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I Will Forgive

"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultery. Moses' law says to kill her. What about it?"d he sat down and talked with them. As he was speaking, the Jewish leaders and Pharisees brought a woman caught in adultery and placed her out in front of the staring crowd.

"Teacher," they said to Jesus, "this woman was caught in the very act of adultry. Moses' law says to kill her. What about it?"

They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, "All right, hurl the stones at her until she dies. But only he who never sinned may throw the first!"

Then he stooped down again and wrote some more in the dust. And the Jewish leaders slipped away one by one, beginning with the eldest, until Jesus was left in front of the crowd with the woman.

Then Jesus stood up again and said to her, "Where are your accusers? Didn't even one of them condemn you?"

"No, sir," she said.

And Jesus said, "Neither do I. Go and sin no more." John 8: 1-11 (TLB)

Matthew Holden lives in Indiana. He recently found his university residence hall completely trashed. Chairs were strewn all over; broken eggs were splattered on everything; toilet paper coated most surfaces. Matthew was livid.

He told anyone who would listen how mad he was, and he wanted to get back at the people who had done this. Thankfully, the time it took to clean up cleared his head, and he was reminded of the story from John 8.

Though the woman had sinned, Jesus implicated the Pharisees saying that "any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone" (John 8:7). Jesus called attention to the fact that we are all sinners and chose to forgive the woman instead of shaming or punishing her. That is love, that is forgiveness, and that is the God we follow.

The pranksters did something wrong, but it is not Matthew's place to condemn them. If Matthew wants to become like Christ, then he needs to forgive people, even when they have wronged him. He must forgive because Jesus first forgave him. This is true for each of us that desire to become more like Christ. We need to forgive each other just as Christ has forgiven us. No throwing stones!

Prayer: Dear God, help us be faithful to you in our forgiveness. Help us find it in our hearts to forgive those who have wronged us, in Jesus' name. Amen.

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