, he used it as an example of God’s tremendous patience and grace (1 Timothy 1:15-16)!

Beloved, whether your sin has been exposed or it is lurking in the secret places of your heart, whether your greatest sin is lying or murder, know that Jesus offers you the same amazing gift of grace, as well as the same admonition, as he did to the adulterous woman, “neither do I condemn you, go now and leave your life of sin.” And once you have left, remember whose you are, so that everything in your life – past, present, and future – will ultimately bring Him glory!


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