Loved

When Your Struggling to Forgive

We think we have forgiven someone, we’ve moved past it, we’ve moved on.  Then we we wake one morning and all of those feelings are sitting on our chest and stirring in our mind.

The story of the Adulteress Woman is such a beautiful picture of forgiveness.  We find her caught in the very act of adultery, scripture says.  The religious men of the day had her drug out to the town square to be stoned.

This poses a few questions for me –

  • How did they catch her in the ‘very act’?
  • Where was the other party, the man, wasn’t he just as guilty?

This sounds like a set up to me and the set up really wasn’t about the woman, but more of a test for Jesus.  Let’s be honest they could have cared less about the woman, she was just collateral damage.

The Law of Moses said and adulteress should be stoned, they wanted to know what Jesus would say, would he go against the Law?

They say this – “Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?”

Jesus stoops low and begins to write in the sand with his finger, then he rises and says this, “He who is without sin among you, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” He bends down and again, begins to write in the sand.

Again, I have questions  –

  • Why was Jesus writing in the sand?
  • What was He writing?

Was He stalling?  Giving her accusers time to think about what they were doing, to reconsider their motives?  Whatever His purpose it worked beautifully.

When Jesus stood to His feet, her accusers where gone.  One by one, convicted by their own conscience, from the oldest to the youngest, they dropped their stones and slunk away.

Can you imagine the sound of those stones falling?  

This woman is left alone with her Savior.  These verses melt my heart.

When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

There they stand and Jesus saw no one but her.  I want to say that again, He saw no one but her.  His full attention was on her.  His forgiveness was on her.

Yes she had sinned, she had been caught.  She had not been condemned, but forgiven.

Jesus has one instruction, “Go and sin no more.”

This same gracious forgiveness is offered to you and I.

Yes, the person who has hurt you has sinned and they were caught.

The choice is yours-  to condemn or forgive.

These words are yours to say – “Don’t do it again.’ 

When we allow Jesus to participate in our struggle to forgive those who have hurt or betrayed us, we choose to let the stones fall rather than picking them up and throwing them.

As the stones fall, a weight is lifted.  With forgiveness, comes freedom.

 

 

Her Song

Miriam’s Mistake

If we take a look long and hard at ourselves, we will see that this is a very easy mistake to make.  We live in a world were we think all things should be equal.  That we should receive the same attention, praise or accolades as everyone else.  That our voice should be heard.

The truth is – our voice should be heard, but it is not always at the same decibel as others and that really is okay.

Our dear friend Miriam had to learn this lesson in a painful and humiliating way.  Let’s dig in to The Message version of this encounter.

 Numbers 12: 1-14 Msg

Miriam and Aaron talked against Moses behind his back because of his Cushite wife (he had married a Cushite woman). They said, “Is it only through Moses that God speaks? Doesn’t he also speak through us?”

God overheard their talk

What?  God overheard their talk?

He sure did and He overhears ours.

Think back on every conversation you have had and then remind yourself that God overheard your talk.  As I think about it, all I can say is, ouch. Every mean-spirited word, judgement or sarcasm that has come from my mouth in just the past week.  All I can say is – convicted.

Miriam and Aaron grabbed onto an issue to hold over their brother, his choice in a wife.  The underlying motive – God speaks through us too, why is Moses so special?  Can you hear the whining tone.

This tactic has been around for centuries, we have an issue with someone and instead of being direct we bring up a side issue or even a non-related issue.  Why not get right to the point?

God was not about to let these words over his faithful and humble servant Moses gain any ground.  As we would say at our house, He is nipping it in the bud.

Now the man Moses was a quietly humble man, more so than anyone living on Earth. God broke in suddenly on Moses and Aaron and Miriam saying, “Come out, you three, to the Tent of Meeting.” The three went out. God descended in a Pillar of Cloud and stood at the entrance to the Tent. He called Aaron and Miriam to him. When they stepped out, he said,

Listen carefully to what I’m telling you.
    If there is a prophet of God among you,
I make myself known to him in visions,
    I speak to him in dreams.
But I don’t do it that way with my servant Moses;
    he has the run of my entire house;
I speak to him intimately, in person,
    in plain talk without riddles:
    He ponders the very form of God.
So why did you show no reverence or respect
    in speaking against my servant, against Moses?

The anger of God blazed out against them. And then he left.

All I can say here is – oh my goodness.

 Can you  imagine?

Being called to the Tent of Meeting?

Seeing God in a Pillar of Cloud, while standing in His Holy presence?

Hearing His Voice and you are the one that has aroused his His blazing anger ?

Miriam and Aaron must have been shaking in their boots.

God reaffirms to them that He does have a relationship with them as prophets,  but His relationship with Moses is different.   He spoke with Moses in a unique way.  Moses was more than a prophet, he was God’s friend and God spoke to him in an intimate way.

When the Cloud moved off from the Tent, oh! Miriam had turned leprous, her skin like snow. Aaron took one look at Miriam—a leper!

My first question here is, Why Miriam?   My guess – she was the initiator and somehow this was more her issue, than Aaron’s.

Even so Aaron has a heart for his sister and says to Moses, “Please, my master, please don’t come down so hard on us for this foolish and thoughtless sin. Please don’t make her like a stillborn baby coming out of its mother’s womb with half its body decomposed.”

Leprosy one of the most feared diseases.  Not only was it painful as your flesh rotted, it was disfiguring and you became an outcast, never to be touched again.  A terrible consequence for her sin.

As always, Moses was one to intercede for God’s people, cried out to God on behalf of his, not so loyal, sister.

And Moses prayed to God:

Please, God, heal her,

 please heal her.

This teaches us something valuable.  We will have people in life who come up against us.  Who do not have our best interest in mind.  They will hurt us, disappoint us and even betray us.

Our freedom comes when we can have the humble heart of Moses and say…

Please, God, heal them,

 please heal them.

God answered Moses, “If her father had spat in her face, wouldn’t she be ostracized for seven days? Quarantine her outside the camp for seven days. Then she can be readmitted to the camp.” So Miriam was in quarantine outside the camp for seven days. The people didn’t march on until she was readmitted.  

God listened to Moses, has mercy on Miriam and heals her.   She still receives a time out, seven days until she can be re-admitted to the camp. Seven days to think about what she had done, seven days to change her attitude.

Let’s be honest sometimes we need God’s correction, a time when He places us in time out, where we can think, really think about our attitude and motives.

Just as we love our children enough to correct them, so does God love us.

I am burdened by this one question I have.

Why did Moses have a deeper relationship with the Lord than Aaron and Miriam? 

I feel it is answered when the Lord says this about Moses:  He ponders the very form of God.

Moses simply made it a point to be in the presence of God, to think about Him,look at Him and wonder.

 The More We Seek Him – The More We Will Find Him 

Let’s make that our passion 

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The Realitiy of Living Water

Jesus offers our Woman a drink, of not just any water, but Living Water.  She of course, associates it with the ‘natural’ and is thrilled to not have to make the lonely, daily journey to the well.

I have been thinking about Living Water for days now.  What is it really?   What does it feel like?  How do we know we have it? Continue reading “The Realitiy of Living Water”